Why risk assessments are essential for GDPR compliance

Any organisation that’s required to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) needs to conduct regular risk assessments. This isn’t just because the Regulation says so; it’s because risk assessments are an essential part of cyber security, helping organisations address an array of problems that, if left unchecked, could cause havoc.

Organisations might assume that the only risks they face are from cyber criminals trying to break into their systems. However, the GDPR is clear that data is also vulnerable to accidental or unlawful destruction, loss or disclosure. The ways in which these could happen need to be identified at every stage of the data handling process.

In most cases, organisations benefit from encrypting and/or pseudonymising data, but this isn’t a total fix. It prevents malicious actors from viewing breached data, but it doesn’t do anything to stop them breaching organisations’ systems, which is equally important for GPDR compliance.

As such, a risk assessment needs to evaluate whether an organisation’s technical and organisational measures are equipped to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of processing systems and services. They must also be capable of quickly restoring the availability of and access to personal data after a data breach.

Those who want help planning and conducting a GDPR-compliant risk assessment should take a look at the risk assessment software tool vsRisk™. It helps organisations conduct an information security risk assessment efficiently and easily, eliminating the need for spreadsheets, which are prone to user input errors and can be difficult to set up and maintain.

How vsRisk helps

vsRisk enables organisations to produce consistent, repeatable and reliable risk assessments. Its processes are fully aligned with ISO 27001, the international standard that describes best practice for an information security management system (ISMS). The Standard emphasises the importance of risk assessments, which is one of the reasons why it’s an excellent starting point for GDPR compliance.

The software tool is:

  • Easy to use. The process is as simple as selecting some options and clicking a few buttons.
  • Able to generate audit reports. Documents such as the Statement of Applicability and risk treatment plan can be exported, edited and shared across the business and with auditors.
  • Geared for repeatability. The assessment process is delivered consistently year after year (or whenever circumstances change).
  • Streamlined and accurate. Drastically reduces the chance of human error.