If I had one phrase to describe the current data privacy landscape for legal departments it would be “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy new decade.”  Because of Congress’s inability to pass a comprehensive privacy regulatory scheme, the states now taking it upon themselves to do so. As a result, we may be looking at a patchwork of laws that makes compliance all the more challenging.  The uncertainty adds an added layer of risk that law departments must add to their calculus.  Will other states follow California’s CCPA?  Or maybe New York’s NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation?   What type of penalties will there be for noncompliance?  Are you fully GDPR compliant?

The companies that develop and implement their own data governance and privacy programs will be well equipped to address the varying legal requirements.  But if companies want to really stay ahead of the compliance game, they are going to have to do much more than having a policy — which admittedly is table stakes.

Sometimes one of the best ways to prepare you for what is to come is to look back and assess what has already been achieved.   Your legal workflow automation (or lack thereof) is critical to assessing your privacy preparedness.  Why?  Because legal operations go a long way toward proactive compliance even when the regulations are uncertain.

With a customized workflow automation system, you can set the privacy parameters by default. This allows permissions as you see fit for maximum productivity and compliance.  Customization allows for immediate protection. In addition, it allows the flexibility to update those permissions to comply with new privacy policies and regulations as they happen. 

An added benefit is that managers will have immediate visibility and tracking of all processes. In this way, they can best assess what is and isn’t working. They can adjust as needed in order to maximize best practices and compliance.  In addition, you can allow your clients access to their personal data as well as your privacy policies at any time and it can all be automated.  You will not be able to embed these privacy best practices with a standard, off the shelf legal automation solution. 

Finally, with the changing rules, proactive data security policies and practices through customized workflow automation will allow you to demonstrate compliance to any regulators.  No more sifting through reams of documents, excel spreadsheets, emails or different document and workflow management tools for evidence.  With the right, customized legal operations solution, your team will be well-positioned for the future. You will be ready for whatever new regulation, audit or compliance review that comes your way. 

Maria Syms

Maria Syms

Maria started her career as a lawyer in the early nineties at a D.C. international law firm. She worked on a clunky WANG computer that was far from “user-friendly”. Having ridden the technology wave (both good and bad), Maria understands how the right technology can be used to create value and grow your business. Maria practiced as a partner in a law firm representing multinational corporations, an Assistant United States Attorney and an Assistant Attorney General. She was also an elected Arizona lawmaker. Maria holds a Master’s degree from Harvard, a law degree from American University and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College. She is a member of the Arizona, California, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and D.C. bars.