The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union (EU) data protection law that came into effect in 2018. Now, you might think that, since your business isn’t based in the EU, GDPR compliance isn’t something you need to worry about. But the GDPR applies to any business that processes the personal data of EU citizens, regardless of whether the business is based in or outside the EU.
There are significant penalties for businesses that violate GDPR, including fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global revenue (whichever is higher). So, if you’re doing any business with EU citizens, it’s essential to make sure you’re complying with GDPR.
In this article, we go over what GDPR is, what businesses need to do to comply with it, and the penalties for non-compliance.
What Does the GDPR Do?
The GDPR strengthens EU data protection rules by giving individuals more control over their data. The law makes it easier for people to find out what personal data is being collected about them, where it’s coming from, and how it’s being used. The GDPR also gives individuals the right to have their data erased in certain circumstances and to object to its use for marketing purposes.
The GDPR also strengthens EU data protection rules by making businesses more accountable for the personal data they process. Businesses must now take steps to protect the personal data they collect and process from accidental or unauthorized access, destruction, alteration, or misuse. They must also ensure that personal data is accurate and up-to-date.
The GDPR affirms eight rights that all users have online. These rights are:
- To consent to their data’s collection, storage, or processing
- To access their data and obtain information on their data’s collection, storage, or processing
- To rectify any mistakes or errors in their data
- To have their data erased
- To constrain the processing of their data, or how their data is processed
- To transfer their data from you to another service provider, using a common format
- To withdraw consent to their data’s collection, storage, or processing at any time
- To be exempted from automated decisions, such as being profiled for marketing campaigns
The GDPR applies to any information that can be used to identify an individual, including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, and cookies. The GDPR also applies to “sensitive” personal data, such as racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, and genetic or biometric data.
What Businesses Need to Do to Comply with GDPR
As you may have gathered, GDPR compliance is no small task. There are a lot of moving parts, and businesses need to take several steps to ensure they’re compliant. Here are some of the things businesses need to do to comply with GDPR:
Auditing data collection and storage practices
You need to audit your company’s data collection and storage practices to ensure they comply with GDPR requirements. This includes understanding what personal data you collect, where it’s stored, how it’s used, and who has access to it. You also need to ensure that personal data is accurate and up-to-date.
You will also have to clarify the reasons why your business needs to collect and store personal data. Under GDPR, businesses can only process personal data if they have a “legitimate interest” in doing so, as well as the individual’s consent.
Developing GDPR-compliant policies and procedures
You need to develop policies and procedures that comply with GDPR requirements, such as ensuring that personal data is only collected for specific, legitimate purposes; ensuring that personal data is stored securely; and ensuring that individuals can exercise their rights under GDPR.
You also need to develop procedures for handling data breaches, including notification procedures and processes for restoring lost data.
Reviewing your product and service design to incorporate GDPR requirements
You need to review your product and service design to ensure that GDPR requirements are baked into them. This includes ensuring that personal data is only collected when necessary, designing products and services with privacy in mind, and providing customers with clear and concise information about their rights under GDPR.
Changes to terms and conditions and other customer-facing documentation
You need to review and update your terms and conditions, as well as any other customer-facing documentation, to reflect GDPR requirements. This includes ensuring that customers are made aware of their rights under GDPR and specifying the legitimate interests for which you’re processing their data.
Designating a Data Protection Officer
GDPR requires businesses to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) if they process large amounts of personal data, if their core activities include processing sensitive personal data, or if they carry out regular monitoring of individuals on a large scale. The DPO is responsible for overseeing the company’s compliance with GDPR and ensuring that individuals’ rights are protected.
Appointing an EU representative
GDPR compliance requires a representative in the EU if your company is based outside the EU and processes the personal data of EU citizens. The representative is responsible for communicating with EU data protection authorities on behalf of the company.
Smaller businesses can contract an EU representative service to fulfill this requirement.
GDPR compliance can be a struggle for many businesses, but it’s also an opportunity to build trust with customers and improve your business’s data management practices. By taking the time to understand GDPR requirements and implementing changes to ensure compliance, you can position your business for success in the post-GDPR world. For more of the latest news and trends in the digital marketing world, visit our blog!