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GDPR Compliance

  1. What is GDPR?
  2. Why is GDPR important?
  3. Who does GDPR apply to?
  4. 7 Principles of GDPR Compliance
  5. 3 Key Goals of GDPR Compliance
  6. GDPR Equivalents Around the World
  7. 11 Chapters of GDPR Compliance
  8. Definition of ‘Personal Data’ under GDPR Compliance
  9. What does GDPR mean for businesses, and consumers/citizens?
  10. Penalties and Fines for GDPR Non-Compliance
  11. 12 Steps for GDPR Compliance
  12. Conclusion

What is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the European Union (EU) privacy regulation that went into effect on May 25, 2018. It supersedes the 1995 Data Protection Directive and enhances and expands upon the EU’s present data protection framework. The main goal of GDPR is to offer EU citizens more control over their personal data.

Although GDPR was developed and authorized by the EU, it imposes obligations on any organization that targets or gathers information about individuals residing in the EU. With GDPR, the EU is demonstrating its unwavering commitment to data security and privacy at a time when more individuals are committing their personal information to cloud services and data breaches are recurring.

Under the rules of GDPR, organizations are required to ensure that personal identifiable information (PII) is collected lawfully and the individuals responsible for collecting and administering data are required to safeguard it against misuse and exploitation, respecting the rights of data owners.

Why is GDPR important?

The GDPR is significant because it explains what organizations are required to do to preserve the rights of European data subjects and enhances the protection of those rights. GDPR defines “data subjects” as any European citizen whose data is collected by a business. The rule applies to all businesses and organizations that deal with data pertaining to EU citizens.

The majority of businesses routinely process some PII data. Non-compliance with GDPR has serious repercussions, including the possibility of significant fines and reputational damage. Under GDPR, noncompliance penalties can amount to massive fines of up to €20 million or, if higher, up to 4% of global revenue. GDPR may also be seen as a catalyst for change within businesses because it encourages the adoption of new data management frameworks and the reform of existing practices, both of which boost productivity and lay the foundation for data-driven insights.

Who does GDPR apply to?

Any organization operating in the EU as well as any non-EU organization providing goods or services to clients or enterprises in the EU is subject to GDPR. This ultimately means that a GDPR compliance strategy is required for practically every major corporation worldwide. All companies that conduct business within the EU must comply with GDPR. Businesses that do not operate primarily in the EU but maintain a sizable portion of customers there must abide by these requirements. For instance, if a business has offices in California but offers services to clients in Germany, it must also be GDPR compliant.

The law applies to two main categories of data handlers: “data controllers” and “data processors.” A data controller is “a legal or natural person, an agency, a public authority, or any other body who, alone or when joined with others, determines the purposes of any personal data and the means of processing it.” A data processor is “a legal or a natural person, agency, public authority, or any other body who processes personal data on behalf of a data controller.” GDPR imposes legal responsibilities on a processor to keep track of personal data and how it is processed, resulting in a far higher level of legal liability should the organization be in violation. Additionally, data controllers must make sure that any agreements with data processors adhere to GDPR.

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7 Principles of GDPR Compliance

Although the GDPR contains a number of different principles, Article 5 of GDPR in particular outlines seven key principles for the processing of PII that data controllers (i.e., those who determine how and why data is processed) must be aware of and follow when gathering and otherwise processing personal data:

  1. Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency: With relation to the data subject, personal data must be processed legally, fairly, and transparently. In order for the data subject to understand precisely how their information is being gathered and processed, the intended use of the data must be communicated clearly and effectively. This establishes transparency in data sharing so that none of the parties involved would be offended or ignorant of how their data was handled.
  2. Purpose Limitation: According to this principle, PII must only be gathered for explicit, understandable, and legal purposes that are decided upon at the time of collection and must not be further processed in a way that is at odds with those purposes. Nonetheless, when there are adequate protections in place, data controllers may carry out additional processing for the public interest, scientific or historical research, or statistical purposes as long as those goals are not deemed to be incompatible with the original ones.
  3. Data Minimization: According to this principle, controllers must only gather and use PII data that is adequate, relevant, and strictly essential for processing purposes. This basically means that data controllers should never acquire extraneous personal data and should only collect the least amount of data necessary for the intended processing operation. This principle not only encourages adherence to the full spectrum of data protection rules but also complements the principle of purpose limitation.
  4. Accuracy: This principle mandates that data controllers make sure personal data is accurate and updated as needed. A data controller is required to swiftly rectify any errors and take all appropriate measures, such as determining whether it’s necessary to routinely update any personal data it has on hand. Therefore, as part of their data management operations, data controllers that collect personal data should have a clear process in place for updating or erasing any erroneous personal data.
  5. Storage Limitation: Data controllers are required to keep PII in a format that makes it possible to identify specific people for no longer than is necessary to fulfill the purposes for which they are being processed. Hence, in principle, data controllers should erase personal data as soon as it is no longer required for the purposes for which it was originally gathered. In order to achieve this, GDPR suggests that the controller set time restrictions for the deletion or for routine reviews. Data controllers should also make sure that people are informed of retention periods or the standards used to determine them in accordance with the principle of transparency.
  6. Integrity and Confidentiality: Personal data must only be handled by data controllers in a way that ensures an adequate degree of security and confidentiality for the data, including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against unintentional loss, destruction, or damage. Data controllers must use the proper organizational or technical tools to accomplish this. The security measures must be sufficient to prevent accidental or intentional destruction, loss, or disclosure of personal data. These security measures must include not only physical security but also organizational security and cybersecurity. Also, businesses need to regularly assess how effective and current their security measures are.
  7. Accountability: The principle of accountability, clearly states that controllers are accountable for upholding the other data protection standards and meeting compliance mandates. As a result, controllers must not only make sure they adhere to the principles but also have the necessary procedures and documentation in place to demonstrate compliance. Accountability will be aided by adherence to other data protection principles, such as adopting data protection by design and default approach, putting in place appropriate organizational and technical safeguards, and establishing transparent data retention rules.

3 Key Goals of GDPR Compliance

There are three crucial elements of the EU GDPR legislation that businesses should be aware of:

Data Governance: Data controllers exert their control and compliance over their data assets through data governance. In order to retain compliance while navigating GDPR, this area is crucial.

  • Data Breach Notification: If a data breach poses a significant risk to a person’s rights and freedoms, it must be reported to the “controllers” of the data within 72 hours, as well as to any impacted data subjects.
  • Privacy By Design: With this provision, enterprises are required to start thinking about the nature of data privacy at the commencement of a project and throughout the data processing lifecycle. Any phase of data control or processing will require a company to plan for privacy.
  • Vendor management: GDPR will also subject third parties and vendors to regulatory scrutiny. Any person who processes or controls data must keep meticulous records of all data processing operations.

Data Management: Data management is the method by which data controllers and data processors will manage processing operations. It’s crucial that data management practices comply with GDPR in the following areas:

  • Data Erasure (the right to be forgotten): People have the option of having their personal information deleted, even if it is publicly available. Also, individuals have the option to request that their personal data not be processed in specific situations.
  • Data Transfers: Under GDPR, organizations won’t be allowed to send data to nations outside the EU that don’t have sufficient data protection regulations. The European Commission maintains a list of “approved countries” and authorizes nations with “acceptable” data protection regulations.
  • Data Processing: In accordance with GDPR, organizations are required to keep internal records of all data processing activities. The details of your organization, its name and contact information, the categories of people and personal data described, the receivers of personal data, the specifics of data transfers, and data retention dates must all be included in the information recorded. For transparent automatic email and attachment encryption, organizations might want to consider automated cryptographic protection controls.
  • Data Protection Officer (DPO): Any data controller processing more than 5000 records of data subjects in a calendar year must have a Data Protection Officer. A DPO will oversee GDPR compliance for your organization, carry out data protection evaluations, and provide employee training on general policies. Under GDPR, a DPO may support a single company, a collection of companies, or a collection of public entities. Your DPO must be equipped with the required knowledge to counsel the company and its employees on how to abide by the GDPR and other data protection legislation. It’s important to note that an organization only has to appoint a qualified and authorized person to the function of DPO rather than hiring new employees to fill the position.

Data Transparency: Under GDPR, data subjects have the provision to enjoy critical rights pertaining to data confidentiality and transparency.

  • Consent: Organizations processing personal data must be able to show that the data subject has provided permission for the use of that data. Additionally, individuals have the freedom to revoke their consent at any moment, and the company is required to make this process simple for them.
  • Data Portability: In accordance with GDPR, data subjects in the EU may request and obtain a copy of their data from the service provider.. The data subjects will be able to relocate, copy, or transfer their data without affecting its usefulness from one service provider to another.
  • Privacy Policies: Businesses must inform data subjects about how their personal information is processed, and they must make consumer rights clear and simple to access.

GDPR Equivalents Around the World

  • USA: California Consumer Privacy Act, 2018
  • India: Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022
  • Canada: Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), 2000
  • South Africa: Protection of Personal Information Act, 2020
  • Brazil: Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados (LGPD), 2020
  • Australia: Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) to Australia’s Privacy Act, 2018
  • Japan: Act on Protection of Personal Information, 2017
  • South Korea: Personal Information Protection Act, 2011

11 Chapters of GDPR Compliance

Chapter 1: Articles 1 through 4 found in Chapter 1, establish broad guidelines and clarify the important ideas pertaining to GDPR.

Chapter 2: Articles 5 through 11 included in Chapter 2 include the fundamental concepts of data privacy and protection. They serve as the framework for GDPR compliance. It would be advantageous for organizations if all stakeholders read this particular chapter.

Chapter 3: Articles 12 through 23 in Chapter 3 explain the eight fundamental rights of the data subject. This includes – the right to information, right to access, right to rectify, right to be forgotten, right to restriction, right to data portability, right to object, and right to reject decisions based on automated processing. This chapter is important for the legal departments of organizations as well as end users and consumers.

Chapter 4: Articles 24 to 43 make up Chapter 4, which covers every aspect of controllers and processors. When creating a GDPR compliance plan, businesses need to be aware of these facts.

Chapter 5: Articles 44 to 50 are included in Chapter 5. The data protection committee understands that business or infrastructure changes may necessitate the transfer of data to non-EU nations. The steps for securing a safe and legal data transfer are explained in these articles.

Chapter 6: Articles 51 through 59 are located in Chapter 6. A supervisory authority is an impartial public body chosen by the government of an EU member state. They keep an eye on how the GDPR is being applied and followed by businesses in the state. These articles outline their credentials, responsibilities, duties, and authority.

Chapter 7: Articles 60 to 76 make up Chapter 7. The seventh chapter discusses the expectations for an organization’s cooperation, particularly in the wake of a breach. It specifies cooperating with supervisory agencies and the systems in place, like testing and documentation, to guarantee cooperation and consistency.

Chapter 8: Articles 77 through 84 are explained in Chapter 8. These articles include data subjects’ legal defenses against supervisory authorities, controllers, and processors.

Chapter 9: Articles 85 through 91 are found in Chapter 9. It offers instructions for handling particular types of data, including opinions. It discusses data processing from the perspectives of an employer, a researcher looking into science or history, and a public archivist.

Chapter 10: Articles 92 and 93 are explained in Chapter 10. These articles describe the European Commission’s authority to form a committee to help member states with GDPR implementation.

Chapter 11: Articles 94 through 99 are included in Chapter 11. These last clauses discuss the start of GDPR enforcement. Starting in May 2020, the commission agrees to conduct evaluations every four years. The goal is to maintain laws current with developments in the technological environment.

Definition of ‘Personal Data’ under GDPR Compliance

Any information about a named, recognizable individual—also referred to as the data subject—is considered personal data or personal identifiable information (PII). Information about a person’s identity includes things like: Name, address, ID card or passport number, income, cultural background, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and data that a clinic or doctor maintains (which uniquely identifies a person for health purposes).

What does GDPR mean for businesses, and consumers/citizens?

The GDPR creates a single legislation and a single set of regulations that are applicable to businesses operating inside EU member states. Since multinational organizations operating outside the region but conducting business on “European soil” will still be subject to the law, its scope goes beyond the boundaries of the EU itself. One of the goals is that the GDPR will aid businesses by streamlining the data legislation. According to the European Commission, having a single supervisory authority oversee the entire EU will make doing business there easier and less expensive.

The unpleasant truth for many is that part of their data, whether it be an email address, password, social security number, or private health details, has been exposed on the internet due to the sheer volume of data breaches and hacks that take place. Consumers now have the right to know when their data has been compromised, which is one of the significant changes brought about by GDPR. Organizations must notify the appropriate national bodies as quickly as possible so that EU residents can take the necessary precautions to protect their data from misuse.

Penalties and Fines for GDPR Non-Compliance

Tier 1 GDPR fines: Less serious infractions are subject to this grade of fines. A fine of up to €10 million or 2% of the offending company’s global annual revenue from the prior year, whichever is higher, may be imposed.

Controllers and processors are frequently held accountable for these infractions. Articles 8, 11, 25, and 25 to 39 contain details of these breaches. It also addresses errors made by reputable organizations that agreed to conduct objective GDPR assessments. Monitoring bodies are subject to Tier 1 fines as well. These associations are autonomous groups that address complaints and infractions openly.

Tier 2 GDPR fines: Serious violations of a person’s right to privacy and consent are punishable by this tier of fines. The maximum fine is 20 million euros, or 4% of the offending company’s global annual revenue from the prior year, whichever is higher.

Tier 2 violations involve investigating problems with data processing, to make sure that the information gathered is legitimate, accurate, secure, and current. It discusses the various legal frameworks pertaining to the consent and transparency rights of the data subject. However, the majority of tier 2 infractions involve the transfer of personal data to a third-party, non-EU national. This is only possible with the approval of the European Commission and the implementation of the necessary security measures.

12 Steps for GDPR Compliance

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has developed the following 12 crucial steps to achieve GDPR compliance:

  1. Awareness: Make sure that decision-makers and other important individuals in your organization are aware of the impending change in the law and understand the possible effects. Find out who they are and ask for advice.
  2. Documentation: Companies must maintain written records to demonstrate their compliance with the GDPR’s accountability principle. Examine the different forms of data processing you undertake, then determine the legal justification for each one and record it.
  3. Sharing privacy-related information: Review your present privacy notices and make a strategy for any adjustments that will be required prior to the GDPR’s implementation.
  4. Individual’s rights: Review your policies to make sure they address all of the rights that people may have, including how you would erase personal data or distribute it electronically and in a format that is widely used.
  5. Subject access requests: Revise your policies, make a plan for how you’ll handle requests within the revised deadlines, and offer any relevant additional details.
  6. Lawful basis for processing personal data: Find the GDPR-compliant legal justification for your processing activity, record it, and update your privacy notice to include an explanation.
  7. Consent: Evaluate how you obtain, document, and manage consent and determine whether any changes are necessary. If current consents do not satisfy the GDPR standard, update them right away.
  8. Data breaches: Ensure that you have the proper protocols in place to identify, notify, and investigate a compromise of personal data.
  9. Children: Consider if you need to implement measures to confirm individuals’ ages and get parental or guardian approval before engaging in any data processing activity.
  10. Data protection: Find out how and when to implement privacy impact assessments in your organization by being familiar with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO’s) code of practice as well as the most recent Article 29 Working Party recommendations.
  11. Data protection officers (DPO): Appoint someone to be in charge of ensuring that data protection laws are followed, and you should consider where this position will fit within your organization’s structure and governance framework.
  12. International: Identify your main data protection supervisory authority if your organization has operations in more than one EU member state (i.e., you conduct cross-border processing). You can accomplish this by using the Article 29 Working Party instructions.


Organizations must take meticulous and well-thought-out steps to ensure compliance with GDPR. Data privacy readiness is impacted by GDPR in terms of technology, personnel, and business procedures. The future of data security and privacy will be shaped by those who prioritize data protection now, with the GDPR leading the drive to restrict the flow of data.

In this age of digital transformation, both GDPR and cybersecurity are crucial for protecting your business. You can protect your data from attacks by deploying robust cybersecurity procedures and best practices for authorization and encryption. As a result, you will be better able to comply with GDPR. Together, you can develop an all-encompassing strategy for shielding your company against advanced security threats.

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