Understanding GDPR Compliance & Its Impact on Your Business

Remember the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal? The public was shocked to find out how Cambridge-Analytica had harvested the personal data of millions of users of the social media platform, with no consent from them, and used it for the purpose of political advertising. This was a major data breach involving the personal data of millions of people and it made people seek stricter laws for protecting their privacy and use of their personal data by companies with whom they shared their data online. This made GDPR rise into prominence and it was enforced on 25th May 2018 by the European law. Let us take a closer look at GDPR, what it stands for and how you can make your business GDPR compliant.

What is GDPR
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and is a set of data privacy laws set out by the European Union (EU), with UK also being a part of it. According to GDPR, any website or business that collects data of EU and UK citizens, are not allowed to use this data for their benefit. In other words, the business or website is not allowed to share the data with any third party without the consent of the users.

GDPR has defined provisions that makes it mandatory for businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of citizens of the EU and the UK for business transactions taking place within the EU member states, as well the exporting of personal data of the users outside of the EU. It is important to note that the same set of regulations apply to all the 28 member states of the EU. However, the standards have been set quite high, which means businesses need to make efforts to ensure complete compliance.

Even if your business is based outside of the EU, say in the United States, the GDPR laws apply to you every time you deal with the data of EU citizens, and should your business fail to comply, you’ll be liable to pay a hefty fine.

What Data is Covered by GDPR
Now, when we say GDPR covers the personal data and privacy of users of the EU, it helps to know precisely the kind of data that is covered by the regulations. So, here goes…

  • Name, address, email ID and other basic information about the identity of the individual.
  • IP address, location, cookie data and other miscellaneous information collected online by websites and apps.
  • Views shared on social media on politics and other topics.
  • Ethnic or racial data
  • Biometric data
  • Sexual orientation
  • Health records and medical information

Impact of GDPR on Your Business
Moving on to how GDPR can affect your business, the laws can affect your business in one of the following 2 scenarios:

  1. Your business is based in the EU.
  2. Your business is based outside of EU but you have clients or customers based in the EU.

So, basically, any business or website that collects and processes personal data of EU citizens residing within the EU, even if the business is based outside of the EU, comes under GDPR policies and is required to have a GDPR compliant website. Interestingly, a survey by PwC indicates that more than 90% of companies in the United States are focusing on GDPR as a priority. The sectors that are most affected include technology, ecommerce, software, finance and retail.

The GDPR regulations would require businesses to change the way they store, process and protect the personal data of clients and customers.

Implications of Non-Compliance
Now that we have learnt about the significance of GDPR, let’s move on to know how your business might be affected on the event of non-compliance of the regulations. If you fail to comply, your business stands at the risk of being imposed the steep penalty amounting up to €20 million or 4 per cent of the global annual turnover of the business, whichever is greater.

Making Your Business GDPR Compliant
Lastly, we move to the big question: How to Make Your Business GDPR Compliant? For this, your business needs to take the following measures:

  1. Ensure you have the explicit consent of your clients and/or customers for every data that you collect through your website and store in your database, which you intend to use for marketing purpose. Implement this by adding a checkbox on the page they enter their data, so that they can check the box should they want to give consent. Also ensure data of users who haven’t given their consent, is never used.
  2. Make changes in your privacy policy so that it reflects the GDPR policies and mentions that your products and/or websites are GDPR compliant.
  3. Up the game when it comes to the security of your website, so that hackers cannot steal your users’ data. In case a breach occurs, make sure you keep your users informed that their data has been tampered with.  Keeping them in the dark about their data is not recommended and can lead to a fine being imposed. GDPR laws state that you have 72 hours to inform your users about a data breach incident.
  4. Cookies collect user data of users who visit your website. Hence, to make sure you have your users’ permission before collecting and storing their data, add a cookie pop-up on your website.
  5. Review and accept the terms of service mentioned under the Data Retention Terms of Service released by Google in response to GDPR.

The Final Word
At the end of the day, the purpose of GDPR is to make users feel safe when it comes to their personal data. Also, the measures taken to implement GDPR can make your business build a stronger approach to data security. Moreover, it also offers your business a competitive advantage as your clients and customers will find it easy to build trust with your business.

Write a comment
Cancel Reply