The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to organizations that conduct business in Europe to ensure the protection of confidential data for citizens in the European Union (EU). This is true for companies no matter where they operate. If you do business with EU citizens, you must comply with the GDPR, which means that almost every major corporation and media group in the world is affected.
The mission of the GDPR is to protect EU citizens from data breaches as a result of transactions that occur within EU member states. The enforcement date for the new GDPR is May 25, 2018, and non-compliance could have major repercussions for your business.
Organizations that don’t comply with the new GDPR can be fined up to 4% of their annual global turnover or €20 Million ($24,959,600.00), whichever is greater.
The 28 EU member countries include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Why You Should Be Concerned
Many business owners and managers in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere aren’t prepared for GDPR enforcement. They don’t realize that even though they aren’t located in the EU, they’re still liable. Any company that processes the personal data of EU citizens or residents must comply with the GDPR or face hefty fines.
Plus, many companies have concerns with the new GDPR because it mandates that consumers’ data must be “reasonably protected” – yet it doesn’t specify what this means.
Compliance is worrisome for many because:
How to Prepare for the New GDPR.
Be sure that you fully understand how the requirements affect your business. Is your company a data controller or a data processor?
If a person’s personal data is exposed, the data processor is liable if the manner the data was processed isn’t in compliance with the GDPR. Furthermore, the data controller is liable for the data leakage or fraud because they delegated the transfer of data to the processor who is non-compliant. In other words, both can be fined.
The size of your organization and the complexity of your IT systems and operations will influence the extent and cost of your GDPR implementation. If you use an IT Managed Services Provider who already has this expertise, you’re in luck. They can take care of the implementation for you. If you don’t, you may need to hire additional, qualified IT staff.
GDPR inspections are conducted by the European Commission. If you don’t implement GDPR processes, and you handle personal information for people in the EU that’s compromised, you can face penalties that not only result in fines but legal ramifications as well. Once the public finds about any infractions, the credibility of your business is at risk.
You must assign a DPO before May 28, 2018.
One thing you must do is designate a Data Protection Officer (DPO) for your business. Your DPO is responsible for overseeing your data protection strategy and implementation to ensure compliance. The problem is that the GDPR hasn’t provided a list of DPO credentials. They only state that the DPO must have “expert knowledge of data protection law and practices”.
Your Data Protection Officer must be able to:
Your DPO can be a staff member as long as they can manage data controlling and processing activities and be readily available for contact whenever required. However, you must ensure that the duties of your DPO don’t result in a conflict of interest. If so, this could result in fines of up to EUR 10 million ($12,437,357.29), or up to 2 percent of your global annual turnover (whichever is greater).
Most businesses prefer to hire an external Data Protection Officer to avoid any conflict of interest. Consult with your IT Managed Service Provider to see if one of their IT professionals can act as your DPO.
It seems that everything we do today involves using and processing data. The good news is that the GDPR will give EU citizens the peace of mind that their personal data will be processed, stored and transferred securely.
Don’t wait until May 25, 2018 – failing to meet the GDPR could have a disastrous effect on your business. Take the time to be informed, review the legislation and ensure that your business remains compliant.