How Can a Data Protection Consultant’s Services Reduce your Overhead?
Why would you use a data protection consultant? The simple answer is because you want to comply with the legislation but don’t know where to start. Let’s explore this a bit further.
You probably know that recent changes to data protection law have massively increased potential financial penalties for compliance breaches and that public awareness has also increased, resulting in more complaints to the ICO (the regulator in the UK). So you will be more comfortable if you have made an informed attempt at compliance, balancing cost/effort against risk.
The problem for most SMBs is that they don’t have the expertise in-house. In order to build this expertise someone needs to have time available to either attend courses or read about it (or both). Most people tell me that they end up more confused because different courses say different things and material on the Internet is extremely variable and frequently misleading or categorically incorrect. Unfortunately, data protection compliance can’t be implemented just by following a set of rules, the law is essentially a framework and needs to be interpreted in the context of your organisation. Even if you have the expertise it isn’t always easy to step back and have an objective view of what is happening in your organisation.
So what will a consultant do for you? They will bring knowledge and experience – knowledge of the law and how to go about achieving compliance. Also a sense of proportion: how far do you have to go? Without experience it is extremely difficult to judge what is actually needed. If you have a specific problem with data protection a consultant will probably have seen it before or, at least, will be able to apply the principles to solve it.
A good data protection consultant will start by assessing your needs and your current state of compliance – a data protection audit and gap analysis. This will allow them to propose an action plan. The first part of this will almost certainly involve a personal data audit (aka data map, personal data asset register). Unless you want to spend a lot money this step is hard work as you will need to carry it out with guidance from a consultant, but it is necessary as it forms the basis for everything else. You need to know what personal data you have and what you do with it. Other things a consultant will advise on include legal basis for processing, transparency, data security, breach handling, processor contracts, data subject rights and accountability.
Using a consultant for all of this is much more cost-effective than using a member of staff who would reluctantly get to grips with the requirements rather than doing their ‘day job’, and, of course, if your consultant has a wider understanding the issues you will have peace of mind. There are now many organisations offering data protection consultancy, so choosing a consultant can be a challenge. We often see people jumping on the bandwagon and offering services with very little background or experience. Make sure your chosen consultant has been working in this area for several years and is suitably qualified. Why not contact us to see if we meet your requirements?