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In 2022, set against a wave of evolving privacy laws and requirements confronting companies, a new report from Transcend reveals that two-thirds of technical leaders believe their organization still doesn’t have an accurate picture of the personal data they hold — a result of system sprawl, reliance on manual processes and insufficient resources. 

For those companies that are building a data inventory, over 50% will need more than a year, multiple internal teams and an external team to help to discover all data systems and create a unified data map. 

As privacy regulation evolves worldwide — such as increased enforcement of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), significant amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Apple’s new in-app deletion requirement — understanding precisely what personal data a company controls and how it’s being used is critical to effective compliance and avoiding penalties. 

Does your company have a unified inventory of all user data collected?What is stopping you from achieving this? Results of this bar graph are shown in the full copy of the VB Report.

Compounding the visibility challenge, 57% of respondents said new systems containing user data are added weekly, in some cases daily, within their companies, but only 22% had implemented automated data discovery and inventory approaches.

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But few are finding support from above in solving their data headaches. Transcend’s research also found that when asked what was blocking progress on making improvements to their organization’s data map with targeted projects, 62% cited lack of support from their leadership, while 31% said insufficient budget was blocking their efforts.

And what should leaders make of these findings? Having an accurate (and up-to-date) data map is crucial to staying in compliance with today’s privacy laws, and new laws and requirements coming online in the coming months. For example, fulfilling consumer data subject requests (DSRs) in a complete manner requires first knowing where that data subject’s data is stored. In a nod to the manual reality many companies still rely on, Transcend’s research found that 68% of companies still rely on manual lists or ad hoc cross-functional communication to identify which systems should be included in their data subject request (DSR) workflows.

Read the full report by Transcend.

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