EXCELling in your processing register

15 November 2023 - MarkHoogewerf

When it comes to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the conversation quickly turns to the processing registry. The essence, of course, revolves around transparency, data minimization and privacy by design. If you ask someone who deals with the GDPR to point out the core, it comes down to the register. Speaking of a registry, one quickly thinks of Excel. Often these two terms are mentioned in the same breath, inextricably linked. Excel is the first choice for a processing register, but is it also the best?

If you work little with personal data and your register contains only a few processing operations that rarely change, Excel is probably the right choice for you. There are numerous sample registers online that you can customize to fit your needs. Excel is a familiar and easy-to-use tool for simple record-keeping purposes.

So when is Excel not the best option and why? Better said, why is a specialized tool, such as the one provided by JuriBlox, a better choice for my registry. To answer that, below I outline the 4 main reasons why a tool like JuriBlox is better than Excel for your registry!

Specialised tools

What is in your registry? And what should actually be included? Setting up a register seems like a simple matter at first glance, as it is stipulated in the GDPR. The requirements for a register are thus clear, but what about the structure, composition, depth and actual content? Who will complete it and how will the required information be obtained?

The primary reason for replacing Excel with a system such as JuriBlox is the way the register is completed: via a questionnaire. Completing all the required information using a questionnaire offers several possibilities.

  • Speed and accuracy:A customised questionnaire tool can help you quickly answer the right questions, which is crucial in data processing and privacy compliance. This keeps the registry always fully up-to-date!
  • Standaardisatie:Everyone works with the same questionnaire, dependencies and explanations. This effortlessly introduces a high degree of standardisation into your registry. The benefits of this become noticeable when you want to gain insight or report.
  • Dummy proof:Make the GDPR and your processes accessible. With built-in advice and support, you don't need to be a GDPR/privacy expert to properly contribute.

Many hands make light work

Who actually bears the responsibility for completing and maintaining the register?

In practice, I often see a Data Protection Officer (DPO) working exclusively on the register. This person is at the very top of the "GDPR responsibility pyramid." For a DPO, of course, this is not the intention. The GDPR describes the position as someone who monitors and advises, not as the person who as in practice often does all the work.

But how do you ensure that an DPO no longer faces this task alone? The beginning of the answer to that question is a tool like JuriBlox. By introducing a questionnaire method, the processing register becomes accessible and concrete for department heads or managers in the company.

The questionnaire guides them with understandable questions and concrete examples they recognise. Thus, even without knowledge of the GDPR, they can easily set up the register.

After setting up the registry, it is necessary to create awareness within the organization. Sharing knowledge and educating employees about the implications of data processing and privacy is essential to promote privacy awareness. This allows everyone in the organization to contribute to effective compliance with the GDPR.

In addition to being able to delegate some tasks as an DPO, there are also significant benefits. Namely, it improves both the timeliness and quality of the register. Namely, the business departments themselves are better informed about the specific processes and when changes occur!

Maintenance & version control

Setting up a register is one thing, but keeping it up to date in an orderly manner is a second challenge. Often, Excel offers no solution here, resulting in an untidy file that has been changed countless times, completely losing uniformity, standardisation, version control and overview. Perhaps more importantly, validation for content is lacking.

The key to maintaining the relevance and reliability of this registry lies in regular maintenance and effective version control. In this respect, a privacy tool such as JuriBlox can help. JuriBlox allows users to make highly targeted and structured changes to the register, editing each data processing process individually. This is done not by adjusting random fields, but by re-filling the structured questionnaire and building on the previous version of the processes.

This automated process not only minimises the risk of human error, but also provides an efficient and streamlined approach to tracking data processing. Moreover, JuriBlox records a detailed version history, allowing users to accurately track who modified what and when. This feature significantly increases transparency, accountability and audit capabilities, while also providing the flexibility to view or restore previous versions of the registry. In short, JuriBlox's combination of maintenance, versioning and advanced features provides a powerful solution for organisations striving for accuracy, compliance and effective management of data processing in an increasingly complex privacy environment.

Proactive monitoring

Delegating the set-up and tracking of processing is not entirely without risks. Despite the business being well aware of all the details, it is not realistic to expect them to always immediately recognise when certain processes violate regulations or pose potential risks.

How can you be sure that, even when delegating tasks, you still keep a watchful eye on your register and are immediately aware of potential risks or incompleteness?

This is where a tooling such as JuriBlox offers the solution. This tool allows you to confidently outsource the management of the register and related tasks. This allows you to reduce your task as DPO or Privacy Officer to however it is described in the AVG: monitoring and advising. JuriBlox actually takes on a proactive role.

Smart technology builds in triggers that immediately alert existing or new data processing operations when risks or incompleteness arise.

As soon as these are detected, the DPO or controller receives an immediate notification and is provided with a specific task to control the processing in question. Integrating such fail-safes not only provides peace of mind, but also strengthens the effectiveness and responsiveness of data management in line with the requirements of the GDPR.

Compliant and Effective

In summary, managing a processing register is crucial for GDPR compliance, and the choice between Excel and specialised tools, such as JuriBlox, directly affects the effectiveness and efficiency of this process.

While Excel is a familiar option for simple registration purposes, JuriBlox offers significant advantages on several fronts. The use of a structured questionnaire in JuriBlox enables organisations to complete information quickly, accurately and in a standardised manner, which is essential for data processing and privacy compliance. JuriBlox also promotes collaboration by making the register accessible to different department heads, making it no longer a task exclusively for the DPO. This results in a more up-to-date and high-quality register by making the business itself more aware of processes and processing.

In addition, JuriBlox provides an automated maintenance process with detailed version control, which is crucial for maintaining relevance and reliability. Finally, JuriBlox acts as a proactive tool by incorporating risk notifications, which immediately informs the DPO of potential risks or incompleteness.

In short, moving to specialised tools like JuriBlox offers a powerful solution for organisations striving for accuracy, compliance and effective management of data processing in an increasingly complex privacy environment.


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