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Improving data privacy processes should remove, not add, complexity

Editorial team

26 January 2024

Data Privacy Day is a good reminder for IT and security teams to take a step back and consider whether their data security processes are still fit for purpose.

Today, more enterprises than ever recognise the value of applying the data they hold to get better at analytics, customer service, product development and more. However, it’s crucial that adding more applications of data doesn’t compromise data privacy in any way.

But with security and IT teams today being asked to do more with less, in line with management pushes for efficiency gains, it can feel like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Maintaining security and compliance with an ever-growing tech stack, while conserving resource, is incredibly difficult to do. That is, unless teams start to automate some of their workload.

This isn’t simply a case of passing off responsibilities. Intelligent automations can improve the effectiveness and consistency of critical security processes – let’s look at some specific use cases:

Making password audits run like clockwork

Best practice data governance entails minimising the threat of a data breach – for security teams, password audits are a critical element of this. But manual password audits are time-consuming.

Instead, security teams can not only automate the process but improve it. An automated workflow plugged into an AWS API, for example, can be used to pen-test user passwords with wordlists used by hackers in a secure environment. Analysis of compromised passwords can be automated to be uploaded to a dashboard for a real-time overview of the state of an organisation’s Active Directory.

In short, automated workflows can be set up to handle passwords audits for security teams, while also better connecting the process to associated applications and services for follow-up action.

Seamless data quality checks

Upholding data quality is key to the effectiveness of data-led business decision-making. But it’s difficult to scale data quality checks with data operations where these checks are carried out manually.

Using automated workflows to carry out data quality checks gets around this issue and removes the risk of human error which naturally comes with any manual data entry task.

Put a stop to Data Subject Access Request fire alarms

It’s 2024. Receiving a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) shouldn’t be a surprise or result in hurried emails between teams trying to pull together what’s been requested. But that’s unfortunately the reality for too many companies.

IT teams can make a real impact for their organisation by totally automating the process with required data extraction from user databases executed and communicated to relevant stakeholders in a quicker time than any manual process could manage.

 Making compliance easier

Staying on the right side of data privacy regulation is a top priority for sensible company boards. The right platform to build and run automated workflows doesn’t just improve data governance processes – it also adds transparency to them.

In SecureAck’s A-Ops platform, for example, automations are built with drag-and-drop logical flowcharts that simply link a trigger item to desired actions across IT environments. This UI means automations have very clear audit trails for compliance purposes. A-Ops workflows also make clear the software dependencies of any third-party app or service that a workflow plugs into. This gives teams the option to opt-out of an integration or add user controls if they identify a large enough risk to data privacy.

This Data Privacy Day, IT and security teams have everything to gain by automating repeatable processes to focus on high value work and meet the demand to do more with less resources. It isn’t downplaying the importance of data governance to say that activity to uphold it can be automated. On the contrary, automated workflows eliminate human error, reduce the mean time to remediate, and prevent breaches. This is what’s needed to prevent data security catastrophe.