Since 2018, the rules of the EU General Protection Data Regulation (GDPR) have been in action and companies and organisations that do business with the EU have had to comply with them.
Even the UK, which officially left the EU at the end of January 2021, must continue to follow the regulations in place. But what is GDPR? And how can businesses correctly implement these regulations in the workplace?
What is GDPR?
The EU General Protection Data Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018. This is the law that regulates how personal data is protected. Personal data, according to the GDPR directive, is any information related to a person such as a name, photo, or email address. In addition, bank details, social media, location details, and medical information, as well as a computer IP address all fall under this banner.
From emails to personal contact information, how data is transferred and stored came under scrutiny when these regulations took effect. Businesses must comply with GDPR rules in order to ensure personal data is correctly processed and collected.
European Union member states have followed this since its implementation. However, as well as EU countries, it also applies to businesses and brands that supply services and goods in the EU. So, wherever in the world a company is based, if they have a customer base in the EU, they must comply with these rules. It applies to businesses of all sizes and sectors, with everything from ecommerce to FCMG impacted.
Why introduce GDPR to your business
It may be three years since the GDPR rules came into effect, but it’s still easy for companies to find themselves in a position where they aren’t compliant. If you run a business and you’ve not yet had a chance to focus on GDPR, it’s in your best interest to do so as soon as you can.
There are several reasons to take the time to do this. The main reason is to avoid a fine. There are penalties for companies that don’t comply, with fines of up to 4% of annual global revenue or 20 million euros being common consequences for those who fail to implement the rules. These fines have been higher for some well-known names.
Additionally, being up to speed with GDPR can be great for your reputation. Potential clients, customers and employees are likely to be drawn to a company that’s placing important legislation such as GDPR front and centre.
How to introduce GDPR
There are several ways to introduce GDPR to your business.
First, if you work with personal data, you should appoint a data protection officer or data controller who is in charge of GDPR compliance. Those in this role must be aware of the data protection rules and know how to correctly process and store data.
Next, let your company know about GDPR. Ensure that staff at all levels understand how to record and store information and train everyone up in what GDPR is and their role in complying. At this point, you’ll need to let your employees know who the designated data protection controller and officers are.
If you’re unsure how to approach this, or you feel that you need a legal steer, seek advice from a professional who can help take you through the legalities of these regulations.
Then you can carry out a risk assessment. This will flag any areas for improvement and help you to create systems and processes that maintain data protection standards and keep your organisation compliant.
Monitor progress and carry out refresher training at least once a year. This is especially important if your company is growing in numbers and you need to explain to new starters how data is managed within your business.