Privacy Ref Blog

Top 6 Things For GDPR Procrastinators To Do

May has many holidays; Mothers Day, Memorial Day, Cinco de Mayo, Star Wars Day (May the fourth), and, of course, the new GDPR Day. Almost everyone is ready for the first four, but we continue to get calls from those GDPR procrastinators to help them prepare. With less than a month left to GDPR Day, what is a procrastinating business to do? Here are six ways to get started.

Take Stock

Start by determining what applications you have that process personal information, what personal information is being processing, and how the data flows your systems. I am not suggesting that you undertake a deep dive data inventory, but gather enough information to create an Article 30 Records of Processing report. Generally speaking, this level of detail will be enough for most private offices to fulfill their mission. In the future, you may want to take the time to go into more detail.

You should also determine if you are a data controller or a data processor. The simplified test for this is “do you make decisions about how personal information is processed or are you processing based on another organization’s instructions?” You may be both for different data sets you process.

Another dimension is to collect a list of with whom your organization shares personal information. If you are a data controller, this would include both data processors and other controllers with whom you work. If you are a processor, list the data controllers who you process for and any sub-processors you may engage.

Finally, if you have not already identified someone to be responsible for your data protection/privacy /GDPR program, name someone. My experience has been that you need one person accountable; committee ownership just does not work as everyone is depending on the remainder of the committee to get things done.

Determine Your Legal Basis For Processing

Under GDPR you need to identify the legal basis for processing personal information. Consent is one valid legal basis, but I would caution against relying on consent. The GDPR standard for obtaining consent is high plus consent may be withdrawn. There are five other legal basis’ that you should examine, including processing based on contract, or for the legitimate interests of the business (this one is somewhat complex as well).

If you do decide to use consent, remember to get data subjects to opt-in to your processing so those pre-checked boxes have got to go.

Update Your Agreements

GDPR has requirements for the contents of data processing agreements. You can create an addendum to your existing contracts to meet these items. Of course, your business partners may have objections to your changes, so be prepared to negotiate.

Take a risk-based approach when updating your agreements. Work with those partners who hold the most data for you or those partners who may lack complete policies and processes.

Get Ready For Data Subject Rights Requests

Providing mechanisms for access, rectification, portability, erasure, objection to and restriction of processing, and, of course, forgetting seems to introduce the most challenge for many organizations. The source of the complexity…there may not be a common identifier linking all information for an individual across an organization’s systems. Long term it may make sense to provide this link, but so close to enforcement of GDPR it may be too late to implement.

At a minimum, create and document a checklist for each of the data subjects rights requests. The checklist should include all the applications and manual processes that contain personal information and how to retrieve, update, or delete that data.

Update Your Privacy Policy and Notice

Complying with GDPR may require changes in your privacy policy and notice. For example, you may determine that you need a Data Protection Officer whose responsibilities may be identified in your internal policy and their contact information revealed in your privacy notice.

The transparency requirements identified in GDPR, in particular, are numerous. Be sure you understand what you need to share and then document it.

Raise Awareness

The basis of GDPR, the expectations of EU residents, and the new processes being introduced to your team will be foreign to them. Taking the time to create a GDPR awareness program will ensure the success of your efforts.

  • author's avatar

    By: Bob Siegel

    Bob Siegel, the founder and President of Privacy Ref, Inc., has extensive professional experience in the development and improvement of privacy policies and procedures, the definition of performance metrics to evaluate privacy maturity, and the evaluation of compliance. He utilizes a combination of alignment, adaptability, and accountability strategies to guide organizations in achieving their privacy goals.

    He is a Fellow of Information Privacy (FIP) and a Certified Information Privacy Professional, awarded from the International Association of Privacy Professionals, with concentrations in U.S. private-sector law (CIPP/US), US public sector law (CIPP/G), European law (CIPP/E), and Canadian law (CIPP/C). He is also a Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) and Privacy Technologist (CIPT).

    Siegel is a member of the IAPP faculty, has served on the Certification Advisory Board for the CIPM program the Publications Advisory Board.

    Siegel also writes the blog “Operational Privacy” on

  • author's avatar

  • author's avatar

    Preparing your customer-facing staff
    Automation for Privacy
    Don’t Forget Basic Communication
    Using GDPR as a framework for your privacy program (even if you are not in scope)
    Looking forward to the IAPP Global Privacy Summit

    See all this author’s posts

Privacy Ref provides consulting and assessment services to build and improve organizational privacy programs. For more information call Privacy Ref at (888) 470-1528 or email us at

Posted on April 30, 2018 by Bob Siegel

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