Europe has consolidated its position as the global leader in protecting consumer privacy. Its digital strategy offers opportunities and challenges, yet regulations must continue evolving, and organisations must remain aligned with the regulatory process. Countries worldwide struggle to update their data legislation to align with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the most uncompromising data privacy and security law. Speaking of which, any business that sells or targets European consumers must comply with the legislation regardless of where it’s based.
The GDPR was implemented in May 2018 to replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive. As the Internet is now commonplace, it’s only normal to have benchmarks adapted to a more connected world where information acts as a form of capital. Several years into the GDPR’s implementation, the landscape has changed significantly. Data privacy at big tech companies is still a mystery; smaller companies must change their behaviours and improve their data handling. Even now, consumers still fear their online data isn’t secure, believing organisations aren’t honest about how they use their data and don’t care if they’re in breach of GDPR laws.
The Benefits of GDPR Compliance Are Numerous, As Follows
Businesses in all member states must comply with the GDPR, which can be a burdensome requirement due to the complexity of the information that is provided. Let’s not forget that the EU law is 100 pages long and contains legal jargon. This isn’t an issue for companies with dedicated legal teams, as it’s easy to digest, but it’s a completely different story for small to medium-sized companies without in-house legal counsel. The GDPR is a blessing, not a burden, because it streamlines and enhances core business activities. Check out the key benefits of being GDPR-compliant.
The GDPR covers fundamental principles like truthfulness, data minimisation, integrity, confidentiality, and accountability, to name but a few. If you prove you follow the aforementioned precepts in determining adequate levels of data protection, you can gain trust and credibility from your customers. In other words, you can enjoy an advantage over your non-compliant competitors. Look at GDPR as an opportunity to boost consumer confidence, increase trust, and develop a better relationship with the public. Addressing people’s major concerns will make them less likely to be pushed below the confidence boundary by one negative experience.
Ensuring rigorous data security policies and procedures are in place reduces reputational risk. Harm to your reputation may be just the beginning of your troubles. Regrettably, no company is immune to the possibility of a lawsuit; even the most prepared ones are at risk. Consumers are entitled to claim compensation if you haven’t respected the regulation on data protection and they’ve sustained material damages, e.g., financial loss, or non-material damages, i.e., distress, as a result. If you still don’t believe it, you’ll find all the details in this link: https://www.databreachcompensationexpert.co.uk/data-breach-compensation/. The lawsuit will affect your company by declining its value, driving down sales, and even causing the business to fail.
The GDPR gives people enforceable rights – the right to access, rectification, and erasure, not to mention the right to object and transfer data to another organisation. Information is easily accessible in a clear and concise format. The GDPR is a principle-based system, so ask yourself if what you’re doing sits within the spirit of the data privacy and security law. Ensure the data you collect is needed to answer questions, examine business performance, and predict future trends/actions/scenarios. Simply put, ensure data is of the highest quality and efficiency is applied to storage, access, filtering, sharing, etc.
Follow This GDPR Compliance Checklist to Assess Your Current Status
Being GDPR-compliant translates into adhering to rules to keep personally identifiable information safe and secure while offering individuals more control over accessing their data and understanding how it’s used. These are the areas you must focus on in your efforts.
Appoint A Data Protection Officer
The applicable regulation requires you to appoint a Data Protection Officer, who is responsible for overseeing the organisation’s data protection strategy (and its implementation), and guaranteeing compliance with GDPR requirements. You must appoint a DPO even if your business is located outside of Europe. They serve as an intermediary between you and the supervisory authorities, educate employees on important compliance requirements, and maintain records of all data processing activities.
Instantly Report Data Breaches
In case you didn’t already know, you must report data breaches to the supervisory authorities but no later than 72 hours after becoming aware of it. The supervisory authorities are located in the state where your organisation is based. If the risk is unlikely to happen, you don’t have to report the incident, but you must record it.
Review The Data You Have on Minors
Minors have the same rights as adults over their personal data, so if you collect information about children, you must obtain parental/guardian consent to process the data in a way that’s recognised by the law. Information addressed should be adapted to be easily accessible, using plain language. The age threshold for obtaining consent can be between 13 and 16 years.
Be Transparent About Data Collection Motives
To build trust, you must be transparent about the information you gather and offer people value in exchange for it. Obtain acknowledgement at the data collection point, that is, before the data is collected; common locations that display data collection notifications are website forms and cookie collection notices. Customers’ willingness to give up data will depend on how you go about the relationship.
Wrapping It Up
Evaluate your customer data practices and ensure data management is secure. In 2023, you can expect high expectations for data handling, including the adequate protection of sensitive data.