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How to perform a Data Protection Impact Assessment

 (Updated! Originally published 2017 September 9)

There is a ton of free material in the Internet describing the Data Privacy Impact Assessments (DPIA) process. Some fine examples include:

When I actually tried to perform my first DPIA (also called "Data Protection Impact Assessments"), I struggled because the templates were not particularly intuitive. I searched for real-world examples of DPIAs...and found nothing. I looked for templates that were comprehensive and straightforward...and found none.

Even the three different versions of a DPIA template I received from IT Governance as part of a GDPR class and a document template kit left me wanting.

There was a total lack of practical examples.

The fix? I decided to roll my own:
  • Begged, borrowed and stole ideas from various DPIA forms and spreadsheets.
  • I built a more detailed revised template that forces to privacy practitioner to not forget anything
  • I tested the template as both a data controller and as a data processor, making many revisions
  • I consulted with colleagues and GDPR experts to resolve issues.
  • Pretty colors were added.
  • I was formatted to print.
  • And I learned more about the GDPR than I ever expected.
You get to take advantage of my work so you don't have to suffer like I did...

DPIA Template

I'll continue revising this template. Feel free to comment on where it needs to be improved! When I release a new version, I'll update the article date and link:

Examples of Completed DPIAs

I've created a couple examples of completed DPIAs. They are both based on several real DPIAs that I've combined and edited to ensure there were examples of risks to be mitigated.

Example of a DPIA by a Data Controller

I choose a very common scope that's familiar to every organization: Maintaining Human Resources employee data.

Example of a DPIA by a Data Processor

Interestingly, many of the questions that need to be answered in a DPIA are Data Controller-specific and don't apply to a Data Processor. But the Data Processor is still responsible for helping the Data Controller comply with the GDPR. For Controller-only questions, I suggest you comment on how you, as Data Processor, are going to help the Data Controller.

Have at it!

If you have recommended modifications or translate into another language, let me know - I'm happy to post variations or update my version with your suggestions.


  1. Thanks for making this available. I was on the same quest.

  2. Hi Mike, Can you please explain how you developed your Risk to rights and freedoms of data subjects calculation on the Risks tab? Did you develop the 1-3 score, or is that an industry standard. Thanks!

    1. Hi John - my apologies: I somehow missed (for months!) your question. Answer: The 0-3 score is simply what I choose rather than 1-3 or 1-5 or any other scoring. There is no industry standard: I just choose what felt easiest for me. You can change the formulas to anything you want - feel free!

  3. Congrats, Mike, and thank you for sharing.

  4. Thank you - very helpful and well constructed

  5. Thank you for sharing! The links under "Example of a DPIA by a Data Controller" don't work however.


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