The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a data protection law that mandates all companies doing business within the European Union (EU) member states to comply with strict new rules protecting the personal data and privacy of people living in the EU (data subjects).

Effective May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. GDPR is aimed at standardizing data privacy laws across Europe and redesigning how organizations with any European presence approach data privacy. In addition, the GDPR gives EU citizens more control over their personal information. 

The United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 updates and replaces the Data Protection Act 1998. The DPA 2018 went into effect with GDPR’s new rules and details how the GDPR applies in the UK.

The data that are considered personal under the EU’s new data protection law include an individual’s name, address, date of birth, health records, bank details, photos, and IP address, the right to data portability, as well as biometric data and genetic data that could be processed to identify that individual uniquely.

Under the GDPR, organizations must email customers asking them to opt-in to their consent and privacy policies.

In addition, a company must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to oversee its data protection strategy and ensure GDPR compliance under these circumstances:

  • The company is a public authority 
  • The company carries out large-scale monitoring of individuals, such as behavior tracking.
  • The company engages in large-scale processing of special categories of data.

What businesses does GDPR apply to?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stands as a cornerstone of global data protection legislation, extending its reach far beyond the confines of the EU member states. Its comprehensive framework demands a keen understanding from businesses worldwide looking to achieve GDPR compliance.

  • Territorial Scope: GDPR’s jurisdiction encompasses businesses within the EU and extends to those beyond the processing of personal data associated with EU residents while offering goods/services or monitoring their behavior.
  • Types of Businesses Covered: GDPR casts its compliance net over data controllers, entities defining data processing purposes, and data processors handling data on behalf of controllers. This inclusive approach spans diverse industries and sizes.
  • Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): While GDPR applies universally, SMEs encounter specific considerations, including streamlined documentation requirements around data protection impact assessments. However, big and small companies must follow GDPR rules to ensure compliance.

Comprehending the expansive scope of GDPR is fundamental for any business navigating personal data. Compliance transcends mere legality, positioning itself as a pivotal step in building consumer trust and safeguarding personal information through transparency, data subject rights like rectification and erasure, and enforcement by supervisory authorities.

7 Main Principles of GDPR

GDPR, safeguarding individuals’ data privacy and rights, operates on seven core data protection principles, forming the ethical foundation for the responsible processing of data.

  1. Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency: Ensure data processing is lawful, fostering fairness and transparency in data collection and utilization.
  2. Purpose Limitation: Collect data for specific, legitimate purposes, avoiding further processing that conflicts with these objectives.
  3. Data Minimization: Collect and process only necessary data relevant to the specified purpose, reducing the risk of data breaches.
  4. Accuracy: Maintain precise and updated data, promptly rectifying inaccuracies to uphold data integrity.
  5. Storage Limitation: Store personal data only for the necessary duration aligned with the intended purpose, enhancing data security.
  6. Integrity and Confidentiality: Implement robust security measures to safeguard against unauthorized data processing, ensuring data confidentiality and preventing breaches.
  7. Accountability: Demonstrate GDPR compliance by implementing appropriate measures and documentation and conducting regular audits and assessments.

These principles, safeguarding against data breaches and ensuring compliance, build trust between businesses and individuals by providing the responsible handling of personal information.

What are the consequences of not complying with GDPR?

Non-compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can significantly affect businesses. For instance, GDPR allows for substantial fines, with penalties reaching millions of euros, depending on the severity of the violation. For example, a large e-commerce company that fails to secure customer data properly may face an acceptable equivalent to a significant portion of its annual revenue. GDPR fines can substantially burden organizations, making GDPR-compliant practices essential.

GDPR violations can also harm your reputation, causing a loss of customer trust and potential revenue. Imagine a healthcare service provider that experiences a data breach due to non-compliance; patients may lose confidence in the clinic’s ability to protect their sensitive medical records, causing a decline in patient bookings.

Individuals affected by data mishandling can take legal action, resulting in costly lawsuits. For instance, if a financial institution improperly shares customer financial data, affected individuals may file lawsuits seeking compensation.

Addressing GDPR violations often demands significant resources, causing operational disruptions. Consider a software company that must overhaul its data handling processes and systems to comply with GDPR requirements; this can disrupt product development and customer support operations.

Secure Your Business and Customer Data with Help from ZenGRC

Regarding GDPR compliance, choosing the right tools and solutions is paramount. ZenGRC offers a comprehensive platform to simplify and streamline your GDPR compliance efforts. 

With ZenGRC, you can automate compliance tasks, gain full visibility into your data handling processes, implement robust security measures, maintain detailed documentation for compliance, and proactively assess and mitigate risks. 

By partnering with ZenGRC, your business can navigate the complexities of GDPR more effectively, ensuring compliance and your customer data’s security. Schedule your demo today