What GDPR means for businesses: A comprehensive breakdown
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in European Union law regarding the data protection and privacy of all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the European Union and European Economic Area. The GDPR aims primarily to give individuals control over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying regulations within the European Union. As a business owner, it’s important to understand what GDPR means for your business and how it could impact your operations.
Basic principles of GDP
The GDPR is based on a number of basic principles that companies must adhere to:
- Legitimacy, justice and transparency: Companies must process personal data lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner.
- Purpose limitations: Personal data must be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes, and not processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes.
- Data reduction: Companies must only collect and process personal data that is necessary for the intended purpose.
- Accuracy: Personal data must be accurate and updated when necessary.
- Storage limits: Personal data shall be retained in a form allowing the identification of data subjects for no longer than necessary.
- Integrity and confidentiality: Companies are responsible for ensuring the security of personal data and protecting it from unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage.
Impact on companies
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a significant impact on how companies collect, process and store personal data. Some of the key areas where companies need to make changes include:
- consent: Companies need to obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting their personal data. This means no pre-checked boxes or implied consent.
- Data Protection Officer (DPO): Some companies will be required to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to oversee data protection efforts and ensure compliance with the GDPR.
- Data breach notification: Businesses are required to report certain types of data breaches to the appropriate authorities within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach.
- Access right: Individuals have the right to request access to their personal data and learn how it is used by the Company.
- The right to be forgotten: Individuals can request that their personal data be erased from company records under certain circumstances.
Ensuring GDPR compliance requires companies to take a number of steps, including:
- Set data: Businesses need to map all the data they collect, process, and store to understand where it comes from, where it goes, and how it is used.
- Privacy Impact Assessments: Businesses may need to conduct privacy impact assessments to identify and mitigate data protection risks related to their activities.
- Updated policies and procedures: Companies need to update their privacy policies and procedures to comply with GDPR requirements, including how to obtain consent, handle data breaches, and respond to data subject requests.
- Training and awareness: Employees need to be educated about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and their responsibilities in protecting personal data.
Penalties for non-compliance
Companies that do not comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can face heavy fines. The maximum fine for the most serious violations is €20 million or 4% of global annual revenue, whichever is higher. In addition to financial penalties, companies can also suffer reputational damage and loss of customer trust if they are found to be non-compliant.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents a major shift in the way companies handle personal data. It puts the rights of individuals at the forefront and requires companies to be more transparent and accountable in their data processing activities. While GDPR compliance may seem daunting, it also represents an opportunity for businesses to build trust with their customers and strengthen their data protection practices. By understanding the core principles of the GDPR, making the necessary changes to their operations, and ensuring compliance, companies can mitigate the risks of non-compliance and demonstrate their commitment to protecting personal data.