GDPR Compliance: A Step-by-Step Guide for Businesses

In 2016, the EU replaced the 1995 Data Protection Direction with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

This legislation was in response to the growing number of companies who were collecting, analysing, and then using personal user data either as a monetisation opportunity or to create personalised marketing campaigns.

According to the legislation, data privacy is a basic human right, and companies collecting and storing data need to do so in an appropriate, secure, and trustworthy manner.

The GDPR Essentials

For businesses looking to use consumer data, there are a number of principles to analyse and adhere to. Some of the most important, however, include transparency, fairness, and lawfulness. If you are to use someone’s personal data, why you are using it, how you’re going to use it, and how you’re going to protect it must be completely transparent.

As well as this, businesses have to practise data minimisation. For a long time, companies have been able to collect private data and store it in their systems – essentially becoming a data farm, with a vast amount of personal information that they don’t specifically need. Now, businesses can only collect data that is useful to them.

Other GDPR essentials involve purpose limitation, accuracy, storage limitation, confidentiality, security, and accountability.

How To Evaluate Data Handling Practices

In 2023, it’s essential that every business evaluates how they are going to handle their data practices.  To do this, there must be a strong emphasis on the accuracy of the data being collected, the sources of that data, and the security involved in keeping it safe.

There must also be an emphasis on the user, and the decisions that they make in regards to sharing their data. For instance, if a consumer has unsubscribed from a newsletter, but still receives marketing emails, this is a breach of GDPR.

Users have rights to not only understand how to stop spam emails, but to have their decisions and personal data respected.

How To Quickly And Effectively Implement GDPR Measures

For a business to quickly and effectively implement GDPR measures, it is important to analyse them and, as mentioned in the point above, work out how they relate to the business at hand.

The first thing a business should do is update its policies accordingly, train recruits, and install effective software that will keep their system clean and consistent.

Again, this will apply to how data is collected, how much data is collected, how it is stored, transferred, and used – as well as the security measures that need to be applied.

Maintaining Compliance

The work doesn’t stop there, either. The world of data privacy is constantly changing, with new challenges that can shake existing legislation and threaten to derail the process. For this reason, it’s important to continue monitoring new measures and carrying out a GDPR checklist to keep a business compliant and trustworthy.

As new tech such as artificial intelligence and machine learning gets introduced, it’s essential to keep GDPR – rather than the concept of innovation – at the forefront of the mind. That is the only way that businesses can continue to develop – with the privacy of consumers at the heart of everything they do.