Record of processing activities (RoPA)

In accordance with Article 30 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a controller is required to keep a record of activities under its responsibility, including all categories of processing activities. A RoPA that is valid will be the result of effective record-keeping procedures and accountability within an organization. In order to comply with GDPR standards, these procedures will be reviewed and maintained periodically. 

As a prerequisite to fulfilling all requirements in Article 30, an organization should first be able to determine for its own purposes a reliable and accurate picture of all the data it controls and/or processes, by conducting regular data mapping exercises. These exercises will, in the end, yield a comprehensive account of the processing activities. As part of a RoPA, you will find the name and contact information of the organization, as well as the names of all parties involved with the handling of data and their respective roles (controllers or processors). In addition to providing the reasons and methods for the processing of personal data, it should provide a history of all transacted data.

Personal Data Included

A thorough report is expected and documentation is crucial. Individuals, personally identifiable information, and third-party recipients of it will be identified appropriately and descriptively in the record. A detailed description of the organization's security measures will be included, including a history of data transfers, as well as a description of how they are implemented across the organization.

If applicable, a RoPA should include access to supplementary materials like records of consent, descriptions, and copies of relevant contracts, privacy notices, histories of data breaches, and any other information relating to personal data that might provide an additional measure of depth and transparency to the RoPA. As well as any special category or criminal defense data, all information relating to the lawful basis for each processing activity should be detailed in this section.

Record of Processing Activities Best Practices

Keeping this record updated is a particularly important aspect of meeting GDPR standards since so much of the information contained in a RoPA is useful for other areas of compliance. Maintaining accurate and responsible records, reviewing and correcting them frequently, is the best way to accomplish this. The organization can help itself by maintaining a familiarity with Article 30 and consulting legal resources where questions might arise.

A data mapping solution can make this so much easier by putting automatic processes in place, reducing the risks of any human errors, and having this process be continuous and in real-time.