Legal Challenges of Data Management

Data-management

Organizations across industries are collecting, storing, and analyzing large amounts of data. The amount of data being collected and stored is increasing at rapid rates, and it is important to implement and maintain a robust data governance program. 

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that analytics and data governance are hot topics for organizations.  

As the amount of data that organizations manage grows, so does the risk of non-compliance with industry regulations. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to adequately plan for the management and retention of data, and this can lead to legal ramifications.

Let’s go over five legal challenges organizations face when it comes to data management.

Complying with GDPR

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in 2018. The GDPR applies to any organization that processes the personal data of an EU citizen. The GDPR introduces strict rules regarding data processing and security, and organizations must be able to demonstrate compliance with these rules.

The GDPR states that personal data can only be collected for specified and legitimate purposes (purpose limitation) and that data must be deleted when it is no longer required (data minimization). Data subjects also have the right to request access to their data, request rectification of errors, and request that their data be erased. 

If you’re an organization that processes the personal data of EU citizens, it is extremely important to implement and maintain a robust data governance program.

Managing eDiscovery requests 

Information that is stored electronically is subject to discovery requests in lawsuits. Indeed, eDiscovery requests are becoming more common as the amount of information organizations store electronically increases. 

Many organizations are not prepared to deal with eDiscovery requests, and this can lead to legal repercussions.

You can utilize eDiscovery software to manage these requests, but there are also other tools that can help. Namely, if you opt for an email archiving solution, you will not only be able to easily search through your email records for eDiscovery purposes, but it will also help you remain compliant and implement retention policies.

Implementing legal holds

Legal holds are legal actions that prohibit the destruction of data. The purpose of a legal hold is to ensure the preservation of data in case it is relevant to litigation, investigations, audits, or regulatory requests.

As organizations collect, store, and analyze more and more data, the risk of litigation increases, and it’s critical to implement and maintain legal holds.

Without legal holds, organizations risk spoliation, the destruction of evidence important to a legal case. Organizations may be held legally liable for the lost evidence, which can result in fines, lawsuits, or criminal charges.

Implementing data retention policies

The amount of data that organizations collect and store is increasing at rapid rates. Although data is useful in certain circumstances, it is not always necessary. Organizations must implement and enforce robust data archiving policies, and this is vital for effective data management. 

For example, depending on the industry, organizations might be required to keep emails for up to 7 years, but storing this data indefinitely is unnecessary. Organizations must implement and enforce email retention policies, and they must revisit these policies regularly. 

The main roadblock that stands in the way of implementing retention policies is human error, such as not updating a policy, accidentally deleting data, or storing data for too long. These human errors can have serious consequences on an organization’s operations.

This is where automation can help. By automating retention instead of relying on your employees to do it manually, you can significantly decrease the risk of mistakes.

Keeping up with changing regulations 

Data governance and data management are complex processes, and organizations must ensure compliance with all laws and regulations.

Organizations that fail to develop and maintain a robust data governance program may encounter legal ramifications.

The issue most organizations are struggling with is the fact that these regulations are constantly changing, making it almost impossible for organizations to keep up. 

A data governance program can help an organization develop a framework to ensure compliance while reducing the risks associated with noncompliance.

What are the consequences of noncompliance?

The consequences of noncompliance will depend on a variety of factors. 

In some cases, noncompliance is met with fines and penalties. In other cases, noncompliance may lead to litigation, and organizations may find themselves liable for damages. In all likelihood, noncompliance will impact an organization’s reputation, and this can have a long-term impact that is difficult to recover from.

Over to you

These five legal challenges that organizations face when it comes to data management are complex, and they require organizations to plan ahead.  

Organizations that implement a robust data governance program are more likely to remain compliant. By implementing a governance program, organizations can reduce legal risk, meet industry regulations, and effectively manage their data.

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