There’s been a lot of talk about the GDPR even long before it was implemented, and it looks like many business owners and general consumers still don’t understand the full implications of the new regulations. It’s important to know what the law says about certain aspects of customer privacy and the way you’re handling data, otherwise you risk facing some severe fines and other issues with your company.
Preparing yourself for GDPR compliancy is not as scary as some people may make it out to be, but it does require a little forethought and having the right connections. A good criminal defense attorney can make all the difference if you face charges for failing to comply, so you should have one on speed dial even if you never need to use their services.
Reasons for Implementing
Why was the GDPR implemented in the first place? The EU Parliament wanted to create a more consistent, unified situation across all of its member states in order to ensure that the data of customers are adequately protected. It’s a set of tools that allow customers to have better control of their data, and to prevent certain issues with its misuse.
As a result, the internal EU market is said to have grown stronger, and certain procedures are now easier to handle, especially when it comes to the cooperation between different organizations from separate countries.
What You Need to Know
The GDPR came into effect on May 25, 2018, and all businesses have been required to fully comply with it since that date. It affects all organizations operating within the EU, as well as those outsides of the EU in cases where they provide services or products to EU citizens. Last but not least, even if your organization simply processes data for EU customers, but has no interactions with them otherwise, the GDPR still applies and has to be observed fully.
Keep in mind that the above applies even in cases where your company provides its products or services for free. You don’t have to be dealing with actual paying customers in order to be legally required to comply, so be careful about who you’re working with.
Preparing for GDPR compliance is not that complicated as long as you’re aware of the most important implications of the new regulations. First, you should identify all personal data that you’re storing for any customers that could be within the EU. You need to prove that you’re taking adequate measures to secure that data and to ensure that only authorized users are allowed to access it.
If data is to be transferred between facilities, this should be identified as well, and there are specific procedures that you are required to follow in those cases. You must also notify authorities of the intended duration which you plan to hold the data for. After that, you’re legally required to actually destroy it.
How Will It Impact You?
The GDPR’s impact on your business may be small or severe depending on your situation, and how much data you’re working with precisely. Keep in mind that the definition of “personal data” is actually quite broad and includes a variety of personal identifiers that you may normally not consider as such.
For example, things like someone’s SSN (or the equivalent in their country), or even their e-mail address, could be considered data that has to be treated in a special way under the GDPR. There are also some types of data that require a more sensitive approach, such as anything that could be used to identify a person on a genetic level. You have to be prepared to deal with some special requirements if you want to be fully compliant, and it may be difficult to ensure that you’re covering all your bases.
E-Mail and Other Services
If you’re dealing with e-mail on a regular basis, you should also ensure that you’re complying with all relevant GDPR regulations in that area. Remember that the EU can still enforce some of those rules against you even if you don’t operate within a European country, so be careful about your communications and where they’re going through. It’s entirely possible that you may be found in violation of the GDPR even without explicitly storing any customer data.
Don’t worry though – the bottom line is, all it takes is a little preparation and having the right contacts available. The rest comes down to doing your homework and reading up on new developments in the sector. GDPR may still have some evolving to do, and we’re likely going to see it going through some additional phases before it reaches a more stable state. Until then, we should all pay attention to how it’s progressing and the implications that this carries to our businesses in every possible aspect.
About Ruth Hoffman
Queen of Strategy And Sales Conversions: Helping Coaches & Professionals Transform Themselves Into A "Category of One". CEO of ruthhoffmann.com