The GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation is the toughest security and privacy law in the world. Still few companies are completely compliant with GDPR. It is very important to ensure that you are following your industry regulations. Non-compliant can be fined up to 18 million euros or 4% of your annual global turnover. You need to pay whichever is greater. This simply means that you can lose your entire business due to non-compliance. In this article, we are going to share the main steps that will help you in complying with GDPR.
What is the GDPR?
The GDPR is created by the European Union. Its main aim is to protect its citizen’s data. This standard was enforced in 2018. The main aim of this cybersecurity framework is to protect the data of all the citizens in the EU. According to the 8th Article of the European Convention, everyone has the right to privacy.
The boundaries between private and public life were clear when this article was written. However, the line has become blurred with time. It is important to have a clear policy like the GDRP. Your customers can’t be confident about the data that they are sharing with you. Thus, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are protecting their privacy.
Who does the General Data Protection Regulation apply to?
The GDPR security regulation is applicable to all the organizations that are offering services and goods to people in the EU. This is generally all the organizations as every organization has some market in the EU countries. If you are running an online business, then you generally have a global business. You don’t know if some EU citizen is transacting on your website. Thus, all online businesses should be GDPR compliant by default. There are two types of entities that GDPR defines:
- Data Controllers: The GDPR defines data controllers as entities that determine the means and purpose of processing data. They will decide how they are processing the personal data. For example, a music school might be using a screen for notifying parents. The screen will display the name of each child that is present in the music room. Thus, they are acting as a data controller in this case.
- Data Processors: The GDPR defines data processors as any individual, business, or business that are processing personal data. They will be doing this on behalf of the data controller. Data processors will be following the rules which are set by data controllers. They are not making any decisions for themselves. For example, you might hire a marketer for managing your email campaign. They will be supplied with email addresses and the names of all leads. You will be the data controller in this case as you have access to personal data. The marketer will be a data processor as he is just following your rules. GDPR expects data processors to be compliant also as they are handling the personal data of users.
This checklist will help you in assessing your current GDPR compliance status. It will also help you in reforming poor data handling practices. Thus, you can become more GDPR compliant by following this.
Know all the data that you are gathering
If you don’t know which personal data is flowing through your systems, then you can’t control it. It is important to know all the data that you are collecting from your users. This can be full name, business name, email address, address, and phone number. You might be even collecting personal data like social security numbers and credit card details from your users.
It is important to filter out this data into different categories. The GDPR mainly focuses on sensitive data protection. Thus, you need to find all the sensitive data that you are storing in your systems. PII or Personally identifiable information is considered very sensitive. You should ensure that you are using the best IT security practices for protecting this data.
Appoint a DPO
According to Article 37 of the GDPR, organizations need to appoint a DPO or data protection officer for their organization. They will help you in overseeing your data protection strategy. Even data processors need to have a DPO as they are handling the personal data.
The GDPR doesn’t define properly which organizations need to follow DPO. However, most organizations are appointing DPO to be safe. They don’t want to pay heavy legal fines and penalties. You should appoint DPOs where your data processing operations are located. If your organization is operating from outside DPO, then you should hire a DPO there.
Your DPO must have complete knowledge of GDPR best practices and laws. They will help you in protecting your business from attackers. Organizations should also use monitoring solutions for finding vulnerabilities in their network. This will help your DPO in fixing your IT security strategy.
A GDPR data register or diary will help your organization in practising GDPR. You can create this diary after finding all your data sources. Make sure that you map the flow of data through your business. Try to include as many details as you can. In the case of an audit, this dairy will help you in proving compliance.
If your business is attacked by cyber attackers, then this diary will be proof of progress that you have improved data security. The early implementation of this solution can help you in strengthening your IT security.
Choose a security framework
You can easily comply with GDPR if you are following a standard framework. These frameworks will help you in implementing your core best practices. They will help you in reducing your privacy and data security risks. There is no perfect security framework that you can use for protecting your business. Thus, you should consider using multiple frameworks for staying compliant with GDPR.
ISO 27001 is a very famous ISMS framework that will help you in reducing the chance of data risk. NIST privacy framework will help you in managing your privacy risks. NIST Cybersecurity framework will help you in measuring the maturity of your risk management and cybersecurity systems.
Instantly report security breaches
Immediate security or data breach is a serious GDPR requirement. This is mentioned in article 33 of the GDPR guideline. Both data processors and controllers need to report security breaches within 3 days.
Data processors will be reporting security breaches to the data controllers. They will be reporting them to the supervisory authority. This authority is also known as DPA or data protection association. DPA is responsible for enforcing and monitoring GDPR compliance. They are going to be the primary contact when you want to know about GDPR.
Verify the age of your users
According to the GDPR rules, you can only process the data of users who are at least 16 years old. If you are collecting the data from people who are younger than that, then you need to take their consent. Make sure that you are checking the age of users. An age verification process will help you in verifying the age of your users.
If you are collecting data from underaged users, then you should ensure that you are taking their parent’s consent.
Establish data governance
Data governance is a collection of policies and processes which will ensure that you are properly using your data. It will ensure that you are following high standards throughout the lifecycle of the data that you are storing. Your data governance process should be made according to Article 30 of GDPR.
You should have a data inventory. This data inventory will help you in finding all sources of data that your company is storing. Data classification should be done as it will ensure that you can focus your efforts on important data first. Strategies should be in place for ensuring that you are collecting data in a transparent manner.
Implement appropriate controls
The GDPR doesn’t mention any control that is required for compliance. However, there are some measures that they have mentioned. You should ensure that you are using the most up-to-date software for protecting your customer data. Document the scope and nature of your data processing. Encrypt the data that you are sending and storing. Make sure that the data is always available to customers.
You need to protect personal data from being accessed by unauthorized users. Regularly check the effectiveness of your security controls by testing them. Make sure that you are considering all the risks when you are handling your data.
Managing security controls will be an ongoing process for your business. You can’t forget about your security controls just because you have implemented them. Companies need to properly audit their data processing activities. You need to regularly check your security controls. This will ensure that your security systems are working properly. You should look for a software solution that will help you in automating the management of your security controls.
Train your employees
Training your employees is very important if you want to comply with GDPR. Many companies think that following the GDPR compliance is only an IT issue for them. However, you will need a comprehensive training and communication strategy if you want to succeed. This strategy should include everyone who is working in your company.
You can’t train your employees once and forget about them. The training process should start from the top of your company. The main focus will be on creating a strong culture of security and compliance in your organization. If your business has a strong culture of compliance, then you will automatically become compliant. Online training is the way to start. You can provide courses and training material to your employees. This training should be supplemented with role-based education. Make sure that every department understands their areas of risk and responsibilities. Your IT partner can also help you in training your employees about the best security practices.
Regularly perform security gap analysis
A security gap analysis will help you in checking your current security measures. You can compare your current security measures to the industry standards. It will help you in understanding the steps that you need to take for implementing the appropriate controls and processes. Also, it will help you in finding measures that will ensure compliance.
You can check the GDPR guidelines before conducting this analysis. One more good way to solve this problem is by working with a good MSP. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire will help you in performing security gap analysis. They have worked with multiple companies. Thus, they already know the points that you should follow. They will help you in finding gaps in your security program. Your partner will also give you a set of guidelines or recommendations that you can follow for staying compliant. You can implement these guidelines for improving your IT security strategy.
If you are operating in EU countries, then you need to follow GDPR compliance. It is important to ensure that you are compliant with GDPR as it is the strictest data regulation in the world. The fines of GDPR can completely destroy your business financially. Thus, you should focus on upgrading your IT security strategy. The best way to do this is by working with a good MSP.
Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire will help you in maintaining and achieving GDPR compliance. They will ensure that you are compliant with the GDPR. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on GDPR compliance if you are working with Bleuwire. They will help you in automating changes and monitoring your network. Bleuwire will help you in upgrading your IT network and security. They will ensure that your network and data are protected from attackers. Thus, you don’t need to worry about any legal fines or penalties. If you need more information regarding IT security services, then you can contact Bleuwire.