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GDPR compliance requirements

GDPR compliance made simple
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6 min read
October 28, 2022
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For data privacy professionals, it is impossible to overlook the GDPR. The EU formed the General Data Protection (GDPR) in 2016, which took full effect on May 25, 2018. It replaced the Data Protection Directive and imposes heavier penalties on non-compliant parties. Independent supervisory authorities (SAs) are entrusted to monitor regulatory practice among member states.

SAs have the power to oversee heftier fines for non-compliance, depending on the severity and circumstances of each case. Besides being a legitimate cybersecurity law in the EU, the GDPR has become a global data governance benchmark due to its comprehensive guidelines. Following the GDPR can go a long way in future-proofing your data privacy programs.

For a detailed look at the GDPR legislation and Ketch recommendations for compliance, visit our Complete Guide to GDPR Compliance

The background of GDPR compliance requirements

The GDPR lays out a uniform approach to security governance involving the data of EU residents. Cyber lawmakers in Europe created the extensive GDPR act, which comprises 11 chapters and 99 articles, in order to safeguard the human rights of data subjects.

Companies worldwide have paused to rethink their data governance strategy to fulfill stringent GDPR requirements and avoid harsh penalties. Some organizations have recognized the growing importance of appointing data protection officers (DPOs) with expert knowledge in navigating GDPR guidelines. It's important for companies with different roles to work closely in meeting GDPR compliance requirements. Companies can rely on the GDPR to provide reliable and consistent protection of EU consumer and personal data, ensuring that data subjects remain safe as they engage with the most complex data networks.

What is GDPR and why is it important?

The GDPR serves as a set of guidelines or frameworks to help companies align their data governance with the best industry practices. Data privacy professionals have compared the GDPR with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) due to the similarities in their structured approach toward safeguarding human rights and their imposed penalties for non-compliance.

The 7 GDPR principles

The GDPR text features 7 principles that highlight the main purpose and goals of the privacy law. These core tenets keep your company on the path of compliance with an optimized governance program. The GDPR also outlines the specific responsibilities of data controllers and processors to harmonize their practices for seamless compliance.

A summary of the 7 principles of GDPR is as follows:

  1. Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency - Companies must provide valid reasons for managing sensitive data and maintain transparent communication with data subjects.
  2. Purpose limitation - Companies should limit every collected data for a specified purpose and never extend beyond those use cases.
  3. Data minimization - The organization should request the minimal amount of data needed to fulfill a purpose. Data minimization helps eliminate the data risks involved in the provision of excess information.
  4. Accuracy - Companies should always ensure that personal data records stay accurate for optimal security. Privacy managers must provide data subjects with the opportunities and guidance to update their information without delay.
  5. Storage limitation - Organizations must limit the period of data storage to the time needed to achieve the specified purposes.
  6. Integrity and confidentiality - Every company that processes personal data must ensure the necessary security standards in protecting the information from damage, loss, and unlawful practices such as theft and fraud.

Accountability - Companies must prove that they have the appropriate technology and processes needed to collect and store the requested sensitive data.

What is GDPR compliance?

Essentially, GDPR compliance means that companies (including data controllers and processors) meet the requirements of data management as laid out by the law.

GDPR compliance practices

The GDPR aims to unify the privacy laws across the 28 member states of the EU and extends to countries dealing with EU resident data. As such, any organization situated beyond the member states that processes the data of EU residents falls under the jurisdiction of the GDPR. For example, an America-headquartered company must comply with GDPR guidelines if it sells goods and services to EU residents (since the transactions result in data processing). In this case, GDPR compliance in the US applies accordingly. 

How to Determine if Your Company Falls Under GDPR?

You can check if your company needs to follow the GDPR guidelines (such as GDPR compliance in the US) by considering the material and territorial scope.

  • Material scope: The scope outlined in Article 2 of the GDPR describes companies involved in the "processing of personal data wholly or partly by automated means and to the processing other than by automated means of personal data which form part of a filing system or are intended to form part of a filing system."
  • Territorial scope: The GDPR applies to any company operating within the EU territory that processes the personal information of data subjects.

Read more: How do you know if you are GDPR compliant?

GDPR Compliance Checklist

A comprehensive GDPR compliance checklist keeps your company well-aligned with its stringent privacy laws to prevent the risks of harsh penalties. GDPR compliance checklists may differ according to the operations of your organization and its specific goals. However, a reliable GDPR checklist usually includes:

Building an Actionable Plan around the Seven GDPR Principles

The seven principles determine the core purpose of the GDPR. Using them as a reference can help your team create accurate and effective data governance goals that align with GDPR requirements. Doing so can support your organization toward fulfilling the GDPR's requirements of achieving data protection by design and by default, which integrates data security from the design process and across every stage of the data life cycle.

Implementing a DPIA

Data controllers must implement a systematic data protection impact assessment (DPIA) for new high-risk data processing activity. The DPIA offers a structured approach toward fulfilling data protection by design and default. DPIA processes differ among companies, and applying simple risk assessment questionnaires can determine the need for follow-up analysis and procedures.

Optimizing Consent Management

Consent management is a significant aspect of GDPR compliance. The process refers to the systems, steps, and procedures for receiving explicit consent for data processing from data subjects. GDPR guidelines also emphasize that the language used in consent management should always be clear, concise, and guide data subject decisions effortlessly.

Keep reading: GDPR compliance checklist

Read time
6 min read
October 28, 2022
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