A Quick Guide to GDPR Compliance

Protecting personal data has now become a major agenda for most companies today. And why wouldn’t they? A big amount of the important data we entrust companies are transferred to them digitally and we’re all aware of how systems, even the best ones, might be vulnerable to cyber-attacks that might not only steal your data but tamper them and use them for criminal activities as well. Among the many ways you can assure customers of your website’s safety is by complying to certain standards that are approved by the government as well as several data security authorities. One of these standards is GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

What is GDPR?

GDPR is a data privacy law implemented in the EU that helps and ensures that individuals are protected online. This regulation has made several efforts by enforcing data protection protocols and melding them with pre-existing laws to further solidify data protection. With the combination of pre-existing laws and the new digital laws they’ve created, society can benefit fully without having to worry about adjusting to modern laws and standards.

Is your company affected by GDPR?

Although the GDPR originated from the EU, it doesn’t mean that your company/website in the US or anywhere else in the world is safe from it. If your website collects data for various purposes such as conducting tests for statistical research, newsletter signups, data collection for purchases or downloads, then it still could be under the GDPR depending upon other factors. Even people not from the EU who visit your website also need protection provided under the GDPR. So although this data privacy law sounds like something that only protects EU citizens, even a connection to 1 person from the continent means compliance is mandatory.

How can you become GDPR compliant?

What does GDPR Compliance require and what does this mean for your business/website? Here’s a list of the main factors and changes you need to implement for conformity:

Know what “personal data” actually includes

Personal data is what anyone would imagine it is. It can be something that involves your name, email address, phone number, and sometimes even your password. Because of the sensitivity of this type of information, the GDPR has addressed attention for its protection. GDPR went from protecting basic EU citizen data to secure data specific to the “physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural, or social identity” of each person.

Ask website visitors for their consent for any data collection that may occur

Updating your website or app’s privacy policies is another way of explaining this second requirement. You may have already seen consent notices from most of the websites you visit nowadays and it probably doesn’t surprise you anymore. These notices will usually inform you what type of data you can expect them to request from you as well as why and how they need to collect it. Some websites will even tell you who can access the data you’ll share with them.

Give users their exclusive privileges

GDPR’s privileges are not only limited to protection, but to exclusive access and rights as well. Among these privileges include the EU users’ “right to be forgotten” which is exactly as is stated. If an EU user feels the need to ask the website authorities to remove his/her data from the website’s database for any legitimate reason, then the law dictates that the authorities must grant the user’s request. But if the reason behind the user’s data removal request contradicts the guidance stated by the law, the website authority can deny the request. An EU user may also be given access to their data within a reasonable amount of time. Because of this, it is suggested that website authorities have a technology to make the process behind data removal or viewing requests much easier. Among the most important privilege that users have is being informed when data breaches have occurred. No matter how discrediting, the website authority must inform the users who have entrusted them with their personal data about a data breach. This can help users to prepare on their side by watching for any illegal activities on their other accounts, such as their credit scores, e-mail and financial accounts.

Understand the gravity of GDPR negligence

Like any international law, ignoring the GDPR can land you into serious penalties which can often result in hefty fines. In the worst-case scenarios, the fines for GDPR negligence can cost up to $23 million USD. Each offense has a different value and it is not worth paying it if it can be avoided entirely through proper planning and overall compliance. Not only will the GDPR authorities fine you, but they may also strip off any data collection privileges from your company or restrict you from collecting data altogether.

The launch of GDPR has created a safer digital space not just for EU citizens, but for most of the world. By the strict laws they’ve implemented, the gray area in data protection has now been made less murky and more transparent. All you need to do now as a business is to comply fully and fairly not just to avoid any fines and penalties, but to help protect your users against unexpected cybercrimes that may affect their personal and professional lives and to build a more solidified foundation of trust between you and the users.