You probably know what GDPR is, but how does it impact you? This guide will help you make sense of the EU’s new privacy rules so that you can stay compliant and avoid hefty fines. Here’s everything you need to know about GDPR compliance.
What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union (EU) law that protects the personal data of all individuals in the EU. The GDPR was approved by the European Parliament on April 14, 2016, and took effect on May 25, 2018.
The GDPR replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive, which only applied to EU Member States and did not include sanctions for non-compliance. The GDPR has been designed to harmonize European data privacy laws and strengthen enforcement mechanisms for privacy breaches.
The GDPR is enforced in all 28 EU member states, and companies have one standard to abide too. It’s important to note that the standard is quite high, requiring companies to invest huge sums in meeting and administering the standards.
The regulation applies to all companies that process or hold EU residents’ data, including US companies that market products and services to EU residents.
What does the GDPR do?
The main aim of the GDPR is to give people more control over their data and how businesses use it. The GDPR requires organizations that handle the personal data of EU citizens to implement policies and procedures that protect personal information from unauthorized access or disclosure.
The GDPR mandates that companies report any breach of security involving personal data within 72 hours of discovery, as well as provide an explanation of what happened and how it will be fixed. It also gives people the right to have their data erased from the internet if they wish, known as ‘the right to be forgotten.’
Who does the GDPR impact?
The GDPR applies to any organization that collects or processes personal data of individuals within the European Union (EU), regardless of whether it is located in the EU. It also applies to organizations outside the EU if they offer goods or services to individuals in the EU or monitor their behavior within EU countries.
Benefits of GDPR compliance
GDPR compliance is more than just a collection of regulations. It’s a way to protect businesses and customers in an increasingly digital world. Some of the benefits of being GDPR compliant include:
Better security for your customers’ data
The most obvious benefit of GDPR compliance is that it gives you better control over the handling and protecting customer data. Protecting customer data is now a legal requirement.
With so much personal information available online, ensuring that your business follows the best data protection practices is more important than ever.
A competitive advantage
Complying with GDPR can make your business more competitive in the marketplace. Businesses that offer this have an advantage over those that don’t comply with the regulations. If your competitors aren’t compliant with GDPR, they could lose out on a large market share.
Reduced risk of fines and lawsuits
The maximum fine for violating GDPR is 20 million euros or 4 percent of annual global turnover (whichever is higher). This could be devastating for small businesses unable to pay such high fines.
In addition to the penalties, non-compliant companies may also face lawsuits from angry customers who have suffered due to their negligence or lack of due diligence in protecting personal data. These costs can quickly add up when multiplied by several thousand customers affected by your company’s negligence.
Increased trust and loyalty from customers
GDPR compliance gives people more control over their data while ensuring that companies treat them fairly. Businesses are more likely to receive trust and loyalty from customers who feel that their personal information is being handled well.
The GDPR also provides many benefits for businesses regarding compliance costs and efficiency, as well as opening up new markets.
Better public image and reputation
Companies willing to go above and beyond to protect customer data will benefit from a positive reputation among consumers. For example, Microsoft was praised for its transparency in GDPR compliance compared with other companies like Google, which were criticized for their lack of transparency regarding how they handled user data under the new regulations.
A recent study shows that 60 percent of consumers would switch brands if their personal information were mishandled by a company’s security breach or cyber-attack.
Best practices to ensure GDPR compliance
GDPR compliance is a big topic, and it can be confusing. To help you navigate your way through it, we’ve complied this GDPR compliance checklist, which highlights the most important things you need to know about GDPR.
Ensure lawfulness and transparency of data processing
When processing personal data, organizations need to ensure that they only process data when they have a legal basis. The GDPR sets out six legal bases upon which an organization can lawfully process personal data: consent, contractual necessity, legal obligation, vital interests, public interest, and legitimate interests.
The GDPR also requires that companies provide information about their processing activities and explain how they collect and use personal data at the time of collection or before initiating any further contact with an individual.
Appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO)
Article 37 of GDPR states that every organization that collects and processes personal data must appoint a DPO. The DPO is responsible for protecting the privacy and security of individuals’ personal data. They must be informed about all data processing activities within their organization and monitor compliance with GDPR.
Conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)
Under Article 35 of the GDPR, organizations must conduct a DPIA for every new data processing activity or significant change in an existing processing activity. A DPIA should be conducted whenever there is a high risk to individuals’ rights and freedoms from processing operations.
It should also be carried out where it is likely that the processing will result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals. This assessment aims to identify potential risks before they occur and take steps to mitigate them.
Update your privacy notice
Privacy notices are one of the primary ways you inform users about how their data is collected and used. Privacy notices must be clear, concise, and transparent; easy to read; in plain language and written in clear and simple language.
Put together a list of all the people who have access to your customer’s personal data, including employees and contractors, and make sure they’ve signed an appropriate data protection agreement with you.
Audit your data security policies and procedures
Ensure that your systems are protected with strong passwords and two-factor authentication where appropriate. You can use consent management platform (CMP) software to get consent from customers.
A consent management platform gives you a clear process for obtaining consent, including how long you will store it and what you’ll do with it after collecting it. Before contacting them again after they’ve given their details for a specific purpose, it’s important to adhere to the rules and regulations.
Educate employees on GDPR
It’s important that all staff members understand what they can and cannot do when processing personal data. Educate them on what personal information they should be collecting from customers, why they are collecting it, and how long it needs to be stored. Ensure they know how to respond when someone requests access or erasure of their data.
Document your GDPR compliance
Ensure you have documented policies and procedures in place by creating a written policy that outlines how your business handles personal data and policies for all employees who handle personal data on behalf of the company. Also, include DSAR (Data Subject Access Request) management to gain better insights and more information about your customers.
This also includes documenting how you collect, process, and store personal data and all third-party vendors that have access to that information.
Establish procedures for reporting and notifying personal data breaches
Implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect personal data from loss or unauthorized disclosure. Under Article 33 of the GDPR, you must report any breach of security leading to unauthorized access or disclosure of personal data no later than 72 hours after becoming aware of it unless it’s unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons.
Ensure user privacy rights
This GDPR compliance checklist requires companies to get consent from users before collecting their personal information. When you ask for consent, make sure you have a clear way for users to withdraw it if they want to.
The GDPR also requires companies to provide DSAR management services, an easy and accessible way for users to review and delete their data.
Review the data you hold on children
Under GDPR, businesses must obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under 13 years old. This includes information such as name, address, email address, and telephone number.
You must also ensure that any website or app directed at children has appropriate privacy settings and complies with COPPA laws in the US (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act).
GDPR is designed to ensure that personal data is handled ethically and securely and to give individuals more control over their data. In other words, it’s not intended to cause headaches for companies.
To sum everything up, you can stay GDPR compliant with the help of Adzapier’s tailored solution to allow you to be compliant and have a full 360 view at the same time. At Adzapier, we help our clients manage customer privacy and stay compliant regardless of ever-changing laws.