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Cybercrime is more present now in the business world than ever. To protect the consumer, countries have introduced – and constantly update their privacy regulations. Today, if your company’s sales campaign doesn’t include GDPR compliance to meet the new standard, you are putting its reputation as well as finances at risk.
The European business market is one of the favorite territories of cybercriminals to do their crime. During the first half of this year, there were 4.5 billion personal records reported to be compromised in Europe alone, combined with 60,000 data breaches in EU businesses.
That’s what the GDPR is all about – to tighten the security of companies and ensure that consumer data is more protected. In this article, we’ll explore GDPR and the new standard, as well as the ways companies are working to meet it.
Understanding the GDPR
GDPR refers to the European General Data Protection Regulation, a privacy law applicable to businesses that operate on – or for the European Union market. This means that, even if your business isn’t based in the Union, you still need to be compliant with this law if you have a considerable number of EU customers.
The idea behind the law is to give consumers more control over how their personal information is used, and protect them from cybercrime.
Here’s what this law set in motion:
GDPR Compliance in a Box: 3 Steps All Businesses Should Follow
Companies are getting better at meeting the new standard. Here are the 3 best practices to use for GDPR compliance.
1. Invest in data mapping technology
Making sure that your customer’s data is secure is important not only for avoiding legal fines but also for your company’s reputation. To maintain compliance in their sales proposals and data collection practices, companies today use GDPR data mapping tools that automate and optimize the process.
Maintaining security to meet the new standard is not only hard to do manually – it is often impossible. It requires the work of sales departments and IT departments to try and oversee everything and even then, mistakes happen.
Companies that want to maximize compliance and meet the new standard often invest in data mapping tools like Osano. This allows them to keep track of the latest changes in the law and apply them to their processes instantly to avoid costly fees and prevent criminals from accessing the data.
Osano’s Data Discovery feature is simple to use. This AI-driven tool can collect and classify data almost instantly, including obscure and fragmented data that are otherwise hard to manage. It will swiftly and continuously go over your data to identify gaps and take necessary actions to keep your company GDPR compliant.
2. Identify the necessary changes for IT governance
The second step for EU companies is an IT assessment. Businesses today need to perform a mapping of areas within IT that are relevant based on GDPR. Since the law changes regularly, this is a repetitive step, one that should be done often.
When you’re checking your IT governance, ask yourself the following:
- Do my systems support consent forms, logs for tracking and processing data, secure data storage, and other formalities?
- Do I have routines for managing incidents?
- Are you reporting data breaches to the Data Inspection Board? (this is required by the privacy data laws)
Comparing your governance with the laws and standards will tell you what changes need to be made in your company. Based on this information, you can create a compliance action plan that works.
3. Establish a structure for compliance and governance
The first two steps both lead to this – a smart governance structure that will help you achieve compliance at all times. At this point, you should have the foundations for this structure and you can set up processes, systems, and principles that support GDPR compliance for your company.
A Short GDPR Compliance Checklist
To make your job easier, we also created a short compliance checklist that will help you meet the new standards on the EU market:
- Have a solid grasp of your data. Companies collect and store different types of data. If you want to be compliant, you need to always know what type of data you maintain in the company’s database. Do you store names and phone numbers, addresses and banking information, your customer’s age, their email address? Do you maybe store sensitive, “special category” information such as their health records and location?
- Take a look at your consent policy. One of the principles of the GDPR is for companies to request consent from consumers for using and storing their data. Review this policy regularly.
- Evaluate your security policies. In addition to the consent policy, make sure to continuously update your security policies and measures to reflect the new protocols of GDPR.
- Be prepared to report breaches. The law requires that companies report breaches to the country’s governing body within 72 hours. Make sure that the people in your company know this. This is one of the key tasks to outsource to remain compliant.
- Make sure that your supply chain is compliant. It won’t matter if your company is meeting the new standard if your partners aren’t doing the same. This still leaves your business at risk of cybersecurity threats.
- Draft a processing notice. Under this law, companies can be asked to describe how customer data is used. Be prepared in case this happens and have a processing notice that is clear and meets the requirements.
- Hire a Data Processing Officer if needed. Most small businesses don’t need a DPO, but if your company has large-scale data monitoring in place, you might be required to hire a DPO.
- Accommodate consumer requests for access. Under this law, your customers can request to access their personal data stored at your company, correct any discrepancies, or require that you erase it. Prepare to accommodate such requests.
- Put a data retention policy in place. GDPR states that you cannot hold on to personal data if it’s no longer necessary, or use it in a way that isn’t consistent with the purpose you expressed when you asked for consent. Make sure you have a policy in place about the timeframe for holding personal data.
Consent management and compliance
Consent is vital to compliance. If you want to stay compliant and avoid penalties, you should make sure that you get the consent of consumers before storing or using their personal information.
In other words, a target buyer must willingly and knowingly share their data with you for the purposes you stated. You cannot use their data for any other purposes without requesting explicit consent.
For example, if you want to send them email campaigns, you need to let the customer decide whether they want to opt-in and take part in your newsletter.
To do this right, follow our consent checklist:
- Check and fix your current practices for getting consent. These should meet the new standard at all times
- Make sure that all your consent requirements are clear and specific
- Name any third parties that might utilize the user’s information
- Give customers full control over their data – and a genuine choice
- Avoid pre-checked boxes on your opt-in forms
- Make it simple for customers to withdraw their consent if they decide to do so
- Keep the evidence of consent at all times
Is your company meeting the new standard?
Have you done everything from the checklists above and followed the 3-step procedure for GDPR compliance? If you missed a step, this puts you at risk of cybercrime and high penalties.
Customer data is more important than ever. Compliance with these regulations will keep your finances intact, but it will also tell your target audience that you’re a business worthy of their trust. If this is not a reason enough to try harder, what is?
What does GDPR stand for?
It stands for General Data Protection Regulation and refers to the European Union privacy law that was put into effect on May 25, 2018.
Is the GDPR the only privacy and security law in the world?
No. This is one of the strictest privacy and security laws in the world, but it’s not applicable in all countries and there are other privacy laws in the world.
What is the highest GDPR fine?
Under this law, the highest fine a company can pay to data protection authorities is $20,372,000 or 4% of the worldwide turnover – whichever is higher.
What are some other privacy and security laws aside from this?
Most countries in the world now have privacy laws in place. Some of the stricter and more popular are: California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA), and Canada’s Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA).
If my business is not in the EU, does it need to be GDPR compliant?
It depends. The law applies to organizations that handle EU customer data, even if they are not based in the Union.