Accelerate Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs)

By Greg Sallis

In the new digital age, data privacy rights are top of mind for consumers and regulators alike. One fundamental data privacy right allowing individuals to access their personal data (commonly known as a "data subject access request" or "DSAR").

If your company holds personal data about EU citizens, you must respond to DSARs within one month. This is per the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a failure for which you could face a hefty fine.

However, responding to DSARs can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, especially if you’re doing it manually. Fortunately, you can accelerate DSARs by automating the process.

Here is more insight into how automating DSARs in your organization can save you time, money, and the headache associated with these requests.

Fast Verification of the Subject's Identity

The first step in responding to a DSAR is verifying the data subject's identity. This process can be laborious when done by hand, [GS1] as you have to send physical documents back and forth.

But with automation, you can use digital identity verification tools to verify the data subject's identity electronically. You can ask the subjects to verify their identity using technological approaches such as SMS/email and SSO/OIDC. You can also verify the identity by integrating the data with third-party verification tools such as Experian. 

Faster Retrieval of Data

The next step in responding to a DSAR is retrieving the data requested. This process can take time, especially if the data is spread across different systems. Automation can speed up this process by centralizing the data in one location and using intelligent search tools to locate the data quickly.

For example, you can use data discovery tools to crawl through all your data sources and automatically index the data. This will make it much easier and faster to find the data when needed. You can also use search tools with natural language processing (NLP) capabilities to help you efficiently locate the data.

Faster Data Redaction

One crucial step in responding to a DSAR is redacting the data. When responding to data access requests, you must find and redact confidential and sensitive data. Redaction is necessary to protect the privacy of other people whose data may be included in the request.

Manually redacting data can be a slow and tedious process. But with automation, you can use optical character recognition (OCR) tools to identify and redact sensitive data.

Redaction technology will scan documents and automatically identify and redact confidential information such as credit card and social security numbers. The best thing about this technology is that it can redact faces, audio, and video files.

Improved Accuracy

When responding to DSARs, it’s essential to be as accurate as possible to avoid penalties. But manual processes are often error-prone, leading to inaccuracies in the data.

Automation can improve the accuracy of DSAR responses by using tools such as natural language processing (NLP) to check for errors. NLP can help you identify and correct any mistakes in the data before it’s sent to the subject. Automation will reduce errors such as forgetting to redact sensitive information, sending data to the wrong person, or accidentally deleting data.

Streamlining the Data Intake Process

When responding to DSARs, you must collect data from multiple sources and put it together. This can be a challenge when done manually, as it requires coordination between different departments. But with automation, you can streamline the data intake process by creating an automated workflow. 

This will ensure that all the data is collected and stored in one central location. The workflow will also help you track the progress of the DSAR and see where any bottlenecks are. As a result, you will realize enhanced efficiency when responding to DSARs.

Reduced Costs

Responding to DSARs can be costly, especially if you have to hire staff to do it manually. But the right technology can help you reduce the costs associated with DSARs.

The technology will help you save on labor costs, as you won’t need to hire as many staff to respond to data access requests. It will also help you save on storage costs, as you won’t need to keep as much data on hand. In addition, you won’t need to use as much processing power to respond to data access requests, which will reduce your processing costs. 

Accelerate Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs) With Automation

Responding to data subject access requests doesn’t have to be a headache. Automation will make the whole process a breeze, from verifying subjects' identities to redacting data. 

Not only will this save you time and money, but it will also improve the accuracy of your responses. So if you’re looking to streamline your DSAR process, automation is the way to go.


“Quick, well designed, and saved our team over 97% of time. Our team was able to meet subject access requests and meet GDPR mandates using the iDox.ai redaction solution.”

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- Carl Bevan -

Royal College of Nursing

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