How To Conduct A Privacy Audit

How to Conduct a Privacy Audit – 7 Point Checklist

Owning and running a WordPress website seems all bed of roses until you realize the threats that come along with it. Considering that WordPress powers approximately 41.8% of all websites, it is one of the widely used Content Management Systems (CMS) worldwide. 

With that in mind, businesses have started depending upon WordPress sites for the qualitative display of products and services. Owing to this, the customers also experience exceptional interaction with such sites. 

However, regardless of the platform you have used to develop a site, the smart buyers don’t leave any stone unturned in evaluating the trust factor. One of the ways they use to evaluate the credibility of a site is by assessing its privacy policy

So, it’s time you ask yourself when the last privacy audit conducted on your site was? If it’s been long, now is the perfect time to ensure that your policies align with changing laws and the latest practices. 

Thus, to help you out, this post helps you comprehend how exactly you can conduct a privacy audit on your site. Let’s get started.

A Checklist for a Comprehensive Privacy Audit

Checklist for Privacy Audit

If you are a beginner or simply clueless regarding how to move ahead with a privacy audit, this checklist will help you carve a better and more efficient way out.

  1. Conduct a Review of the Collected Personal Data

Since the time you established your site and published policies on the platform, there are high chances that your business would have undergone tremendous changes. Regardless of the changes that have come into the limelight, it’s time that you begin the audit by monitoring every type of personal data that your brand is collecting.

While doing so, make sure that the data is categorized adequately as they may have to be worked upon differently. For instance, the way sensitive personal data is being treated is quite different from how regular data is treated. So, evaluate and categorize profoundly. 

  1. Check the Current Use of Data

Now that you have understood the type of data your website is collecting, the next step will be to review how that data is being used and its purpose. As per the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it is important to have a viable significant for processing the data, be it credit card information, location, phone numbers, or email addresses of visitors. 

This way, if you find out that you are processing any sensitive data, such as ethnic background, religious beliefs, health information, or anything else of your visitors, you must ensure that your site is complying with the internet laws and policies.

  1. Find Out the Collection Method

Moving forward, your next step should be to evaluate whether your methods to collect the data are lawful or not. Considering that privacy laws continue to change now and then, it is essential to make every move cautiously to avoid getting under the radar.

Let’s take the example of the GDPR policy here. Under this law, people get a right to object to their data being monitored. Thus, the obligation falls upon businesses to communicate if and how the data is being accumulated. And then, the choice will be left upon the users whether they wish to opt-in or opt-out.

Likewise, there are high chances of your site featuring cookies through which you gather the browsing sessions of a user. Based upon where your business is and where it is operating, you might require a cookie banner on the site to get visitors’ consent regarding tracking.

  1. Look Out for Third-Party Access

Since your visitors have trusted your site with their data, it becomes your responsibility to uphold their trust diligently. Thus, you will have to make sure that there are no third parties unnecessarily using, sharing, or processing the data of your customers without the latter’s acknowledgment.

To avoid the violation of any user agreements or privacy laws, you must maintain vigilant access permissions to the collected data. If you are allowing somebody else to use the data, ensure that you have communicated the same to your users and they have agreed to it.

Moreover, you must periodically review the agreements with every third party to check whether anything has changed from the perspective of privacy. If yes, you must also evaluate whether the changes affect the existing privacy agreements that you have with both the third party and the users.

  1. Ensuring the Safety of Data

Depending upon your businesses’ size, the data type you are collecting, and the laws that are applied to your business, there are specific security procedures and standards that you must comply with.

Whether it is about following correct password practices, integrating two-factor authentication, updating the cybersecurity software to safeguard your databases, or anything else, it is of utmost importance that you periodically test and review the data security measures. This way, you can easily ensure whether your data is protected 24/7 or requires more stringent methodologies for security. 

  1. The Adoption of Privacy by Design Methodology

When it comes to complying with laws and regulations, you would obviously want everything to be simpler. In such a scenario, conducting a privacy audit allows you to augment or implement the current business practices to consider privacy through a design methodology.

This may cover different measures, like data minimization and data anonymization, where you decrease the accumulation and use of personal data wherever possible. For instance, rather than asking for the customer’s full name, you can set up the online ordering system in a way that assigns random numbers to the orders so that your customers can be identified uniquely.

Taking out some time to curate and implement a privacy-by-design approach to the business will help you save time while navigating compliance. Along with that, it will also establish a trustworthy and smoother experience for your customers.

  1. Assess for the Longevity of Data

From GDPR, one of the good things is that you don’t get to face any pressure pertaining to how long you can keep the data of your customers. However, it states that you must have a lawful basis for retaining the data. Thus, you should not keep it for longer than the required time period.

Having said that, if you think you have data from such customers who have not interacted with your business in years, you can review its necessity and delete the data for good.

The Importance of Communication with Customers

Customer Communication

It is highly important that you notify your customers ahead of time regarding any possible change or situation that can affect their privacy. Additionally, you should also communicate their rights regarding the data available on your app or site.

Almost every data protection act, including California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the GDPR, has defined a specific set of data rights that your users will be entitled to, like the right to know if they are getting tracked on the internet or not, and more.

In case your business has to deal with a data breach, there are laws that have made it mandatory to notify the impact of the breach to customers within a specific time period. For instance, the GDPR asks you to notify the customers within 72 hours in case there is a breach.

So, if your policy doesn’t have a provision to notify the users yet, make sure you alter the policy as soon as possible. 

Get Started with WP LegalPages: Free Privacy Policy Generator

WP LegalPages- Privacy Policy generator for Privacy Audit
WP LegalPages

At last, once you have conducted a profound privacy audit on your website, it becomes necessary to adjust the existing user agreements, privacy policy, and others to ensure a fair collection, handling, and protection of users’ data.

Coming to that, you can simply rely upon WP LegalPages – a WordPress privacy policy generator plugin. This one is available in both free and premium versions; thus, you can choose one according to your preference.

With this WordPress tool by your side, you can generate more than 25 automated legal policy templates, regardless of the business type you are operating. Offering an easy and intuitive interface, this plugin only asks you to add the details of your business. And then, it does the job by generating policy pages within a few minutes.

Moreover, in case you are catering to a diverse range of audiences situated in varying parts of the globe, this plugin can help you perfectly well with its multi-language translation feature. You can now create policies in Portuguese, Italian, German, Spanish, French, and English.

Wrapping Up

To summarise all of these points, if your website already features privacy policies, know that now is the time to go through all of those lawful pages and find out the scope for edits and alterations. On the contrary, if you haven’t displayed policy pages on your site yet, it’s better to do so as soon as possible. Once you have completed the audit, make the most out of the WP LegalPages plugin and generate a variety of policies matching the standards of your business. This way, you can ensure staying away from all the legal hassles that may come your way without a correct policy. 

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