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Data subject access request

Understand why Data Subject Access Requests, or DSARs, are pivotal to complying with data privacy regulations
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7 min read
May 26, 2023
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Understanding Data Subject Access Requests, or DSARs, is pivotal to complying with data privacy regulations, such as GDPR. Businesses must understand what DSARs are and how to respond to them in order to maintain a modern privacy program.

What is a data subject access request? The purpose of DSARs is to protect the privacy rights of consumers in their relationships with business entities. A data subject access request is a formal request sent from an  individual person, to a business, requesting the business to disclose the specific personal data that they hold on the individual. 

For example, imagine you are a regular customer of an online clothing retailer. One day, you receive a personalized offer to your email with a discount coupon, offering you a discount with advertising that seems to be based on your age and gender. You might think to yourself: "how do they know how old I am?" At this point, you as a consumer have the right to submit a request to the retailer for "access" to your information. The retailer is required to provide you with a copy of all the personal data they have about you in their databases.

A DSAR application and communication can be facilitated through any channel. However received, the receiving business is required to view and fulfill this request.

The concept of a DSAR is not restricted to data access and disclosure. An access request is just one type of DSR: data subject request. Should individuals wish to rectify, erase, restrict, or object to processing their personal data, the DSR also facilitates this. A DSR essentially empowers individuals by providing complete control over their data, thereby fortifying their privacy rights. 

Interpreting the requirements of DSAR from an organizational standpoint can significantly influence the dynamics of a company's data management strategy. On the one hand, maintaining a visibile, transparent DSAR initiation process is helpful to gain customers' trust; on the other hand, conscientious handling of DSAR requires dedication and meticulousness. 

Ketch DSR automation can help business with the detailed, repetitive, and sometimes arduous task of receiving and fulfilling DSARs. Ketch enables end-to-end DSAR fulfillment via custom workflow design, flexible integrations to your business systems and databases, and customizable automation capabilities. emerges as a potent facilitator, enabling a comprehensive synchronization of applications, infrastructure, and APIs to simplify the intricacy of privacy operations. The cornerstone being a mobilization of responsibly gathered data, it paves the way for deeper customer engagement and augmentation of top-line growth. 

In the world of data privacy, DSARs are an important part of individual privacy rights. It is another driver of responsible data management: the DSAR encourages businesses to maintain datasets that respect customer preference, purpose, and permissioning choices. Ketch helps businesses make this a reality with a platform that enables custom workflow design and business system integration.

DSAR Process

Understanding the DSAR or data subject access request process is essential for businesses that handle customer or user data. This process allows individuals, known as the "data subjects," to request, receive, and review the personal data held by businesses.

 By taking the right steps, businesses can ensure that this process is handled correctly, enhancing consumer trust and leading to top-line growth.

Anyone can make a data subject access request, including employees, customers, or any individuals whose personal data a business may hold. Therefore, companies must understand how to handle a DSAR request promptly and effectively. Additionally, a company's ability to handle these requests contributes to its reputation, potentially affecting customer retention and growth. 

Transparency is key when dealing with a DSAR request. It's not just about handing over the data:

- Businesses should explain to requesters how their data is being used and why it is being kept.
- Businesses should use a data subject access request form to streamline the process and ensure all requested data is provided accurately and efficiently.
- Depending on the specific jurisdiction and regulation applicable, specific rules regarding the data subject access request time limit exist. For example, businesses may need to respond to these requests within one month of receiving them.

The employer's role regarding a subject access request is important. The subject access request employer must provide the data subject with access to their data and other supplementary information. This includes information about the data source if it was not obtained directly from the data subject, the purposes for processing their data, and who else their data may be shared with.

As data custodians, businesses must fulfill these requests per the given time frame. This demonstrates fairness and transparency in their data handling processes and builds consumers' trust, potentially leading to deeper customer engagement and growth. The DSAR process is not just about responding to legal obligations but also about listening to customers, respecting their data rights, and building a stronger, trust-based relationship with them.

GDPR data subject rights

GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation, plays an integral role in shaping the landscape of Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs). GDPR contains numerous provisions that amplify the data rights of European citizens, including issuing DSARs.

As such, DSARs under GDPR bear significant weight in ensuring that all European citizens have full control and unfettered access to their data. DSAR forms a major cornerstone of GDPR and delineates a series of rights made available to data subjects, forming a substantive component of GDPR data subject rights. These rights collectively aid individuals in maintaining control over their data, promoting privacy and encouraging transparency. 

One of the pivotal rights under GDPR, known as the right of access GDPR, lays the foundation for data subjects to demand and receive all personal data held by an organization at any given time. This fundamental right entitles individuals to confirm if an entity is processing their data. If such processing is underway, the entity must disclose what type of data they are processing and why. 

Similarly, another integral part of GDPR data subject rights is the data subject access request GDPR. This provision extends the right of access by allowing individuals to avail copies of their data held by an organization. The underlying objective of this GDPR provision is to equip individuals with a clear, comprehensive picture of what data is being processed and how. 

In tandem with the above, subject access request GDPR is another critical aspect under GDPR's umbrella. It empowers individuals to demand, free of charge, a copy of their data from the concerned organization. This right essentially puts the power back into the hands of the individuals, enabling them to know exactly what personal data is being held and used. All these provisions collectively fortify the GDPR data subject rights, allowing individuals to command and control their data in an increasingly digital world.

 From a business perspective, adhering to these rights is a legal obligation under GDPR compliance requirements and a means of establishing and preserving trust with customers while unlocking greater opportunities for customer engagement and business growth. Through its Trust by Design Platform, Ketch operationalizes these data subject rights and streamlines business compliance with GDPR. By collapsing the cost and complexity of privacy operations, Ketch provides a seamless way for businesses to honor data subject access requests under GDPR, ensuring customer trust and business growth.

DSAR challenges

While data Subject Access Requests (DSARs) are an integral part of GDPR data subject access request procedures, they present numerous business challenges. 

DSARs form part and parcel of the broader requirement for privacy laws enforcement, stipulating that individuals have the right to access the personal data that a company holds about them. It's a challenge that businesses must grapple with, navigating a complex realm of data privacy, accessibility, and security. 

The challenges that DSARs present are manifold. DSAR data subject access requests can be a complex process. Organizations are expected to identify, collect, process, and provide the data requested by individuals in a concise, transparent, and intelligible manner. Moreover, companies need to be prepared to thoroughly verify the identity of an individual requesting to safeguard data privacy. 

Time-bound deadlines for data subject access request responses can also be a steep hurdle. Once a request has been made, organizations have a legal obligation to respond promptly, typically within one month. Delays in response can lead to compliance penalties, reputational damage, and a loss of customer trust. 

Businesses sometimes have to deal with a large volume of data subject access requests, which can sometimes become overwhelming. Managing these requests can be a tedious and time-consuming task, especially if the business lacks an efficient workflow and task automation system to handle them. With the right tools and processes in place, businesses can streamline their data access processes and ensure that they are handling these requests efficiently and effectively. This not only helps to save time and resources but also ensures that the business is complying with the necessary regulations and guidelines.

It becomes critical for companies to manage the influx of DSARs effectively without disrupting their daily operations. With its Trust by Design Platform, Ketch addresses these DSAR challenges head-on. Ketch's platform aids in streamlining the process through the use of custom workflows, flexible system integrations, and AI-powered recommendations.

The Ketch suite of applications and infrastructure significantly simplifies compliance with DSAR. It collapses the cost and complexity of privacy operations, providing a seamless solution to addressing data subject access requests. Ketch's custom workflow design, paired with its task automation, allows businesses to process DSARs efficiently.

From identifying valid DSARs to collating and processing pertinent data, Ketch's platform is designed to expedite the process. Moreover, the AI-powered recommendation and workflow automation assist in optimizing the workflow, minimizing human error, and freeing up valuable time for organizations.

The ability to leverage these technology-led solutions is not just about overcoming DSAR challenges; it's about mobilizing responsibly gathered data for deeper customer engagement. Trust becomes a key driver for growth, and Ketch provides the platform to build that trust, thereby strengthening the relationship between businesses and their consumers.

Read time
7 min read
May 26, 2023
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