The General Data Protection Regulation has been impacting data strategy in the EU and beyond since 2018. GDPR gives individuals more control than ever over how their data is used and stored by businesses. This means that businesses have to be more vigilant than ever over what data they collect, how they store it, and who has access to it. Businesses that don’t adhere to GDPR requirements face steep fines that start at €20M. 

There are a number of ways the GDPR will have a significant impact on your data strategy that you need to be prepared for. In order to be in compliance, you need to have legal grounds for processing personal data and be very transparent about what you are collecting and why you are collecting that data. Businesses can only collect personal information for a very specific purpose and not use it for any other purpose. 

How GDPR Affects Your Data Strategy

Compliance with the GDPR is more than about avoiding stiff monetary penalties. Companies that voluntarily comply with all the requirements of the GDPR show themselves as champions of cutting-edge data security. They demonstrate that they want to be advocates for consumer privacy. 

When you are looking to update your data strategy to be GDPR compliant, you need to focus on four areas:

Legal Basis and Transparency

The first area you need to focus on is establishing the legal basis for your data collection and processing and ensuring that these activities are made transparent in your privacy policies. An information audit can help ensure that you are meeting these requirements. In your audit, you should include: the purposes of the processing, what kind of data you process, who has access to it in your organization, any third parties (and where they are located) that have access, what you’re doing to protect the data (e.g. encryption), and when you plan to erase it (if possible).

Data Security

The GDPR’s main goal is to ensure that business takes the viewpoint of “data protection by design and default.” As such, it’s important to understand how your data collection and storage practices could put your customers’ data at risk and how to minimize those risks. GDPR compliance requirements also mandate that you ensure that all data is anonymized whenever possible. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) also recommends conducting a data risk assessment whenever you plan to process consumer data in order to understand and limit the risks that could arise. 

Accountability and Governance

The GDPR includes strict requirements for data protection and security. It also includes strict requirements to ensure that businesses hold themselves accountable to those requirements. You are responsible for ensuring that your data security practices meet all of the GDPR requirements. This includes hiring or appointing a Data Protection Officer and ensuring that all third-party data processors are GDPR compliant. 

Privacy Rights

Once you have your data security policies in place, it’s time to revisit how easy it is for your customers to request and revise the information you have collected from them. The GDPR states that they have a right to know how long you plan to store their information and the reason for keeping it that length of time. If you make decisions based on automated processes, you also need to make it easy for people to request human intervention, to weigh in on decisions, and to challenge decisions you’ve already made.

Your GDPR Compliance Checklist

Once you have an understanding of how these new regulations are going to impact your data strategy, it’s time to make sure your new plans meet the GDPR requirements. Here are the questions you need to ask in order to ensure your data strategy is in compliance.

Legal Basis and Transparency

  • Do you know what information you collect and process?
  • Do you know who has access to that information?
  • Do you have a legal justification for your data processing activities?
  • Does your privacy policy provide clear information about your data processing activities and the legal justification for them?

Data Security

  • Do you have a plan for data protection from the moment you begin a project to each time you process data?
  • Do you encrypt, anonymize, or pseudonymize collected data whenever possible?
  • Have you created an internal security policy and worked to raise awareness among your team about new data security policies?
  • Do you know when to conduct a data impact assessment and have a process in place to carry it out?
  • Do you have a policy in place to notify the authorities and your customers in the event of a data breach? 

Accountability and Governance

  • Is there someone in your organization that is responsible for GDPR compliance?
  • Do you have a signed data processing agreement with any third parties that process data for you?
  • If your organization is headquartered outside of the EU, do you have an appointed representative in the EU member states in which you operate?
  • Do you have an appointed Data Protection Officer if you need one?

Privacy Rights

  • Is it easy for your customers to request and receive all the information you have about them?
  • Is it easy for your customers to update inaccurate or incomplete information?
  • Is it easy for your customers to request to have their data deleted?
  • Is it easy for your customers to ask you to stop processing their data?
  • Is it easy for your customers to receive a copy of their personal data in a format that can be easily transferred to another company?
  • Is it easy for your customers to object to you processing their data?
  • Do you have a procedure to protect people’s rights if you make decisions based on automated processes?

Conclusion

There is a lot to take into consideration when you are in the process of bringing your data security practices up to GDPR compliance. It can seem overwhelming and often be hard to know where to begin. 

When the stakes are as high as €20M, it’s important to get it right the first time. Additionally, research shows up to 66% of businesses will not deal with those businesses who do not demonstrate clear compliance procedures, especially those with procurement teams. To keep growing your business and keep customers and regulators happy, it’s important to be able to demonstrate that you are in GDPR compliance. 

Luckily, we can help. iCaas’ state-of-the-art GDPR compliance software that ensures that your business is GDPR compliant in as little as 48 hours. Getting on board with GDPR isn’t just about compliance, it’s about using data to gain the competitive advantage in your marketplace. It’s about commercial growth. It’s about winning the next sale. 

iCaaS software makes it easy, quick, simple and takes the burden out of your hands. Shortcut the pain, avoid the jargon, and get ahead of the rest.