The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was enacted in 2020, establishing stringent requirements for businesses regarding the handling of personal data of California residents, referred to as “consumers” under the law. The CCPA’s objective is to empower consumers with greater control over their personal information, ensuring transparency and privacy in business operations.

A fundamental requirement of CCPA compliance is the obligation for businesses to fulfill consumer requests to access their personal data held by the company. This entails providing consumers with a detailed account of their personal information collected, used, or shared by the business over the past year. Therefore, businesses are expected to have systems and processes in place to track and report this data history to ensure timely and accurate compliance with such requests.

To align with the CCPA, businesses should have already implemented measures to manage and secure consumer data effectively, including updating privacy policies, establishing procedures for handling consumer data access requests, and training staff on CCPA compliance. Additionally, businesses must be prepared to delete or stop selling a consumer’s personal information upon request, further emphasizing the need for robust data management practices.

Given the importance of CCPA compliance in safeguarding consumer privacy rights, businesses must continuously review and enhance their data practices to meet the evolving standards and requirements set forth by the law.

What is CCPA Compliance?

CCPA compliance is crucial for any for-profit entity that handles the personal data of California residents and meets specific criteria outlined by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). According to §1798.140 (d)(1) of the CCPA, the law applies to organizations that meet any of the following thresholds:

  1. Generate annual gross revenues exceeding $25 million;
  2. Annually buy, receive, sell, or share the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices for commercial purposes;
  3. Earn 50 percent or more of their annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.

Failing to comply with the CCPA can lead to severe financial and legal repercussions for businesses. Regulatory and civil enforcement actions could result in substantial fines. Specifically, if a consumer demonstrates that a data breach resulted from inadequate security procedures, they may be entitled to:

  • Damages ranging from $100 to $750 per consumer per data record compromised, or actual damages, whichever is higher;
  • Injunctive or declaratory relief;
  • Any other relief deemed appropriate by the court.
CCPA Enforcement Alert: What To Do NOW To Avoid Penalties

CCPA Requirements at a Glance

For example, a business experiencing a data breach affecting 1,000 records could face penalties up to $750,000 in damages, in addition to other potential legal consequences.

Moreover, the California Attorney General has the authority to initiate civil actions against entities that breach the CCPA. The act stipulates that violators may incur a civil penalty of up to $2,500 for each violation or $7,500 for each intentional violation. This provision underscores the importance of not only implementing robust data protection measures but also ensuring that such measures are deliberately adhered to, to avoid the higher bracket of penalties for intentional non-compliance.

It’s also important to note that the CCPA has been further expanded and reinforced by the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), effective since January 1, 2023, introducing additional obligations and enhancing consumer rights over their personal information. This includes new requirements around data minimization, purpose limitation, and the establishment of the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) to enforce privacy laws and hold businesses accountable. Therefore, businesses must stay informed and adapt to these evolving regulatory requirements to ensure ongoing compliance and protect consumer privacy effectively.

Navigating compliance in California or with its residents? The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) likely applies to your business operations, mandating a comprehensive compliance program that addresses several key consumer rights regarding their personally identifiable information (PII).

Key CCPA Consumer Rights:

The Right to Know

Consumers are entitled to full transparency about the collection, usage, and sharing of their PII. Businesses must disclose what data is collected, its purpose, and with whom it is shared. Read more

The Right to Delete

With certain exceptions, consumers can request the deletion of their PII held by a business. Read more

The Right to Opt-Out

Consumers have the power to refuse the sale of their PII by a business. Read more

The Right to Non-Discrimination

Businesses cannot discriminate against consumers who exercise their CCPA rights, ensuring fair treatment for all. Read more

The Right to Access Personal Information

Under §1798.110(a)(5), consumers can request a business to disclose the specific pieces of PII it has collected about them.

The Right to Correct

Consumers can have inaccuracies in their PII corrected by the business. Read More

The Right to Limit Use and Disclosure

Consumers can restrict how their sensitive personal information is used or disclosed. Read More

Business Obligations:

Beyond respecting these rights, businesses must proactively inform consumers about their data privacy practices through clear, accessible written notices. This includes outlining the types of data collected, the purposes for collection, and the consumer’s rights under the CCPA.

Compliance Strategy:

To ensure compliance, businesses should implement robust data governance and privacy practices, including data mapping to track PII, establishing processes for responding to consumer rights requests, and updating privacy policies to reflect CCPA requirements.

Additionally, businesses must stay abreast of evolving regulations, particularly with the introduction of the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which enhances CCPA provisions and introduces new rights and obligations.

In summary, CCPA compliance is not just a regulatory requirement but an opportunity to build trust with consumers by demonstrating a commitment to protecting their personal information.

CCPA Compliance Checklist

To ensure your organization is well-prepared for a CCPA compliance audit and to establish a robust control framework, we’ve detailed a checklist derived from our exhaustive CCPA compliance guide. This checklist is designed to navigate the complexities of compliance efficiently.


Data Inventory and Categorization

  • Action: Conduct a thorough inventory of all data related to California residents.
  • Purpose: To identify and categorize personal information (PI) under CCPA definitions, facilitating easier management and compliance.

Risk Assessment

  • Action: Carry out a comprehensive risk assessment.
  • Purpose: To document and evaluate potential security vulnerabilities that could affect the PI you collect, ensuring that risk mitigation strategies can be effectively applied.

Website Compliance

  • Action: Align your website with CCPA requirements.
  • Requirements:
    • Implement a clear and understandable privacy policy on your homepage.
    • Detail the usage of collected data within this policy.
    • Include a conspicuous opt-out button for users to refuse the sharing of their information.
    • Although cookie consent is not mandated, the CCPA necessitates a notice about the data collected by cookies and an opt-out option for the sale of PI.

Data Access and Deletion Processes

  • Action: Establish procedures for handling requests for data access and deletion.
  • Purpose: To comply with CCPA mandates allowing consumers to review or remove their PI from your databases.
  • Documentation and Audit Trails

    • Action: Maintain comprehensive documentation of your data collection, handling, and consent management processes.
    • Purpose: To provide clear evidence of compliance efforts and practices, essential for both internal audits and regulatory reviews.

Additional Considerations:

  • Training and Awareness: Ensure that your staff are well-informed about CCPA obligations and the specific roles they play in maintaining compliance.
  • Vendor Management: Assess and manage the compliance of third-party service providers or vendors who handle PI on your behalf, ensuring their practices align with CCPA requirements.
  • Regular Updates: Stay informed about amendments to the CCPA and related regulations, such as the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), to adjust your compliance strategies accordingly.
  • Consumer Rights Management: Implement and regularly test systems to efficiently respond to consumer rights requests, including access, deletion, correction, and opt-out from the sale of PI.

By following this detailed checklist, your organization can better prepare for CCPA compliance, ensuring that personal information is handled responsibly and transparently, thereby upholding the rights of California residents.

Amendments to the CCPA and Introduction of CPRA

On March 15, 2021, the California Attorney General’s office announced enhancements to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) through additional regulations aimed at bolstering the rights of Californians to control the sale of their Personally Identifiable Information (PII). These amendments reinforce CCPA’s provisions against unethical business practices by clarifying and strengthening the language regarding consumer protections.

Furthermore, the enactment of the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) in November 2020, as approved by voters, marked a significant evolution of California’s privacy legislation. While the CPRA amends and expands the CCPA, it does not replace it. Instead, it introduces additional requirements and scenarios under which consumers have the right to opt out of the selling and sharing of their personal information, as well as certain types of data processing.

The CPRA, which took effect on January 1, 2023, mandates businesses to undergo regular cybersecurity and data privacy audits, enhancing the security and privacy measures protecting consumer data. It also compels organizations to define and disclose the retention periods for each category of personal information collected, ensuring transparency about how long consumer data is kept and the purposes for its retention. These retention timeframes must be clearly stated within the companies’ online privacy policies.

Key Enhancements Under CPRA Include:

  • Expanded Consumer Rights: CPRA introduces new rights such as the right to correct inaccurate personal information, the right to limit the use and disclosure of sensitive personal information, and the right to opt out of automated decision-making processes.
  • Risk Assessments and Auditing: Businesses subject to the CPRA are required to conduct regular risk assessments and submit to cybersecurity audits, focusing on areas where consumer data practices pose significant risks to privacy.
  • Data Minimization and Purpose Limitation: The CPRA emphasizes principles of data minimization and purpose limitation, requiring businesses to collect only the personal information necessary for the stated purposes and not retain personal information for longer than necessary.
  • Establishment of the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA): The CPRA established the CPPA, a new regulatory body empowered to enforce privacy legislation and provide guidance to businesses and consumers about their rights and responsibilities under California’s privacy laws.

These legislative changes underscore California’s commitment to protecting consumer privacy and set a precedent for other states to follow. Businesses must adapt to these evolving regulations to ensure compliance and safeguard consumer trust.

To learn more about how these developments impact your business and to navigate the complexities of compliance with CCPA and CPRA, watch the recording. This resource provides essential insights and guidance to help you understand and implement the required privacy protections and operational changes.

Watch the Recording to Learn how to Prepare For a CCPA Audit

Register for webinar

ZenGRC Has Your CCPA Compliance Solution

If you’re wondering whether or not you need a compliance program, look no further.

Our ZenGRC team can walk you through the entire CCPA compliance process, helping you to examine your environment and policies and to shore them up before your formal audit.

We can also advise on documentation best practices and provide a template that will help you to assure that you are fully prepared and have done your due diligence before your audit.

Our flexible, integrated solutions allow you to ditch your Excel spreadsheet and streamlines your CCPA requirements through our intuitive dashboard. It automates many of the tedious manual processing activities and reduces the time and resources required to manage them.

ZenGRC CCPA Capabilities

  • A single source of truth to assign, capture and track fulfillment of regulatory requirements
  • Pre-built evidence request templates and automated evidence collection can help streamline your compliance audits
  • Universal control mapping to fulfill requirements across multiple frameworks, like GDPR, HIPAA and others
  • Identifies gaps in your compliance so you can focus on filling them and get audit-ready faster
  • Real-time, continuous monitoring of your compliance stance
Ready to see ZenGRC in action?

Frequently Asked Questions

A for-profit business must meet one the following requirements to be subject to the CCPA ”(A) has annual gross revenues in excess of twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), as adjusted pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 1798.185; (B) Alone or in combination, annually buys, receives for the business’s commercial purposes, sells, or shares for commercial purposes, alone or in combination, the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or (C) Derives 50 percent or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.

For individuals who reside in California, the CCPA privacy law provides consumer rights to know what data is being collected and how it’s being used, the right to delete your personal information, and the right to non-discrimination when you exercise your CCPA privacy rights.

For those organizations that are subject to the CCPA, they are required to uphold those rights within their internal business practices. Furthermore, they are required to document their privacy practices within their online Privacy Policy which must state, among other items, how the organization collects personal information and how that personal information is used.

CCPA is a legal requirement for for-profit businesses that process California consumers personal information and that satisfy any of the following requirements: (A) Has annual gross revenues in excess of twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000); (B) Alone or in combination, annually buys, receives for the business’s commercial purposes, sells, or shares for commercial purposes, alone or in combination, the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or (C) Derives 50 percent or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.”

The CCPA provides consumers with a higher level of transparency from companies and forces them to be accountable for the information they collect as well as what they do with it.

For companies, CCPA compliance provides a greater competitive advantage. It allows them to cast a wider net and attract consumers who are more likely to gravitate toward companies that give them more privacy.

Companies that implement CCPA privacy compliance measures also tend to have more robust security and risk management controls to protect them from privacy risks.

CCPA differs from GDPR in that its privacy regulations cover residents in the state of California within the United States. The GDPR covers citizens of the European Union (EU). Moreover, while both laws are similar in their fundamental approach — namely, that individuals have certain rights over their personal data — the exact rights that each law offers are somewhat different.