GDPR explained: What you need to know to protect your personal data

GDPR explained: What you need to know to protect your personal data

GDPR explained: What you need to know to protect your personal data

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of regulations designed to protect the personal data of individuals within the European Union (EU). It was implemented in May 2018 and has had a significant impact on how organizations collect, process and store personal data.

Main components of GDP

The GDPR includes several core components that organizations must adhere to in order to protect personal data:

  1. consent: Organizations must obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting their personal data. This consent must be free, specific, informed and unambiguous.
  2. Access right: Individuals have the right to access personal data that organizations hold about them. They can request a copy of their data and learn how it is used.
  3. Right to erasure: Also known as the “right to be forgotten”, individuals can ask organizations to delete their personal data if there is no compelling reason to retain it.
  4. Data transfer capability: Individuals have the right to request their personal data in a machine-readable format so that they can transfer it to another organisation.
  5. Data breach notification: Organizations must notify the competent supervisory authority of a data breach within 72 hours of becoming aware of it. They must also inform affected individuals if the violation is likely to seriously jeopardize their rights and freedoms.

Who does the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) apply to?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to organizations that process individuals’ personal data within the European Union, regardless of whether the organization is based within the European Union or not. This means that any organization that collects or processes the personal data of EU residents must comply with the regulations.

Steps to protect personal data

There are several steps organizations can take to protect individuals’ personal data in line with the GDPR:

  1. Data inventory: Organizations should conduct a comprehensive inventory of the personal data they collect and process, including where it is stored and how it is used.
  2. Data reduction: Organizations should only collect and process personal data that is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used. They should also regularly review and delete data that is no longer required.
  3. Privacy by design: Organizations should integrate privacy and data protection into the design and development of their systems, rather than adding it as an afterthought.
  4. Data security: Organizations must implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the security of personal data, including encryption, access controls, and regular security assessments.
  5. Training and awareness: Organizations should provide training to employees on GDPR compliance and data protection best practices. They must also raise awareness among individuals about their rights and how their data is used.

Consequences of non-compliance

Failure to comply with the GDPR can result in severe penalties for organizations, including fines of up to 4% of their annual global turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater. This has led many organizations to take GDPR compliance seriously and invest significant resources to ensure they comply with the regulations.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has fundamentally changed the way organizations collect, process and store personal data. By implementing key components of the GDPR and taking steps to protect personal data, organizations can ensure they comply with the regulations and avoid potentially serious consequences of non-compliance.

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