Companies that collect data on European Union (EU) citizens are required to follow strict new rules for protecting customer data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) establishes a new standard for consumer data rights, but businesses may face challenges as the EU implements systems and processes to ensure compliance.

Read on to find out more about the GDPR and how it can affect your business. 

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR was adopted by the European Parliament in April 2016, replacing an outdated data protection directive from 1995. It includes provisions requiring businesses to protect EU citizens’ personal data and privacy when conducting transactions within EU member states. 

The GDPR also governs the export of personal data outside of the EU.

What is the GDPR for?

The short answer is that the public is concerned about privacy. Europe has long had stricter rules governing how companies use their citizens’ personal data. The GDPR privacy policy supersedes the EU’s Data Protection Directive, which became law in 1995. 

This was long before the internet evolved into the online business powerhouse that it is today. As a result, the directive is out of date and does not address many of the current methods for storing, collecting, and transferring data.

How genuine is the public’s concern about privacy? It is considerable, and it grows with each new high-profile data breach. 

According to the RSA Data Privacy & Security Report, which surveyed 7,500 consumers in France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, 80% of respondents said lost banking and financial data is a top concern. 76% of respondents expressed concern about lost security information (e.g., passwords) and identity information (e.g., passports or driving licences).

Because of their lack of trust in how companies handle their personal information, some consumers have taken their own precautions. According to the report, 41% of respondents intentionally falsify data when signing up for online services. Among their top concerns were security concerns, a desire to avoid unwanted marketing, and the risk of having their data resold.

Who will be in charge of compliance in my company?

The GDPR establishes three roles responsible for ensuring compliance: data controller, data processor, and data protection officer (DPO). 

The data controller determines how personal data is processed and for what purposes it is processed. The controller is also in charge of ensuring that outside contractors follow the rules.

Data processors can be internal groups that keep and process personal data records, or any outsourcing firm that does all or some of those tasks. Processors are held liable for GDPR violations or noncompliance. It’s possible that both your company and a processing partner, such as a cloud provider, will face penalties, even if the processing partner is entirely to blame.

According to the GDPR, the controller and processor must appoint a DPO to oversee data security strategy and GDPR compliance. Companies that process or store large amounts of EU citizen data, process or store special personal data, regularly monitor data subjects, or are a public authority are required to have a DPO. 

Certain government entities, such as law enforcement, may be exempt from the DPO requirement.

What to remember…

GDPR is a regulation that requires businesses to protect EU citizens’ personal data and privacy when conducting transactions within EU member states. 

As a business owner, it is important to be aware of the GDPR and its implications. Now that everyone has gone digital, institutions are also doing their best to protect citizens in terms of data privacy. 

It would be good to understand these policies so our business can run smoothly. 

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