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Data Privacy Manager: A Roadmap to Compliance with Saudi Arabia’s Personal Data Protection Law

By Marijan Bračić

Global trends have been moving towards creating a worldwide web of data protection legislation, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no exception

In September 2023, the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority officially released the Personal Data Protection Law – PDPL. The law will become fully enforceable on September 14th, 2024, giving organizations a one-year window to ready themselves for compliance. PDPL marks a significant milestone as it represents the first privacy law in Saudi Arabia. While it aligns with international privacy standards, like the EU General Data Protection Regulation, it incorporates localized elements that cater to Middle Eastern cultural identity and adopts the latest guidelines and mechanisms to ensure the effective implementation of the law.

Start Your Data Privacy Compliance Journey

The global data privacy landscape is complex and continues to evolve, presenting various challenges for organizations by creating uncertainty on multiple levels. The introduction of the PDPL means that there will be a significant impact on organizations that operate in or do business with Saudi Arabia; they will need to develop data privacy programs and automate their processes to meet the strict requirements of the law.

Implication for Businesses

Data protection extends beyond safeguarding personal data and involves ensuring its lawful processing. Translated, this entails marketing that stays within its lines, implementing technical and organizational measures when sharing data with third parties, or ensuring transparent communication and data collection strictly focused on what is necessary. Companies that fail to comply risk financial penalties, operational inefficiencies, intervention by regulators, and loss of customer trust.

The best way to avoid these uncertainties is to understand compliance obligations and cooperate with experts who can help you navigate the complexities of the PDPL to ensure you can continue your business processes with confidence.

To assist organizations in their journey towards PDPL compliance, innovative services and solutions like State-of-Privacy-Assessment (SOPA) and Data Privacy Manager (DPM) have emerged as invaluable resources.

Assessing the State of Your Privacy Program

Most organizations feel overwhelmed when embarking on their compliance journey. The recommendation is to start with conducting privacy assessments. By evaluating your privacy program, you can gain a thorough understanding of data practices, pinpoint risks, and implement necessary adjustments. However, internal audits may be challenging due to limited knowledge, resources, tools, staff, or internal biases. This is where external audits can prove instrumental in building a robust privacy management program.

State-of-Privacy-Assessment Tailored to Your Needs

The State-of-Privacy-Assessment (SOPA) is an external independent assessment focused on providing an objective insight into your organization’s current state of privacy and data protection affairs.

SOPA assesses your privacy practices, compliance with regulations, and the effectiveness of your privacy program. Its goal is to offer an impartial evaluation of your organization’s privacy efforts, create a roadmap for your privacy program, and pinpoint areas for improvement.

SOPA is offered in two tiers: SOPA and SOPA Plus. The standard SOPA serves as an initial or regular assessment, ensuring ongoing compliance. It provides a Privacy Maturity Report with recommendations for improvement. On the other hand, SOPA Plus offers a more comprehensive audit, delivering an in-depth assessment to establish a strong foundation for privacy compliance.

More than a surface-level examination will be required to truly understand the current state of privacy affairs within your organization. SOPA offers a systematic and structured approach, incorporating workshops that provide value to your team grounded in the principles of the NIST Privacy Framework, emphasizing the application of organizational strategies and cutting-edge technical safeguards.

Use DPM AI Data Discovery to Map All Personal Data

As an organization, you are accountable not only for the data you know you have but also for data hidden across your systems; that is why creating a map of your personal data is crucial.

Effective management and protection become unattainable without a comprehensive understanding of your data, leaving your organization vulnerable to potential data breaches and steep compliance fines.

DPM Data Discovery solution offers automation through the entire process. It enables organizations to discover personal data from both structured and unstructured sources in any language and script, as well as uncover dark data and shadow processing.

As an AI-based solution, DPM Data Discovery can automatically classify all personal data across your systems, allowing you to build up-to-date records of processing activities, define different data categories, classify sensitive personal data, and enforce appropriate technical and organizational measures for each specific data set.

Although DPM Data Discovery is independent of privacy software in use, when combined with the information from the DPM platform, users can have informed insight into the actual data processing in the organization.

Continued Efforts and Streamlined Privacy with Data Privacy Manager

As a continuation of your privacy efforts, the Data Privacy Manager (DPM) will lean nicely on your SOPA findings and allow you to automate and streamline critical areas of improvement and close gaps in your privacy program.

DPM is an Enterprise-grade software made and hosted in the EU, automating all aspects of privacy governance and compliance, allowing you to centralize consents and preferences, automate compliance-related tasks, and minimize regulatory risks. When it comes to PDPL compliance, DPM covers all essential obligations.

How DPM Responds to PDPL Requirements

Data Privacy Manager (DPM) offers a comprehensive suite of modules and features designed to assist organizations in meeting the requirements of the Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL).

It serves as one central hub for managing different aspects of PDPL compliance allowing companies to effectively handle Data Subject Request, automate DPIA and LIA assessments, streamline consent management, keep compliant Records of Processing Activities (ROPA), and more.

Navigating Compliance in 2024

By recognizing the importance of compliance, organizations can confidently navigate the complexities of PDPL. With SOPA and DPM as trusted allies, the path to compliance becomes not just a necessity but also an opportunity to demonstrate commitment to privacy and data stewardship in the digital age.

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