How can your business be GDPR compliant?
Any business or organisation in the United Kingdom that sends or receives data from contacts in the European Economic Area is required to take reasonable steps to ensure that information can continue to flow from one end to the other and be GDPR compliant. The EU GDPR doesn’t apply in the UK following Brexit. Nonetheless, the high standards have already been incorporated into the national law, alongside the Data Protection Act 2018. There’s a UK-specific regime that works at present. It’s almost identical to the EU counterpart. More exactly, a website needs to obtain explicit consent from users before processing their personal data.
According to the experts at Data Breach Law, but that’s no excuse for ignoring data protection and privacy. You need to handle personal data carefully, regardless of whether it’s the data of your clients, personnel, or others. If a person has grounds for a claim, they won’t hesitate to bring the matter to the small claims court. It’s possible for someone to claim compensation if a business or organisation hasn’t respected the data protection law and they’ve suffered material and non-material damages. This is why it’s important to be proactive.
Being GDPR compliant isn’t just about fixing your site
It would be a mistake to think that all you have to do is make a couple of tweaks here and there and you’re all done. Being compliant with GDPR involves several responsibilities. Data protection is at the core of your organisation. There are very few situations in which you don’t need to process information. More often than not you interact with data, which requires technical and legal implementations. You’re responsible for transparency, data storage, data confidentiality, not to mention the accuracy of data collected and stored.
Regulators are able to impose huge fines if businesses refuse to comply with the law. To put it simply, if you don’t process information the right way, you’ll support the consequences. The Information Commissioner’s Office is in charge of upholding information rights in the public interest. Millions of pounds worth of penalties for data misuse were handed out last year alone. Interestingly, the most significant fine issued by ICO was to British Airways in the transport and leisure sector.
Review or define your data consent policy
- What data do you collect
- How do you collect it
- What you use the data for
- How do you keep it secure
- If you share data with third parties
- Who has control over it
Needless to say, the information should be presented in a concise, easy to understand language. Consent is the most appropriate lawful basis, so don’t neglect your obligations. Always seek permission from users prior to using their personal data. Just so you know, you can’t demand consent for data processing as a condition for using the service. Individuals should have the liberty to say no.
Maintain a record of processing activities
It’s recommended to keep a record of data processing activities for proof of consent. Have an account of how and why you process information. Specify who is involved, the categories of data involved, the aim of the data processing operation, for how long you’ve been retaining the information, and what security measures have been implemented. If your firm has fewer than 250 employees, it might not be necessary to maintain such a record. At any rate, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Choose a platform for all GDPR-related documents. For instance, you can use Google Drive. Equally, you can make folders on your internal company network.
If you need further guidance concerning data protection issues, consult the range of guidance published by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Given that data processing activities involve people across the organization, it’s important to identify those who play a key role in the process. Make them aware of the benefits for your company. People should have clear roles and responsibilities. In other words, they should know what is expected of them. They should coordinate their efforts and prevent the business from making mistakes.
Consider privacy when designing new products and services
Finally, yet importantly, it’s necessary to take privacy into account when coming up with new products and services. Despite the numerous data breaches in the past years, people are still willing to share their personal data. The focus should be on value exchange. You shouldn’t process more information than necessary. For example, if you have an app, it shouldn’t demand users’ location without good reason. Adhere to data protection and make sure it’s thoroughly integrated into the technology created. Consider privacy and data protection at the design phase of any system or service.
It’s paramount to take a proactive approach. Why deal with privacy issues when you can avoid them in the first place? Create a culture of privacy awareness in your organization. Put the necessary resources into a privacy program and the result will amaze you. Legal compliance is the result of this program, not the goal. Organizational culture starts at the top, which translates into the fact that getting leadership on board is of the essence. Each time you find an opportunity to talk about data privacy and data protection, take advantage of it. Don’t let any chance go to waste.
All in all, the United Kingdom won’t weaken the rules on data privacy any time soon. Economic actors must comply with the GDPR. Losing adequacy is out of the question. The law is set in place to protect individuals from the obtrusive surveillance and exploitation by corporations and the state alike. Because the UK is no longer part of the European Union, that doesn’t mean that businesses and organisations aren’t off the hook. It’s still necessary to maintain an adequate level of data protection.