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Data Discovery in the Age of GDPR with Satori

|Content Specialist

Organizations constantly seek valuable insights to drive growth and innovation. The data that drives innovation often includes sensitive personal identifying information (PII). The increasing importance of data privacy concerns has led to the prominence of regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which defines how personal data is collected, processed, stored, and shared by organizations that operate within the EU or handle the personal data of EU citizens. 


To ensure the privacy and security of personal data, organizations first need to know where this data is located. Given the wide and disparate data stores many organizations use, locating sensitive data can be difficult. 


This blog post explores the importance of data discovery for meeting GDPR compliance and how organizations can navigate this complex landscape with Satori.

GDPR and Data Discovery

The GDPR is a comprehensive data privacy and protection regulation implemented by the European Union (EU) in 2018. It is designed to enhance and unify data privacy rights and protections for individuals within the EU while also addressing the export of personal data outside the EU. 

The GDPR has far-reaching implications for businesses and organizations that collect, process, store, or handle personal data of EU residents. Some important aspects of GDPR include the following.

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The GDPR applies not only to organizations located within the EU but also to organizations located outside the EU that offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, EU residents. The GDPR encourages organizations to collect and process only the data necessary for a specific purpose. It is necessary to identify the relevant data, preventing over-collection and aiding GDPR compliance.


The GDPR emphasizes the importance of obtaining clear and informed consent from individuals to process their personal data. Consent must be freely given, specific, informed, and easily revocable. Data discovery aids in understanding where and how personal data is stored and processed to facilitate obtaining informed consent.

Individual Rights

The GDPR grants individuals several rights over their personal data, including the right to access their data, rectify inaccuracies, erase data (the “right to be forgotten”), restrict processing, data portability, and object to certain types of data processing. Organizations must be able to locate and access PII when individuals exercise their rights under GDPR, such as the right to access or erasure.

Data Breach Notification

Organizations must report data breaches to relevant authorities and affected individuals within 72 hours of discovering the breach under certain circumstances. Effective data discovery assists in the early detection of data breaches, enabling organizations to report breaches within GDPR’s mandated timeframes.

Accountability and Transparency

Organizations must demonstrate compliance with GDPR principles and be transparent about their data processing activities. Organizations that demonstrate how they collect, process, and use personal data, facilitate transparency and adhere to the GDPR’s accountability principle.

Fines and Penalties

Non-compliance with GDPR can result in substantial fines, with penalties being proportionate to the severity of the violation. Data discovery can identify vulnerabilities and risks associated with PII processing. This insight allows organizations to implement necessary security measures to protect data as GDPR requires.

Strategies for GDPR-Compliant Data Discovery with Satori

For compliance, particularly GDPR compliance, data discovery is necessary to locate PII to ensure compliance. Satori provides several capabilities that help organizations remain GDPR compliant through data discovery. 

1. Data Discovery

Organizations store data across various databases, data warehouses, and data lakes. This data is often in various formats, from structured to unstructured. Locating this sensitive data is difficult, especially if organizations rely on manual methods. 

Satori’s automated data classification enables you to continuously discover and classify sensitive data. This applies to PII data across a wide variety of data stores and data formats, including semi-structured JSON and structured data. Any newly discovered sensitive data is added to the data inventory. This ensures that the data inventory is consistently up-to-date with the location of all PII data. 

Satori also enables organizations to create their own custom classification taxonomy. Organizations with institutional-specific or localized data types that may not be automatically identified as sensitive PII are defined and continuously discovered. 

The dynamic mapping of sensitive data improves efficiency, reduces risk exposure, and is easier to manage. Knowing and classifying data is necessary to ensure that PII is secured. 

Read more about Why Data Classification Projects are so Hard!

2. Securing PII Data Access

Satori’s frictionless data access control enables your organization to use a dynamic process that automatically applies security policies to PII. The ability to use self-service data access from a personal data portal facilitates data democratization. Data users gain broader access to data, faster, and can extract valuable insights, fostering a collaborative and innovative data-driven culture within organizations.

Read how Organizations can Empower Business Growth with a Self-Service Data Culture

3. Monitoring and Auditing

Data discovery is necessary for the overall data risk posture. The ability to monitor data access through auditing and monitoring and posture management enhances organizations’ ability to meet GDPR requirements. 


Satori’s centralized data access logs provide increased visibility. Coupled with posture management and the ability to identify users’ data access, security teams can quickly identify any overprivileged users and data breaches.

Satori takes this proactive approach a step further with the addition of a Universal Data Permissions Scanner (UDPS), which continuously scans all data permissions to determine who has the potential to access any data. The ability to monitor potential permissions enables organizations to maintain permissions.

The Benefits of Using Data Discovery to Meet GDPR with Satori

By aligning data discovery efforts with GDPR compliance, organizations:


  • Enhance Trust: Prioritize data privacy, building trust with customers and partners.
  • Avoid Penalties & Project Stoppages: Prevent hefty fines resulting from GDPR non-compliance. Additionally, reducing the likelihood of delaying data projects due to non-compliance. 
  • Speed Up Data AccessLeverage Insights: Extract valuable insights while respecting privacy rights.


In the era of data-driven decision-making and heightened privacy concerns, integrating data discovery and GDPR compliance is no longer a choice—it’s a necessity. Organizations can unlock valuable insights and safeguard the trust of their customers and partners by adopting strategies that align automated data discovery and classification, self-service data access, and auditing and monitoring capabilities.

Book a demo meeting with one of our experts to learn how Satori can help your organization with data discovery and GDPR compliance.


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About the author
|Content Specialist

Lisa is a content specialist with an academic background, blending strong analytical and communication skills, to develop engaging instructional content. Lisa has held positions in higher education and public policy and environmental think tanks.

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