Small businesses are increasingly concerned with understanding and implementing GDPR nowadays. This is because this law affects how businesses handle the personal data of customers, clients and employees. The GDPR applies to any business that processes or stores personal data for EU citizens, regardless of size.
The EU implemented the GDPR in May 2018. While GDPR may seem difficult to implement, there are ways for businesses to adhere to the regulation and ensure compliance. It mainly regulates how businesses collect, handle, and protect the personal data of citizens’ data anywhere in the world. Furthermore, it ensures that the organizations have a clear and logical purpose for collecting the personal information of the citizen.
What is personal data?
Any information which can be used to identify a person directly or indirectly with some degree of accuracy can be called personal data. Some basic examples of personal data include full name, Gmail address, home address, cell phone number, location data, IP address, etc.
A person’s sensitive information includes religious beliefs, biometric data, genetic data, sexual orientation, political opinions, etc. This information falling into the hands of cybercriminals can result in identity theft, data loss, and fraud.
GDPR for Businesses
All businesses that process the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of EU residents must comply with the GDPR regulations. Thus, implementing security compliance solutions is critical for businesses to ensure GDPR compliance. By doing so, businesses can boost consumer confidence, which in turn, helps them thrive. In the past, many companies utilized clients’ data as a resource, disregarding individuals’ rights and making their data vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Moreover, businesses that fail to comply with the GDPR face severe financial penalties and legal consequences. By adhering to the GDPR, companies can gain their customers’ trust and loyalty. Additionally, GDPR compliance mitigates the risk of data breaches that can result in significant financial and reputational damage. Therefore, implementing security compliance solutions is crucial for businesses to comply with the GDPR and safeguard their customers’ data.
GDPR Compliance Strategy
The implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has mandated that all businesses storing and processing data must ensure their operations are compliant.
Companies must review their operations and update their processes to protect the privacy of individuals handling the data. A well-defined GDPR compliance strategy is essential for any business that collects, stores, or processes data about EU citizens.
A comprehensive GDPR compliance strategy begins with a thorough assessment of current policies and procedures and then moves on to identify any gaps in existing practices. It also involves creating new tools and technologies for managing customer information responsibly.
For example, companies should consider implementing measures such as encrypted file storage systems, role-based access controls, and secure user authentication systems to better protect sensitive customer information from unauthorized access or misuse. Using the best private internet browser can be another valuable addition to these security measures, ensuring that sensitive data remains confidential during online interactions.
As a small business owner, you must protect the rights of the people who provide you with their data. Following are some of the key principles of GDPR that you must add to your GDPR compliance strategy.
- Creating a Plan(Action)
- Establishing a Functioning(Processing) Register
- Demonstrating Proper Consent
- Managing Data Subject Access Requests
- Remediation of Vendor Risks
- Notification and Reporting of Data Breaches
Creating a Plan(Action)
Developing a strategy that meets GDPR requirements involves several steps.
- First, take the time to understand what data your organization collects and how it’s used.
- Next, consider how you can reduce the risks associated with storing this data.
- Finally, create policies and procedures for handling customer requests for their personal information.
Put together an action plan that outlines roles and responsibilities for implementing these changes to stay on track with GDPR compliance goals moving forward.
In other words, the first step towards creating a strategy is evaluating your organization’s existing privacy programs. Conduct a risk assessment and a readiness assessment. It is to identify the areas that are already adhering to the GDPR. And identify the areas which need improvement.
Establishing a Functioning(Processing) Register
The controllers must maintain a record of processing activities under Article 30 of the GDPR. Therefore, the company should establish a proper processing register to monitor how the data flows in the organization and see who is using it.
Demonstrating Proper Consent
Small businesses must demonstrate a business has obtained permission from information subjects through appropriate consent. The consent forms used in this process should not be misleading and be clear about what is required. The form must allow subjects to withdraw consent anytime they want. You must legally delete personal information from your database if a customer withdraws their consent.
Managing Data Subject Access Requests
As a small business, you should be prepared for the DSAR. One of the main rights that GDPR provides customers is to access, rectify, delete or export their data from the company’s database. It is up to the company how they choose to manage consumer requests for rights. It can be either automated or manual processing. There are the following steps in managing the DSAR:
- Submitting request
- Validating the customers
- Fulfilling the request
Customers could submit the request both manually and electronically. The request form should be brief and only gather important information to accomplish the request.
Validating the customers
Make sure to validate the request by having verification processes in place. This will ensure that the data is released to the person it actually belongs to.
Fulfilling the request
Small businesses must present the required information to the customers within a month of the initial request. According to the GDPR, small businesses can extend their fulfilment deadline to 90 days in case they receive excessive requests.
Remediation of Vendor Risks
Small businesses should establish processing agreements to ensure that they fulfil GDPR mandates. It is between data processors and controllers, according to Article 28 of the GDPR. This can be done by ensuring that the third-party vendors involved in business practices and processes meet a similar GDPR compliance bar.
This will require you to form a list of all the vendors that are receiving the data. Once all the data is in place, you can identify whether the vendor is a controller or a processor. The GDPR compliance strategy will be created by ensuring that both of parties have an action plan to prepare for the GDPR.
Notification and Reporting of Data Breaches
In case of a data breach, you must report to the supervisory authorities within 72 hours. Article four of the GDPR defines a data breach(personal) as a security breach. It includes the passive or deliberate destruction, loss, modification, unlawful disclosure, access, and personal data transferred, stored, or processed.
Small businesses must include the following four details in their data breach notification: breach nature, Name with contact details of the Data Protection Officer (DOP), The likely results of the breach, and Measures taken to reduce possible adverse effects of the breach.
General Data Protection Regulation is a complex legislation that small businesses must take seriously. It requires thorough preparation and understanding, but implementing the GDPR can help protect your business from costly legal measures while protecting customers’ data.
Small businesses can achieve GDPR compliance by educating themselves on the regulations and utilizing appropriate tools. GDPR, which grants individuals the power to govern their data usage by businesses, carries significant implications for small-scale enterprises.
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Muhammad is a freelancer writer based with 3 years of experience under his belt. He writes most often at home and at tech. When not writing, he enjoys reading and adventuring. Say hi on FB @abbasceey