The importance for business owners to safeguard both their clients’ and employees’ private data cannot be overstated.
Not only is it a legal requirement, but it can also go a long way to establishing and maintaining trust and integrity in your business operations.
In this article, we will delve into the law around private and protected data, and what businesses are expected to do to protect their clients.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive and far-reaching regulation that significantly impacts how businesses collect, store, and use data. Its rules are complex, affecting various aspects of your business, from employee training to customer communications.
Key aspects of GDPR
Explicit consent– GDPR requires you to obtain explicit opt-in consent from individuals before collecting their personal data. This is a departure from the previous opt-out systems.
Data minimisation and storage– Records must be up-to-date and should not contain information that is not strictly necessary. Additionally, data should not be stored for longer than required for its intended purpose.
Cybersecurity training– Your employees are required to undergo cybersecurity training to ensure they are well-equipped to handle data securely.
Customer communication– The regulation limits the ways you can contact your customers through electronic means, requiring explicit consent for the same.
Right to be forgotten– Upon request, you are obligated to remove an individual’s data permanently.
Prompt reporting– Any data breaches must be reported promptly and without delay to avoid severe penalties.
What happens with non-compliance
Failure to comply with GDPR can result in fines of up to £17.5 million or 4 per cent of your annual global turnover, whichever is higher. The financial repercussions are just the tip of the iceberg; non-compliance can also lead to a loss of customer trust, legal disputes, and a tarnished reputation.
What can business owners do to remain compliant?
Regular audits and assessments
Conduct regular audits of your data protection measures to identify any potential vulnerabilities or areas of non-compliance. This should include a review of how data is collected, stored, and processed within your organisation.
Employee training and awareness
Ensure that all employees undergo regular cybersecurity training. This will equip them with the knowledge and skills to handle data responsibly and identify potential security risks. Make sure to keep records of these training sessions as proof of compliance.
Update privacy policies
Regularly review and update your privacy policies to reflect any changes in data protection laws or your business operations. Make these policies easily accessible to your clients and employees.
Data encryption and security measures
Adding extra security measures such as data encryption, two-factor authentication, and secure data storage solutions. This will add an extra layer of protection against unauthorised access and cyber-attacks.
Always obtain explicit opt-in consent before collecting personal data and provide an easy way for individuals to withdraw their consent. Keep records of these consents as evidence of compliance.
Data breach response plan
Develop a detailed data breach response plan outlining the steps to be taken in the event of a security incident. This should include notifying affected individuals and reporting the breach to regulatory authorities promptly.
The commercial law team at Palmers Solicitors can help make sure your business is compliant with GDPR rules, avoiding hits to your business’ finances and reputation. Contact us today for expert legal advice.