Seven Steps Towards GDPR Compliance

It’s been a while since GDPR came into effect on May 25, 2018 which is one of the greatest initiatives to safeguard private data of individuals and thereby strengthening the data protection practices. This regulation is not just applicable to businesses of the European Union (EU) but also the businesses across the globe who handle data of customers/individuals residing in the EU.

Every business is different. In general, most of the businesses regardless of its size are involved in handling data by taking into account past and present employees, clients, third-parties, customers or anyone associated with the business.

An organisation which fails to comply with GDPR risks hefty penalties which could be up to €20 Million or 4% of annual global turnover.

Before we turn to the aspects of GDPR compliance, it is very important that you create Fair Processing Notices (FPN). According to this regulation, you are required to keep your customers or those who are associated with your business notified about what you will be doing with their data.

Here are 7 key steps to keep in mind towards being a GDPR compliant organisation.

  1. Scrutinise the data: Know your data and dive deeper into the details. Identifying and classifying a data as ‘personal’ (name, address, email, and bank details etc.) or ‘sensitive’ (religion and health information etc.) is the first and foremost thing to do in data protection practices.
  2. Restrict the access: Choose a place to store all the personal data securely such that it’s inaccessible to anyone but the person responsible for it. Determine who can access the personal data and who can process or share it.
  3. Encrypt all the personal data: Encryption could be one of the best ways to avoid the risk of huge penalties that come with an incident of a data breach.
  4. Train your staff: Train all your employees to create an awareness about the importance of data protection. Ensure that they understand what constitutes personal data and risks involved once it’s breached. It is important that individuals who are associated with your business must be sensitized about the reporting procedures that they must report a data breach incident only to the DPO or a designated person responsible for data protection compliance. The event must be reported within 72 hours of the incident.
  5. Audit: Determine the risks. Look deep into your security measures and policies and update them to be GDPR compliant. Conduct audits to evaluate the risks and document them. Review the policies and security measures to ensure that all personal data of all employees, clients, and third-parties are secure. Also, conduct due diligence to ensure that all clients and third-parties are GDPR compliant to avoid being impacted by any consequences of data breach and penalties.
  6. Erase unnecessary data: Knock-off what is not necessary. After a certain timeframe, it is advisable to erase all the personal data if it is not required. Example, personal data of job candidates should be erased when it is no longer necessary. Furthermore, you need to understand that individuals have the right to have their personal data erased. Hence, you must ensure to address the requests of ‘Right to Erase’ when asked by a person.
  7. Appoint DPO: Depending on the size of your organisation you can decide whether to employ a Data Protection Officer (DPO). The role of a DPO would be to monitor the internal compliance and evaluate Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs). Most small businesses will exempt employing a DPO while businesses that handle ‘personal or sensitive data’ on a large scale where a regular monitoring is required must consider employing a DPO.

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