Column: Data Inventory & Personnel Changes

March 28, 2024 | 0 Comments

[Written by the TLC group]

Organizations collect a vast amount of information. From customer details to employee records, managing this data effectively is crucial. But what happens when your understanding of this data becomes outdated? This is where the importance of a data inventory review comes in.

A data inventory is a comprehensive record of all the data your organization collects, stores, and utilizes. It’s like a detailed map of your data landscape. However, a one-time inventory creation isn’t enough. Regular reviews are essential to maintain compliance with privacy regulations and ensure data security.

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Why Regularly Review Your Data Inventory?

  • Demonstrates your commitment to data transparency and helps you respond to subject access requests efficiently.
  • Helps identify potential vulnerabilities and allows you to implement appropriate safeguards for sensitive information.
  • Enables you to streamline data management processes, eliminate redundant data and allocate resources effectively.
  • Ensures your inventory reflects changes in the way the organization uses personal data and that your data handling procedures remain compliant.

Fortunately, conducting data inventory reviews doesn’t have to be a complex process. Here are some key steps to get you started:

1. Schedule regular reviews: Establish a timeframe for reviewing your data inventory. Ideally, reviews should be conducted periodically – quarterly or bi-annually – and whenever there are significant changes to your data collection or usage practices.

2. Assign ownership: Designate a team or individual responsible for coordinating the data inventory review process.

3. Utilize data inventory tools: Several software solutions can automate data discovery and inventory management, making the review process more efficient.

4. Focus on key elements: During your review, ensure your data inventory captures the following information:

a. Type of data: Customer data, employee information, financial records, etc.
b. Source of data: How and from where the data is collected.
c. Data location: Where the data is stored [physical servers, cloud platforms].
d. Data purpose: Why you collect and use the data.
e. Retention timeframe: How long you plan to retain the data.

One step that is often overlooked, particularly in large organizations or those with a global workforce, is keeping on top of data ownership.

Not to worry, check out our cheat sheet for updating data inventory records with personnel changes.

The full Data Inventory Review – Personnel Change Guide follows below [PDF here]:

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