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HomeNewsInterviewsTech will be key for DPDPA compliance and data security: Rajkumar Manickam, Exterro

Tech will be key for DPDPA compliance and data security: Rajkumar Manickam, Exterro

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In the face of the DPDPA, organisations are turning to privacy solutions as an essential tool for compliance and ethical data processing, says Rajkumar Manickam, Director of South Asia at Exterro.

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As India embraces the Digital Personal Data Protection Act () 2023, the compliance landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, particularly for data privacy and protection. This change, while presenting challenges, also shows the critical role of technology in assisting businesses to effectively navigate the complexities associated with data security, privacy, and management. The legislation, though possibly seen as an added burden by some, underscores the necessity of technological integration in modern business practices.

Rajkumar Manickam, Director of South Asia at , in an interview with, shares his views on this evolving dynamic. He said, “With the advent of DPDPA 2023, technology transcends being a mere option; it becomes an essential cornerstone for compliance. This shift offers businesses a robust framework to manage data securely, aligning seamlessly with the stipulations of the new regulations.”

Edited Excerpts:

What are the key provisions of India's DPDPA 2023 and its significance for businesses in India?

The DPDPA 2023 is transformative for India's data protection landscape, necessitating businesses to adopt robust data privacy practices. Adherence to principles like data discovery, data inventorising, minimisation and transparency not only ensures compliance but also builds enduring trust with customers, contributing to long-term success. India's Digital Personal Data Protection Act (DPDPA) 2023 introduces crucial provisions impacting businesses.

The legislation mandates explicit and informed consent, prompting a comprehensive review of data collection practices. Individuals gain enhanced rights, emphasising data minimisation, robust security, and limits on cross-border data transfers. Compliance is vital for businesses to navigate India's evolving data protection landscape and align with global standards set by the Digital Personal Data Protection Act (DPDPA) 2023.

Key provisions of the DPDPA 2023 include obtaining explicit and informed consent, data minimisation, implementing data security measures, and granting individuals rights like access, correction, erasure, and data portability. Restrictions on cross-border data transfers are also imposed. The significance for businesses is evident in enhanced data privacy, alignment with global standards, risk mitigation, and the cultivation of customer trust and loyalty. Compliance acts as a shield against legal and reputational risks, positioning businesses competitively in the global digital economy.

What are the challenges businesses may face in complying with the DPDPA, and what strategies can be adopted to effectively address these challenges?

Businesses may face various challenges in complying with the DPDPA, encompassing aspects such as automated data discovery, data retention requirements, management of large data volumes, and navigating local regulations. To effectively address these challenges, they should consider implementing the following strategies. Firstly, leverage Data Discovery Tools to systematically identify and map sensitive personal data across diverse systems, facilitating a comprehensive understanding of data landscapes.

Additionally, they should make use of Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs), including encryption and anonymisation, to safeguard sensitive data both at rest and in transit. Collaborate closely with stakeholders, including legal, IT, and business teams, to ensure seamless alignment with the specific requirements outlined in the DPDPA. Seeking external expertise by engaging with data privacy experts can provide valuable insights into interpreting and implementing the bill's provisions accurately.

Finally, it is essential to establish a robust grievance redressal mechanism, offering a clear and accessible process for individuals to voice concerns regarding their data privacy and seek appropriate redress. These proactive measures contribute to a comprehensive approach in overcoming the challenges posed by the DPDPA and fostering a culture of robust data protection within businesses.

What comprehensive strategies should organisations implement to safeguard sensitive data and uphold user privacy?

Safeguarding sensitive data and upholding user privacy necessitate comprehensive strategies, encompassing various key elements. Firstly, organisations should establish clear data governance policies and procedures. This involves formulating transparent guidelines outlining the processes of data collection, storage, usage, and disposal. Additionally, conducting employee training and awareness programs is crucial to ensure that staff members are well-versed in data privacy regulations, best practices, and potential risks, thereby promoting responsible handling of sensitive data.

Regular risk assessments are essential in the strategy, allowing organisations to proactively identify, prioritise, and address potential data privacy risks. Furthermore, organisations need to develop robust incident response plans to effectively manage and respond to data breaches, minimising their impact on sensitive information.

Lastly, engaging with data privacy experts becomes imperative to stay abreast of evolving regulations and adhere to best practices in the ever-changing landscape of data protection. Together, these comprehensive strategies form a holistic approach to safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining the highest standards of user privacy.

Why businesses in India need a robust system to comply with the new DPDPA?

The Digital Data Protection Bill fleshes out specific rights of customers to access information about their personal data. In addition, the legislation calls for organisations to have data pertaining to each subject in one place as each individual is entitled to receive a “summary of the personal data that has been processed by the data fiduciary and with whom the personal data has been shared along with all categories.” Without a defensible data inventory, such subject access requests would take an inordinate amount of time to process, which would be in direct violation of the law.

This is why businesses in India need a robust system that can handle the intake of the request, verify the individual or entity's ID accurately, and also collect, review, and redact necessary information. Since the new legislation governs employee data too, businesses require tech stacks that can access employee data, requiring integrations with HR systems to ensure that employee records are correctly retained. When technology harmonises data deletion requests with other legal obligations and compliance mechanisms, the process becomes easier. For instance, the proposed bill gives individuals the right to request deletion of their personal data in possession of an organisation.

How can businesses harness technology to ensure compliance and enhance data security?

When it comes to keeping up with data privacy regulation, organisations would be wise to adopt a more comprehensive technology solution to drive efficiency and minimise human error. most companies still hold fast to data compliance policies and procedures that depend on personnel for manual implementation and upkeep. Technology plays a pivotal role in simplifying compliance tasks under the DPDPA, empowering businesses to adeptly navigate the intricacies of data privacy regulations. Employing a robust suite of technological solutions allows businesses to streamline compliance processes, fortify data security, and unequivocally demonstrate their dedication to safeguarding user privacy.

Technology becomes instrumental for businesses striving to attain DPDPA compliance and elevate data security. Data discovery tools meticulously map sensitive data, enabling a proactive shield for data protection. Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs) act as guardians, employing encryption, anonymisation, and pseudonymisation to fortify the security of sensitive information. Centralising data privacy policies and procedures, data governance platforms simplify compliance audits and monitoring. Privacy risk management software aids businesses in discerning and mitigating data privacy risks effectively. Simultaneously, data breach prevention and monitoring systems stand vigilant, shielding against unauthorised access and data exfiltration.

Adopting this comprehensive approach to data management and security enables businesses to instil a culture of data privacy. This, in turn, safeguards sensitive personal information, nurturing trust with both customers and stakeholders. Embracing these technological solutions equips businesses to adeptly meet the requirements of the DPDPA, reinforce their data governance practices, and fortify their overall data privacy stance, thereby safeguarding sensitive personal information and fostering unwavering user trust.

How can technology support businesses in managing consent effectively, aligning with the requirements of the DPDPA 2023?

The DPDPA 2023 mandates explicit, informed, and freely given consent for personal data processing by Indian businesses. Technology is pivotal in meeting these requirements efficiently and enhancing compliance efforts. Streamlining the consent collection process, technology ensures an efficient and user-friendly experience. Advanced solutions offer granular consent options, giving users precise control over their data usage. Real-time consent tracking and reporting provide valuable insights for continuous compliance. Consent management solutions facilitate seamless integration with existing systems, ensuring comprehensive data governance.

Automation within these solutions enables continuous risk monitoring, swiftly addressing compliance gaps. In industries like e-commerce, fintech, healthcare, social media, and recruitment, robust consent management proves essential. E-commerce ensures explicit consent for order processing and marketing. Fintech communicates data usage clearly, obtaining explicit consent for account opening or loan applications. Healthcare secures informed consent for treatment or research.

Social media leverages granular consent for targeted advertising. Recruitment agencies obtain explicit consent for job applications or background checks. Beyond compliance, these solutions build trust, showcasing a commitment to ethical data practices.

How does the Indian DPDPA's requirement to provide privacy notices in 22 different languages pose a unique challenge and how can technology address this complexity?

The DPDPA introduces a distinctive challenge by mandating privacy notices in 22 different languages, reflecting the country's rich linguistic diversity. Meeting this requirement effectively demands advanced technological solutions. The use of cutting-edge technology becomes indispensable in ensuring accurate and culturally sensitive communication of privacy information across diverse linguistic landscapes. 

What privacy-related tools and technologies could be utilised to meet the compliance and ethical data processing under DPDPA?

In the face of the DPDPA, organisations are turning to privacy solutions as an essential tool for compliance and ethical data processing. Data mapping and risk assessment tools provide a clear understanding of an organisation's data landscape and potential privacy risks. Automated Privacy Impact Assessments streamline the evaluation process, ensuring that data processing activities align with regulatory requirements. Privacy-Enhancing Technologies and tools offer powerful safeguards for sensitive personal information, fostering user trust and positioning organisations as leaders in ethical data stewardship.

We have been working as a key ally for businesses navigating the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023 (DPDPA) in helping them effectively meet DPDPA requirements, enhance data governance, and protect sensitive information, fostering user trust in an increasingly data-driven world.

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Shalini Shukla
Shalini Shukla
Shalini Shukla is Correspondent at She has keen interest in start-ups, emerging technologies and education sector.
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