May 2018 will be here before you know it, and that means your business needs to be ready to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This regulation was approved by the European Union (EU) Parliament in April 2016 and will begin to be enforced May 25, 2018. The regulation matters to any company anywhere in the world that stores or processes data of people who live in the EU. Companies that aren’t in compliance will face hefty fines – up to $24 million (20 million euros) or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher. The intent of this legislation is to protect the data privacy for EU citizens and create consistent data privacy laws across Europe. You’re ahead of the game if you’re already complying with the Data Protection Act (DPA), the predecessor to the GDPR. Here’s what every business needs to know about the new elements of GDPR.
Review the GDPR and Assess Its Implications for Your Company
Every company should familiarize itself with the elements of the GDPR and make note of the changes that might have the biggest impact on your organization. Since the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is working closely with trade associations and representatives of various industries, these entities will become an important resource for companies in each industry to help navigate the GDPR changes that are critical to them.
Highlights of Key Changes
Every organization should assign responsibility to someone on its team to read the provisions of the GDPR to become familiar with the requirements and how they pertain to your specific circumstances. However, here are a few key changes:
- Regardless of where your company is located and processes data, you are still required to comply with the regulation.
- Penalties for noncompliance apply to controllers and processors, and a breach of the regulation can cost a maximum fine of 4% of annual turnover or up to 20 million pounds, whichever is greater.
- There are new strict parameters for getting consent to use data that requires an intelligible and easily accessed form that uses clear and easy-to-understand language. Withdrawing consent must be equally easy.
- Breach notification needs to be done within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach.
- The right to be forgotten allows for individuals to request their personal data be erased, stop dissemination of the data and halt third parties from processing the data.
- The GDPR allows the individual to request and receive his or her personal data and transmit it to another data controller.
- Although the privacy of design provision has existed for years, the GDPR makes it a legal requirement that data protection must be considered when designing a system and not an addition or afterthought.
- Some companies will be required to appoint a data protection officer (DPO).<.li>
What Should You Do to Get Ready for the GDPR?
1. Assess what needs to be done in your organization: Review the requirements of GDPR to understand the implications for your organization and be sure to update decision makers about what changes need to be made. For some organizations, changes will need to be made that impact several departments, so the sooner you get everyone on board, the better.
2. Conduct an information audit: Audit what personal data you collect and store, where it came from and with whom you share it. One of the requirements of the GDPR is to record your processing activities and have effective policies and procedures in place.
3. Update your privacy notices: Most likely, you will need to update how you communicate to your customers how you will use any personal data you collect to be compliant with GDPR. In addition, your privacy notice needs to explain the lawful basis for processing personal data.
4. Data portability: Since many of the individual rights outlined in GDPR already exist with the DPA, if you are already following those requirements, there shouldn’t be a significant amount of effort necessary to comply with the new regulations. However, this does offer a good time for you to review your current procedures to be sure that everything is covered. Also, the data portability component is new, so consider how your systems would handle an individual’s request to get his or her data in a commonly used and machine-readable form.
5. Access requests: Verify that you can accommodate the new mandates about dealing with data access requests in 30 days.
6. Consent: Review these detailed instructions on consent provided by the ICO. These instructions cover how you seek, record and manage consent. Consent is not assumed from silence or inactivity; it must be verifiable.
7. Children’s data: The GDPR outlines special protections for children’s data, so consider if your systems are accurately verifying ages and getting parental or a guardian’s consent for children before processing data.
8. Data breaches: How would you handle a data breach in your organization? Now is the time to consider your current process and compare what you do with the requirements of the GDPR.
There has been some confusion around this new regulation, and some company leaders have been overwhelmed. The sooner you get your arms around the specific details that will impact your organization, the better you will be in May.
Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling business author, keynote speaker and strategic advisor to companies and governments. He is one of the world’s most highly respected voices anywhere when it comes to data in business and has been recognized by LinkedIn as one of the world’s top 5 business influencers. You can join Bernard’s network simply by clicking here, explore his website here: bernardmarr.com, or follow him on Twitter @bernardmarr