General Data Protection
Regulation (GDPR)

Data is of particular value to everyone, including organizations. From marketing to various other purposes, organizations have long since been collecting user data. 

However, the rising information exchange and data monitoring have long since been a concern for multiple privacy advocates. In addition to that, data breaches and incidents like Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica case made it necessary to have a controlling body and specific guidelines, like GDPR.

What is the GDPR?

The General Data Protection and Regulation, or GDPR, is a legal framework containing guidelines for the collection and processing of EU citizens. The GDPR appeared in 2018 to “harmonize” data privacy laws throughout all of its member countries.

The GDPR exists as a framework for laws across the European continent which was previously reliant on the 1995 Data Protection Directive. The legal framework ensures better protection and rights to individual EU citizens. Moreover, the GDPR helps regulate how businesses and other organizations handle user and client data. Anyone breaching the GDPR rules has to face significant fines along with reputational damages.

With the advent of GDPR, countries in Europe could develop various laws as per their own needs. One such example is the formation of the Data Protection Act (2018) in the UK, which superseded the previous 1998 Data Protection Act.

So far, organizations recognize the GDPR as one of the most superior data protection and regulatory frameworks, recognized as a dynamically progressive approach to handling an individual’s personal information. For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act follows the GDPR model.

What are the seven principles of GDPR?

The GDPR contains seven critical principles at its core that are all mentioned in detail within Article 5 of the legislation. These seven principles are lawfulness, fairness, transparency, data minimization, purpose limitation, accuracy, storage limitation, and accountability. 

The design for each of the mentioned principles primarily imposes data privacy and regulation for EU citizens. Such as the data minimization principle is intended to control the amount of information an organization can collect from its users. Moreover, the principal deems it necessary for the organization to mention the need and the use of the data it collects from the users. 

There is also an “integrity and confidentiality” principle with the GDPR that imposes data security for EU citizens. It highlights how organizations must protect personal information against” unauthorized or unlawful processing,” which also covers accidental loss, destruction, or damage. The principle helps ensure that the organizations impose proper information security. The GDPR protects the following types of data :

  • Personally identifiable information including addresses, names, date of births, social security numbers.
  • Health (HIPAA) and genetic information 
  • Biometric data 
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Political opinions 
  • Racial and ethnic data 
  • Web-based information, including IP address, cookies, and RFID tags

 

The GDPR allows the EU citizen two significant rights over their data. First off is the right of erasure, enabling individuals to request the removal or erasure of their data from an organization’s database. Apart from that is the right of portability that requires organizations to be clear on justification and consent. 

Who does the GDPR apply to?

Although the GDPR came up to impose uniform data protection across Europe, it has a global impact. The GDPR applies to:

  • Any organization processing personal data as part of its activities in one of its branches located in the EU 
  • Organizations located within the EU 
  • A company established outside of the EU offering goods or services to EU citizens. 

 

The GDPR applies to organizations irrespective of their size. Any organization processing or handling GDPR identified personal information would have to comply with the GDPR. 

Moreover, suppose any organization does not handle personal information as a core part of its activities. In that case, it will not be liable to adherence with some GDPR compliance such as appointing and Data Protection Officer (DPO). An organization does not have to adhere to GDPR compliance only when it lies outside the EU and does not target EU citizens.

How can organizations become GDPR compliant?

GDPR compliance is an ongoing process and refers to the strict adherence to date protection regulations. Any organization dealing with EU individual’s information that fails to adhere to GDPR compliance has to face heavy fines and penalties. For any organization to become GDPR compliant, it has to adhere to the following checklist:

Hire a data protection officer (DPO)

Data protection is one of the most critical aspects of GDPR compliance which is why organizations are required to securely process and handle the data of their clients and employees. For that, organizations must hire a DPO that helps maintain and monitor data subjects and data processing. 

Maintain Data Governance 

Data governance revolves around the process and technologies required to create consistent and proper handling of organizational data. GDPR compliance requires organizations to regularly maintain documentation of their data supply chains such as data flow maps and inventories starting from the time of data collection till the time of erasure.

This data documentation allows continued governance of what data is collected and why and information on where data is stored and secured. Data Governance also contains information on data removal when requested or upon expiration. Data access control and management is also a crucial aspect of GDPR compliance. 

Implement data privacy design and assessment

An organization must design privacy-centric data processes that automatically become applicable to new products or services. Moreover, these data processes and supply chains should go through regular assessments and audits to prevent internal or external breaches. 

Ensure data compliance, auditing, and record-keeping 

GDPR requires data controllers to provide evidence that their organization aligns with the updated GDPR. For this data, controllers have to audit their privacy protection measures regularly. Apart from that, data controllers must also keep a strict record of data collection and processing, data transfers, and details in activities relating to personal use of data through Identity and Access Management (IAM).

Carry out consented data collection, retention, and erasure.

Allowing individuals better control over their information is one of the central goal of GDPR. Therefore, GDPR compliance makes it crucial to improve transparency in data handling and processing. It also requires organizations to give consumers over their shared data. An essential element to the compliance checklist, organizations need to consent before collecting and storing data.

It is also crucial for an organization to put up an expiration date on collected consumer data and provide users the flexibility to request the erasure of information irrespective of the data controller’s rights. 

Data breach obligations 

These obligations are essential aspects of GDPR compliance and data regulation. Organizations must prepare themselves for such actions at all times. In case of any data breach, the organization must notify regulators within 72 hours immediately. Moreover, any individual who suffered a data breach should receive a notice without “undue delay.”

Final Words

Data compliance and regulatory frameworks are essential to today’s cyber threat landscape. They ensure uniform data regulation and protection over all the countries while protecting the individual’s rights from exploits and misconduct. Moreover, it is also crucial for an organization to have a regulatory framework for properly handling data.

At Right-Hand, we recognize the importance of regulatory frameworks like GDPR. We provide organizations with the means to manage and deploy compliance across the entire workforce. We also help them enable training that makes sure the employees understand these rules, applying them on their day-to-day activities.

Learn how to make regulations and policies clear and crisp to your workforce.