As the world becomes digital, so does our personal data. Previously, we had little control over who could access information about us and minimal knowledge on what they would be using it for, but things are about to change.
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduces much needed data protection legislation which reflects the way companies use data in the internet age. Although its enforcement date, the 25th May 2018, may seem like a long way off, time is ticking for organisations to make the changes required to ensure they abide by the new laws.
Here’s everything you need to know about GDPR and steps you can take to make sure your business is compliant:
What GDPR Means
In a nutshell, GDPR provides greater data protection to all EU citizens, giving them more control over their personal data. The result of four years of discussions, GDPR empowers EU citizens with several new rights, including the ability to access and withdraw their personal data, for increased security.
The European Commission defines personal data as: “any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer’s IP address.”
The legislation also means that organisations will no longer be able to collect data without good reason (no more spammy email marketing if you haven’t opted to receive it) and they must be able to prove they are doing everything possible to protect the data they hold. The new data privacy laws will enable greater all-round transparency, with organisations explaining exactly what data they are gathering, how it will be used and deleting it accordingly at the subject’s request.
Every company that uses personal data from EU citizens is obligated to comply with GDPR, regardless of where they’re based. Those who don’t comply face eye-watering penalties such as fines of up to €20 million or 4% of their global annual turnover.
Why GDPR is Important?
With Europe being the world leader in data privacy, GDPR is considered one of the most important pieces of legislation worldwide. Expected to set global trends for data protection law, GDPR will ultimately influence the way sensitive information is managed across the globe.
Current legislations are out of touch and were put into place long before the internet created new ways of exploiting personal data. GDPR seeks to improve data protection and, with such heavy consequences for those who don’t comply, strengthen trust among organisations and EU citizens.
As the world goes digital, cyber crime is also on the rise – a recent study found that hackers attack every 39 seconds! If the recent NHS cyber attack taught us anything, it’s that cyber crime is a very real threat which carries very severe consequences. Although cyber crime is considered the responsibility of a business owner, GDPR will enforce strict legislation on the use of data and, as such, offer protection to personal data against cyber attacks.
How to Prepare for GDPR
As the saying goes, fail to prepare and prepare to fail. Now is the time to start making sure you’re fully compliant before the new legislation comes into effect. Begin with the most important bits first – here’s four key steps to get you started:
- Equip Your Team with Knowledge:
Make sure the right people have the right knowledge. They need to have a strong understanding of how, when and why the law is changing, alongside the impact it will have on your business. In the event of a data breach, will they be confident enough to detect, report and resolve it?
- Establish a Risk Assessment Framework
Managing data privacy and ensuring complete compliance often comes as the result of an in-depth risk assessment framework. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) suggests detailing all operational processes and purposes, along with an assessment of all potential risks, to cover you for every eventuality.
- Identify if You Need a Data Protection Officer
In cases where organisations regularly monitor large scale, or sensitive or special categories of data (i.e relating to criminal convictions or sexual orientation), they may be required to designate a data protection officer. Consider if this applies to you as it will be the responsibility of this person to ensure full data protection compliance and governance.
An Opportunity to Improve Data
Whilst you’re revisiting your data for GDPR purposes, it’s also a great opportunity to ensure you’re getting the best value possible from it. We can help optimise your business intelligence (BI) and make sure that, as well as being GDPR compliant, you’re only managing the data you need to. We’re happy to help improve your BI project delivery and give your team the knowledge needed to get the right information, and to use it the right way, to achieve your business goals.
If you need a hand turning data into purposeful information, or need some GDPR advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 44 (0)20 3824 2338 or 01392 241 214, or you can email us and we’ll get straight back to you.
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