How Enterprise Content Management Can Protect Your Legal Compliance with GDPR

October 27, 2022

Enterprises are in a bind. They need to comply with the GDPR, but the actual processes involved are rather complex. Today's organizations produce, use, and manage huge amounts of content. The proper management of business information includes clear regulation of access authorizations, as well as orderly retention and complete traceability--from creation to deletion.

In these processes, document lifecycle management can no longer be a manual process. Complex legal requirements and growing numbers of documents make this simply impossible. By automating and streamlining document management processes with enterprise content management (ECM) software, companies will be able to better manage their data and adhere to legal compliance requirements such as the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)--which entered into force on May 25, 2018. Even with the GDPR in effect for several years now, many organizations are still scrambling to get compliant. However, enterprise content management systems can help companies mitigate risk by simplifying the process of managing documents and data and ensuring compliance.

Enterprise Content Management is vital when it comes to fulfilling GDPR requirements. With ECM, companies can maintain records of all the personal data that an organization holds and also ensure that this data can be deleted from the company's systems at any time. While this is not a new concept, it has been further reinforced by GDPR regulations. So how does an ECM system help businesses achieve compliance with GDPR? Let's examine some of how ECM solutions support GDPR compliance.

1.) Personal data

Organizations can secure customer data by enforcing security and governance policies using enterprise content management systems. All ECM can categorise and manage Personally Identifiable Information (PII) according to GDPR requirements. Businesses can ensure that PII content remains separately identifiable from other content at all times to prevent accidental loss and data leaks. Organizations can identify documents based on both document attributes or with metadata attached to those documents such as social security numbers, birthdates, and other personal identifiers.

2.) The movement and sharing of data

It is critical to control and understand the movement of data and implement prevention protocols where necessary. This is a core part of the GDPR. ECM solutions can implement controls to ensure compliance with the GDPR's Chapter 5 regulations regarding transfers of personal information.

ECM systems can automatically label files or objects containing PII, and initiate other actions to ensure proper treatment and handling of information according to GDPR. Similarly, the system can monitor what employees are doing with the data and keep track of their movements across departments or locations so that data breaches can be dealt with promptly and appropriately when it occurs. This way, an ECM makes it easier to identify unauthorized data access or data transfer of customer data that violates data protection rules and therefore avoids the possibility of incurring fines or other penalties under the new regulations. How your organization handles the personal data of your customers is as important as how you collect it in the first place.

3.) Assigning processing conditions and consent

When changes are made to PII files and objects, EM systems can track those changes and provide an audit trail to show what changed what, and when. This can help organizations monitor whether their employees are following the correct procedures for handling customer data under the new regulations. An ECM system helps with this by providing a single repository for all documents and records related to PII, making it easier for the business to identify and manage its customer data while also ensuring compliance with new data privacy laws.

4.) Applying sophisticated security and protection

ECM will provide security to prevent unauthorized users from sharing or printing files containing sensitive PII information. Enterprise content management systems come with security features to prevent unauthorized users from sharing files and data objects containing sensitive PII. Such breaches may result in penalties under the new laws which range from €10 million to €20 million for enterprises that fail to protect customers' PII from loss or misuse.

Redaction feature can also be used where PII information is required to be anonymized or pseudonymized. This allows sensitive information to be hidden from view while retaining the readability of the document contents as a whole. These capabilities make it easier for companies to comply with new data privacy regulations and avoid the heavy fines associated with them.

5.) Applying retention policies and disposal processes

The ECM systems enable you to enforce retention policies using custom rules and schedules so PII data are not kept longer than necessary. Under the current GDPR laws, for example, personal data must be kept no longer than necessary for the processing activity concerned, including any applicable storage period required by law.

6.) Handling subject access requests

You can make sure that only authorized users have access to your PII by implementing access control and permission management in the ECM. All requests to access files or data objects containing PII need to be logged and recorded within the system and can be tracked to ensure compliance.

7.) Responding to requests to have inaccuracies corrected or to have the information erased

Should it be necessary to amend or dispose of PII information upon request, modern ECM systems have powerful search capabilities that assist with document retrieval and disposal. In addition, the system provides an automated workflow for responding to subject access requests and dealing with any inaccuracies contained in personal data. All these capabilities make complying with new data privacy regulations simpler and easier to manage for organizations of all sizes.

Achieving Excellent GDPR Compliance With Helix International

Helix International has proprietary software purpose-built for enterprise content management to help you avoid the expensive fine and embarrassment of GDPR non-compliance. As the market leader in our field, we have the modern tools to make your business adhere to this strict regulation more straightforwardly.

Our Massive Archival Retrieval System (MARS) links structured and unstructured data and creates a reliable federated search. With MARS, your company or customer can find the information they are looking for and decide what to do with it.

We create a perfect means for data owners to view, move, print, email, save, store and delete their information. GDPR Compliance is synonymous with Helix International's MARS Platform for managing and viewing data.

Choose Helix International, the IBM company of choice, and save yourself the troubles with non-compliance. We bring your business the peace of mind you deserve.

Managing both your archive and active content in one ECM efficiently

Massive savings in storage and compute costs. Our 500+ enterprise customers often cut their cloud bill in half or shut down entire data centers after implementing our solutions