The Steps to Data Protection and GDPR Explained

The Steps to Data Protection and GDPR Explained

The General Data Protection Regulation sets guidelines that protect the privacy and personal data of European Union residents. It affects any business that provides products or services to EU citizens, regardless of its location.  Non-compliance could result in hefty fines and damage to the company’s reputation.   For this reason, every company that does transactions with the EU should stay compliant with the law.  Here are fundamental data protection steps every organisation should know.

Data Auditing and Governance

Although technically not part of GDPR, data auditing is essential for every business.  The process enables organisations to assess what type of data they have and whether they are compliant with the GDPR.  After data auditing, you should assign someone to execute the regulations, such as a Data Protection Officer.  Next, determine who among the employees must follow the policies and inform them of their roles.

Lawful Processing and Consent

Every organization should have a legal basis for collecting and processing the personal information of individuals.  It means you only gather data that is necessary to complete a transaction.  Moreover, you should acquire data fairly and transparently.  At this point, consent comes into play.  The individuals should agree that you are gathering, processing, and storing their information.  Under the GDPR, failure to gain permission for data processing is subject to fines.  Remember that children are legally unable to provide their consent for any data gathering activity.  Therefore, you must get approval from their parent or guardian before you can collect their data.

Privacy Information and Subject Access

Organisations should notify the data subject what information they are collecting.  One way to demonstrate this is through a privacy notice.  Also known as fair processing notice, this statement describes how and why a company gathers, uses, stores, and shares personal data.  Be sure that your business’ privacy policies comply with this guideline.

Under the Subject Access Request (SAR), individuals have the right to get records of their data kept by an organisation. Your business should have a process in place to handle such requests.  According to the GDPR, you should reply to all applications within 30 days from the date of filing.

GDPR Employee Training

About 90% of security breaches are a result of human error rather than cyber-attacks. For instance, many employees do not know that using the ‘to’ field instead of the ‘bcc’ field in sending emails could count as unlawful sharing of personal information. Because “human factor” is often the most vulnerable aspect in data security, it is essential that the entire workforce knows about cyber risks and how to avoid them. Fortunately, there are available courses designed to help employees gain a thorough understanding of cybersecurity policies. A simple online GDPR employee training course is a good investment as it could ultimately save your company thousands of pounds.

Breach Reporting

A personal data breach is one of the worst things that can happen to a company as it has harsh and extensive effects on the business and its customers.  The GDPR recommends the use of encryption to reduce the risks of data infringement.  However, if a violation does occur, it is crucial to have a procedure for reporting the incident. Part of the process is knowing which relevant authorities you must alert in case of a breach and how to inform the affected persons. According to the GDPR, data controllers should give an account of the incident within 72 hours.   They should indicate the kind of information breached, the number of individuals affected, and the measures they performed to counter the breach.

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