GDPR, or The General Data Protect Regulations, controls how organizations store and uses personal data. GDPR was introduced in 2018; since then, it has become a centre of discussion. GDPR is a regulation that requires businesses to protect their customers’ personal information and privacy. Non-compliance with GDPR can create harmful consequences for a firm. So, it is essential to understand the GDPR and the steps an organization can take to stay compliant with these rules.
Companies, especially those in European unions, are strictly to comply with the new GDPR rules. With this regulation, companies will have to bear a vast fine and consequences if caught failing to protect their user’s data. Also, GDPR prevents businesses from collecting users’ data without consent. In short, these rules give users their rights by implying laws protecting the customer’s data.
Seven principles of GDPR
1. Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency
These three words of Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency play their role in creating the first principle of GDPR.
Lawfulness: The organization must collect its user’s data with proper consent. Getting the user’s approval is the easiest way to legalize the data collection process.
Fairness: This states that companies should collect the user’s data for an equitable interest. Such as, a company can use the collected data to find out the interests of their users and then use that information to change their product accordingly.
Transparency: This work focuses on the communication aspect. A firm should be clear about what, how, and why they process the data.
2. Purpose limitation
A company should stick to the purpose intended for data collection. Furthermore, the intended purpose of the firm should be clear and legal. Even if the firm thinks of using the user’s data for another purpose, they must get their consent again.
3. Data Minimization
This principle prevents companies from keeping the data of their users lying around. For example, suppose a firm has completed its research. In that case, it should immediately cut the old data, which is useless now. Keeping minimal and accurate information would also be beneficial for the business itself.
The data collected by the firm for their use must be precise and accurate. Indicating the erasure of the old kept data stored by the firm. One downside of data is that it can quickly become outdated. For example, with time, the choices and interest of people changes. If a firm collects data to determine customer preferences, the data collected at the start of the year would be useless in three to four months as the people’s interest changes.
5. Storage limitation
This principle focuses on the deletion of old and outdated data. A firm should not store the personal data of its customers which is no longer in use. A firm must explain to customers how long they plan to hold their data. Also, ensuring the removal of user’s data after utilizing it.
6. Integrity and confidentiality
This regulation states that a firm should protect the personal data of its users. Confidentiality focuses on keeping the data accessible only to authorized personnel. Ensure the data is safe and sound so that someone unauthorized cannot access it.
A business should be able to provide evidence of all the measures they have taken to prove its compliance with the GDPR principles and take responsibility for the data a firm processes while complying with all the laws. GDPR regulators are aware that a firm can boldly lie about following the GDPR principles. Therefore, the regulators ask for accountability and proof of data processing.
What types of privacy data are protected by the GDPR principles?
- Basic information such as name, address, and ID numbers
- Web data such as IP addresses, cookies, and location
- Biometric data
- Health and genetic data
- Ethical data
- Sexual orientation
- Political opinions
Eight GDPR rights for individuals
1. The right to be informed
The business should tell the users what data they are collecting and how they would process it. This task should include a privacy notice, which must be free and easily accessible. The user must receive this data at the time they would be submitting their data.
2. The right of access
Users must have access to the data that they have given to the company. A firm should provide their users with the following data information when requested:
- the types of information
- A copy of the data
- Purpose of processing
- With whom the data has been shared to date of collection
3. Rectification of data
Users can rectify their data if it needs to be corrected or completed. However, this process is lengthy and can come at a cost for the user.
4. Right to erasure
It is a company’s responsibility to erase the users’ data in case of withdrawal from the consent. The user has the right to request the erasure of their data after withdrawing their support.
5. Right to restrict processing.
Users can request the restriction of their data from being processed whenever they want. But there is a specific condition that follows.
6. Data portability
The company should allow user data from one controller to another if requested. The company should carry out this request without delay and free of cost.
7. Right to object
Users have a right to object to any processing of their data. But, the users must state a reason behind their goal.
8. Rights relating to profiling and automated decision-making
Users are open to freedom from decisions made using automated processing or profiling.
Who handles compliance with GDPR?
The data controller and processor are responsible under GDPR for complying with data protection principles. The data controller is an entity that determines the purposes, conditions, and ways of processing personal data. At the same time, the data processors are an entity that maintains and processes personal data further on behalf of the data controller. The GDPR mostly held processors liable for breaching data or non-compliance with the GDPR principles. Sometimes, even the company could be held accountable for breaching and non-compliance. Thus, a company needs to choose a competent and responsible processing partner.
Steps to ensure GDPR compliance: 10 best practices for employers
1. Train employees
An employer is responsible for the actions of everyone on his team. Usually, a group of people handles the data and its processing. Thus, each and every one must be aware of the GDPR principles. To protect yourself and your company, it’s a bright idea to provide training to your employees on GDPR compliance. Online GDPR training courses are accessible for employers to teach employees how to follow GDPR principles. Training helps the company from breaching the data and introduces the limitation of handling personal data. Hence, providing GDPR training has to be one of the primary steps a firm should take to be GDPR compliant.
2. Data protection impact assessments (DPIA)
A business should always carry out a data protection impact assessment whenever they start the process after collecting the data. DPIA allows the company to identify and remove risks associated with processing data. It is optional to perform an assessment every time you collect data. Still, assessing any trouble in the data you store is always good.
3. Auditing all personal data
It is crucial that a firm document all the personal data they hold, where they obtained it, and with whom they are sharing it. Auditing your data means that you are documenting:
- The type of data collected
- The method of data processing used
- The purpose of data collection and procession
Auditing helps you get a review of your activities and how you are handling the data. It gives a business an overview of how they comply with GDPR principles. And identify areas for improvement.
4. Appointing a data protection officer (DPO)
A data protection officer ensures data protection and complies with the GDPR principles. The DPO should be a competent person who can take proper responsibility for the data and have the knowledge, support, and authority to do so. Yet, appointing a DPO is only necessary when a firm handles a large amount of personal or sensitive data.
5. Obtaining consent
A corporation should ask its users for consent before data collection. This step must be the most basic rule to comply with the GDPR principles. Further steps involve providing clear information to the user about how their data will be used and would be kept safe.
6. Erasure of Data
To maintain compliance with GDPR rules, a company must erase all unwanted and old data. Keeping old and outdated data is no longer beneficial and will cause unwanted problems. Doing so will create some hefty fines for companies.
7. Asking for help
Small businesses in the data collection process are more affected by the GDPR principles. These small businesses need more resources to meet the requirements for complying with GDPR rules. In this scenario, asking for advice from more prominent firms and technical experts is recommended. However, this problem is not only limited to just small businesses. Due to their complicated rules, many big corporations still need help to comply with GDPR principles. Thus, reaching out for help to other GDPR-compliant companies would be the best solution to eliminate the confusion.
8. Implementing steps to detect, report, and investigate a personal data breach
Although a data breach is an uncommon event, it comes in without any alarm and, in an instant, can create problems for a firm. If a business receives a data breach, it’s likely to be a stressful event. In this scenario, informing the ICO would be the primary step if the user is expected to suffer from identity theft or a confidentiality breach. So, setting up measures to detect, report and investigate violations is vital. Please do so to avoid a fine for the company.
9. Monitoring third-party providers
If a company is using third-party providers that would process personal data on its behalf. It is essential to check whether the third-party providers are GDPR compliant. Your business could face unwanted fines if the third-party provider is not GDPR compliant.
10. Creating and maintaining data protection plans
Most companies already have a data protection plan to protect users’ data. But, they must review and update it to ensure it aligns with the GDPR requirements.
Benefits of being a GDPR compliant
- GDPR helps protect the user’s data and ensure it is processed lawfully, fairly, and transparently. Protecting personal data reduces the risk of cybercrimes such as data breaches and identity theft.
- A GDPR-compliant business will be able to create a loyal user base. A company can build customer trust by complying with GDPR and demonstrating a commitment to data protection.
- Being GDPR compliant helps a firm to improve its reputation. A firm that respects its customer’s data would be acknowledged and looked upon more than a firm which is a GDPR non-compliant.
- Being GDPR compliant saves your business from fines and sanctions. Failure to follow GDPR rules can result in significant penalties and sanctions.
- GDPR compliance helps businesses to reduce the risk of data breaches. A company should install appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect personal data.
To summarize, this blog highlights the significance of being GDPR compliant. Suppose you run a business that collects and processes your user’s data. Then you must perform the processes by staying loyal to the GDPR principles. Such measures to comply with GPDR can range from training the employees to implying safety measures to prevent data breaching. Failure to do so would mean you are not compliant with GDPR rules, resulting in heavy fines and sanctions. By following the mentioned points and explanations in this blog, you, as an employer, can start your journey towards being GDPR compliant.