GDPR Compliance: A Step-by-Step Guide for Businesses

May 25,2018 proved to be an eye-opening moment for the online businesses because a privacy law named as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR Compliance) was introduced. There is still a lot of uncertainty and misunderstanding about the GDPR within businesses. 

Many people don’t understand the excitement and fear that has surrounded its debut and deployment. It’s important to remember that GDPR assessments affect a wide variety of parties, from multinational conglomerates like Facebook and Google to ordinary consumers throughout the world who shop online.

Positive Responses to GDPR Compliance

GDPR should be viewed positively, many businesses have taken on-board the GDPR requirements in a positive manner, reaching out for help with in-house security issues, going the extra mile to protect the data they process, ensuring third-party processing companies, affiliates, suppliers and contractors are fully compliant, reaching out also to their client base, letting them know they have:

  • updated their privacy and cookie policies,
  • ensuring their data subjects are entirely in the loop as to what is happening with their data and seeking consent where necessary,
  • carrying out legitimate interest in balancing exercises and,
  • where necessary seeking the assistance of data protection professionals where there is any doubt.

Don’t Ignore GDPR

However, recent reports have highlighted that many business owners continue to bury their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich when it comes to GDPR compliance! Some have taken a half-hearted approach without fully understanding the GDPR’s requirements for their organisations. Sadly, when this year is out, data protection authorities will be expecting complete adherence to GDPR regulations without any excuses.

Most data protection authorities we have spoken to are still willing to offer guidance in these early days without imposing strict requirements that will be expected in the future. Ignorance will not serve as a defence. Instead of jeopardising your business with the severe penalties that are enforced, it is ideal to invest time, effort, and budget into making significant strides toward achieving full GDPR compliance. After all, the GDPR’s confusion is to protect not only the rights and privacy of your data subjects but also the reputation and security of your organisation.

What do you need to do?

Get an action plan together right now, start with these necessary steps toward compliance and build on them as you get a better understanding of the GDPR.

We are here to help if you come across any problematic hurdles:

Step 1: Setting up a GDPR Compliance Team.

Set up a team depending upon your business, but ideally, you will have a cross-functional team to govern your organisation’s GDPR compliance journey.

Step 2: Identifying Your Data

Identify your data across all your servers and applications.Conduct an in-depth data analysis to enable you to manage and govern it correctly. Locate your historical data and decide what to do with it in line with the GDPR.

To be compliant you should be in a position to respond to any data inquiry and spot any breach immediately.

Step 3: Data Flow and Sharing

Know where data goes. With whom do you share your data? Are they fully compliant? Take advice if in any doubt at all, as data is the backbone of your organisation and the acute focus of the data protection authorities. 

Reckless data sharing or transferring with non-compliant data processing companies or third countries who are not correctly data compliant with the GDPR will get you into hot water. There are rules in place to adhere to. Take the advice in case of any doubt, if your business relies upon the transferring of data out of the EU.

Step 4: Enhancing Cybersecurity

Ensure your technology is innovative concerning cybersecurity and malware. IT departments should be looking at the highest level of security-relevant to your organisation and the data it handles.

Data protection tools such as encryption, pseudonymization, and data protection software, technology by design, rapid breach notification software.  So, speak to specialist data protection experts on ensuring robust technologies within your organisation.

Step 5: Handling Data Breaches

Know what to do in the event of a breach. Put together policies and procedures as well as regular team training related to the event of a data compromise incident.

Our blog “The lowdown on Data Breach Reporting” gives some great tips on what questions to ask and immediate action to take.  Most importantly know who your local data protection authority is, have their number on speed dial!

Target GDPR Compliance

Our six steps will help you with compliance and help you stay on top of your game. Therefore, burying your head in the sand and living on a hope and a prayer is not a strategy.  Protecting your business by being GDPR compliant will give you an extra advantage over competitors.  You are showing existing clients, potential clients, personnel, investors and stakeholders that you are a business to trust, applaud and appreciate.

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