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How To Ensure GDPR Compliance

GDPR compliance is vital for any organization that gathers data online. Here’s how you can keep your own organization compliant, safe, and trustworthy.
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How to Ensure GDPR Compliance

The GDPR, the European Union's 2018 privacy and data protection regulation, applies to any entity that processes EU individuals' personal data, regardless of the organization’s location. GDPR violations can result in data processing injunctions, data transfer suspensions, and fines of up to 20 million euros or 4% of annual global revenue. GDPR is influencing data protection strategies all across the world as a result of this. Although it can seem overwhelming, compliance with the GDPR doesn’t have to be scary.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at what the GDPR is, the best practices for compliance, and how Accountable HQ can help walk you through the process. 

What is the GDPR?

GDPR, also known as the General Data Protection Regulation, is a European Union law that took effect in May of this year. GDPR regulates how we can use, process, and keep personal data, which includes information about a live person who can be identified. It covers all EU organizations, as well as those that provide goods or services to the EU or monitor EU residents. The GDPR is significant because it establishes a uniform set of laws for all EU businesses to follow, ensuring a level playing field for businesses while also making data transfers between European Union countries faster and more transparent. It also gives residents of the EU more control over how their personal data is handled, empowering them.

Best Practices for Ensuring GDPR Compliance

Create a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) Before Starting Data Processing

The DPIA should indicate potential risks associated with the collection, use, and storage of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)I. This is an important part of the GDPR's privacy-by-design data handling approach. It's also a useful exercise for incorporating data privacy and security into system and operation design. Every department within an organization will process, manage, or use PII in different ways, so it will require input from the entire organization. Begin by charting the flow of data throughout the company, including where and how it is collected, how and where it is utilized, who has access to it, how, where, and for how long it is held, and whether it is ever moved to a third country or an international organization. While threat modeling will reveal the security risks associated with this data, a DPIA will also require an assessment of activities to evaluate the level of privacy risk and identify those that are high risk.

Have a Plan for Processing Data Subject Access Requests

Data Subject Access Requests (or DSARs) are a key part of GDPR compliance. A DSAR is a request made by an individual (also known as the data subject) to a company to learn what personal information about them has been collected, stored, and how it is being used. A DSAR can also be used by data subjects to request that certain actions be made with their data. Delete personal data, delete erroneous data, or opt-out of future data gathering are all examples of action requests. Anyone whose data is saved by an organization can submit a DSAR if a for-profit organization obtains personal data. Employees, contractors, suppliers, partners, and customers are all included. A request can be made by an individual or by a third party acting on their behalf. Organizations need to have a formal process in place for receiving, filing, managing, and responding to such requests.

Appoint a Data Protection Officer As Quickly as Possible

Organizations that process or manage considerable volumes of personal data are required to appoint a data protection officer who reports to the board of directors. The primary responsibility of the DPO is to guarantee that the organization handles the personal data of all data subjects, including workers, customers, providers, and others, in accordance with applicable data protection legislation. This includes informing the firm and its employees about compliance, training data processing staff, keeping track of all data processing activities, and conducting regular security audits. The DPO also serves as a liaison between the company and any regulatory bodies.

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Invest in Data Inventory Management

A data inventory, also known as a record of authority, aids in the mapping of how data is stored and shared by identifying personal data within systems. Privacy regulations such as the GDPR, CCPA, and CPRA establish data inventories. Understanding what information the company collects contributes to increased efficiency and transparency for everyone in the organization, therefore a data inventory is at the absolute most importance. The results of data inventory can also help with overall reporting, decision-making, and operational efficiency optimization. Organizations need a management plan in place to make data mapping easier and more efficient.

Know Your Terms and Concepts

Only a few instances exist where businesses do not process data at all. In most circumstances, various levels of important staff contact with customers' data, and as a result, they should be familiar with the General Data Protection Regulation. It's not a one-man show. Both technological and legal implementations are required. Understanding the words and essential paragraphs is a huge step toward compliance, and the easiest way to achieve that is to read the GDPR from cover to cover.

Prepare To Deal With Data Processing Agreements

A Data Processing Agreement (also known as a DPA) is a contract between a data controller, such as a firm, and a data processor, such as a third-party service provider, to handle personal data. It governs the processing of personal data for business purposes. When hiring a third party to process data on EU residents, organizations must first sign a GDPR data processing agreement. A DPA can nevertheless be beneficial for clarifying the terms of business with external data processors for organizations that do not deal with EU user data.

Look at What Other Vendors in Your Niche Are Doing for Inspiration

Because GDPR has no clear-cut requirements, the market will have to devise new strategies to ensure that data is protected while not jeopardizing user experience. Many organizations have introduced new features, so keep an eye on competitor websites for updates and best practices in your sector.

Focus on Disclosure Practices and Strategies That Work the Best With Your Website

Keep an eye on how personal data is transferred within your company. Ensure that your data processors will seek your permission before transferring data outside the EU or EEA. When data processors seek to subcontract a portion of their services, the same rules apply.

Staying Compliant with Help from Professionals

At Accountable HQ, we assist people with many of the aspects that help them ensure that they are GDPR compliant. In addition to implementing the steps we’ve mentioned in this guide, organization leaders can feel confident that they’ve achieved compliance by working with risk and compliance software. Whether you need to be HIPAA or GDPR compliant, our platform can make the process much easier. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how the Accountable HQ platform can be used for your unique needs.

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