The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a force to be reckoned with — even for small businesses. When it came into effect in May 2018, many assumed that things would change immediately, but like most new and far-reaching laws, the effects are not entirely apparent.
The regulation is complex, but at its core, it’s about regulating how the data of EU citizens is collected, processed, and stored. As such, companies that have or want any economic ties to the EU market should be aware of GDPR’s impact. While organizations were given a lot of time to prepare, the majority didn’t bother until the heat was just around the corner.
Organizations kicking off their GDPR-compliance project need to dig deep into their corporate resources to identify the data, internal processes, and external communications that could be affected by the regulation and what needs to be done to meet its requirements. This task is daunting, to say the least, and sometimes discouraging.
Related article: What is the GDPR and how does it affect your business?
Data that was once kept within the boundaries of traditional networks has gone viral — migrating to mobile devices, smart gadgets, the cloud, business partners’ and processors’ sites, and more. The good news is, technology can help businesses to comply with GDPR.
What are some of the challenges organizations will face? Let’s take a closer look:
Adapting to new requirements
GDPR's requirements were designed to increase the accountability of organizations that process personal data. This means making the whole process of collecting and storing information about EU citizens as transparent and trustworthy as possible.
As a business owner doing business with EU member states, you should ensure your compliance policies — such as how consent to collect personal data is confirmed, as well as how the data will be used and eventually deleted — are drafted based on the regulations. In addition, another challenge is maintaining compliance when accessing data that belongs to a third party that must be GDPR-compliant.
System audit and assessment
One of the biggest GDPR implementation challenges is the initial audit of your system. It could be a fairly easy task if your company’s data is stored in one place, but that’s not always the case. Most businesses today have information stored across a broad array of locations, services, and devices. Here are some important questions to ask during this operation:
- What data is collected?
- What are the sources of the data gathering?
- Where is the data stored?
- How is it used?
- Who has access to what data and for how long?
It boils down to three elements: How is data encrypted? Is data sufficiently restricted? Is it trackable? Determining these key elements will give you a picture of what should be changed in order to maintain a steady workflow.
Team compliance and learning
The technical requirements of GDPR compliance depend on the people who manage them. It is especially challenging to teach people to follow the guidelines as it takes time and requires patience. Your employees need to understand what the stipulations mean, how they work, and how they could affect their working processes.
Apart from educating and training your employees, you’ll need to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO), as mandated by the GDPR. The responsibility of the DPO is to ensure that the company is adhering to the regulations. There is a catch, however — your DPO must report to the highest management of your company and must be absolutely independent in their judgment in order to maintain a balanced view regarding data privacy.
Related article: GDPR: Benefit or burden? (What happens if you violate GDPR)
Rethinking budget planning/preparation costs
The GDPR doesn’t come without a cost. You must significantly rethink your budget to provide adequate maintenance of data privacy and security operations.
Although proper auditing can help, there are still many unknowns in the equation that can significantly inflate the budget over time. Your business’s GDPR budget should be aimed at the following aspects: technology research, its implementation, and human resources.
Because the heart of the GDPR lies in the protection and security of personal data, companies should be extra careful in handling them, especially because the regulation gives users the power to opt in or out at any time. And because of the muddled nature of data gathering, questions from users may arise with regards to the processing of their personal information. If you're prepared for these questions in advance, it's far less likely that you'll ever face a fine.
Make sure your business can explain why it's collecting personal data, which types of personal data it is collecting, who can access collected data, how long the data will be retained, and how users can request that the data is erased.
The GDPR is extremely process-driven. While it is designed to shape and improve the privacy of data transfers by ensuring best practices such as decision-making and risk assessment, the GDPR also adds another layer to them, making things more complicated.
Need help with GDPR implementation? Prosum offers the most important toolsets needed for GDPR implementation like Azure AD, data encryption, and data loss prevention (DLP), to mention a few. With this automation, personal data discovery is carried out faster and with few false positives. To learn more, contact us today.
This article is Part 3 of our GDPR series. Read the next installment below or check out Everything you need to know about the EU General Data Protection Regulation. If you missed Part 2, check it out here.