Many businesses in today’s economy collect data on previous or prospective customers and clients to analyze, interpret and respond to consumer demand and behavior.
This emphasis on data collection has led to businesses gaining unprecedented value in consumer insights.
However, recent concerns have arisen that people’s private information may be exposed or misused by companies.
A recent example that amplifies these worries is Facebook’s numerous instances of irresponsible data management exposed in 2018.
Keeping consumers’ private information protected is becoming a major ethical issue as more businesses use private data for decision making.
For this reason, data protection compliance acts are being introduced in different industries to ensure that businesses use private data responsibly.
The General Data Protection Regulation
One noteworthy regulation implemented in 2018 is the GDPR, which will have implications for businesses across all industries.
The GDPR requires that data collectors and controllers take appropriate measures to safeguard the personal information of European citizens.
These guidelines expand the rights of data subjects (individuals whose data is being collected) over their personal data and provide more specific conditions for obtaining consent from data subjects.
They also require companies to process data responsibly and transparently and through a procedure that is easily expressed and visible.
The expansion of the rights of data subjects is an important policy addition by the GDPR. These new rights include the right to be forgotten, the right to access, and breach notification.
- The right to be forgotten entitles data subjects to have their personal data erased by the data controller and other third-parties. This occurs when the individual withdraws their consent or when the original purpose for the data is no longer applicable.
- The right to access requires data controllers to provide transparency into how and why data subjects’ private data is being processed.
- The breach notification right forces companies to inform their data subjects when their private data is endangered by a data breach.
The private data protected by the GDPR includes:
- Basic personal information such as name, address, and ID numbers.
- Web data such as location, IP address, and cookie data.
- Political ideology, sexual orientation, and ethnic or racial data.
What if my company is considered noncompliant?
The GDPR quantifies the consequence of failing to meet data privacy standards.
The maximum penalty for noncompliance is 4% company revenue or 20 million euros (whichever is greater).
Obviously, businesses such as your own will want to take measures necessary to avoid being hit by such a considerable fine for noncompliance.
What may not be as clear is what steps to take to ensure that your company is handling data responsibly and protecting the rights of their customers/data subjects.
How does my company become GDPR compliant?
The GDPR does not have a specific checklist of measures that a business must complete to maintain compliance.
Rather, this policy implements an expectation that the business has satisfactory procedures that protect individuals throughout their data management process.
To develop a quality understanding of what it takes for your business to be considered compliant, you must understand your business model and its interactions with data.
A great start is creating a data map or Record of Processing Activities (RoPA) detailing each of your company’s data collecting sources.
This RoPA should show private data’s journey from initial collection to usage to disposal.
This gives insights into which parts of your data management process are at risk or should be improved.
Refining these issues should get you on track to becoming GDPR compliant.
Depending on how mature your business is, there are different ways to ensure your company is practicing GDPR compliance.
If your business is young, it is important to introduce suitable data administration measures during its development rather than adding them later.
The privacy by design component of the GDPR requires this proactive approach to privacy protection, which will keep businesses responsible in early stages when they previously may have been more susceptible to errors.
On the other end, a well-developed business may be required to hire a data protection officer to maintain internal recordkeeping requirements.
Data protection officers are required by the GDPR if your business practices systematic monitoring of private data on a large scale.
These officers are present to give the company expert knowledge about data protection laws and practices, reporting directly to the highest level of management.
This will help businesses stay proactive and preventative about data security issues that may arise down the line.
The GDPR’s policies demand a preemptive approach with data management, preferring companies that avoid data troubles rather than repair them.
One way to be proactive about data security is to limit the number of copies or locations where the data is available.
This will decrease the chances that the information gets exposed or discovered by the wrong person.
This can be done by disposing of private data that no longer has use for your business.
Allowing useless personal data to collect dust on your hard drives or servers not only clutters your data systems but imposes a risk that may cost your company money.
If your company uses hard drives as a method of data storage, acquiring a hard drive degausser is essential for providing high security for your data subjects’ personal information.
Hard drive degaussers are great tools for destroying unwanted data and can be used preventatively or to fulfill a data subject’s right to be forgotten established by the GDPR.
Data disposal is an important component of data security but is frequently overlooked.
Improper disposal of files and data leaves information prone to being retraced and excavated by people with proper tools and expertise.
For example, deleting files the conventional way often does not completely rid the information from hard drives.
Degaussers deliver more secure deletions by disrupting the hard drive’s magnetic storage, making the information unreadable.
While hard drive degaussers may seem like an expensive purchase on the surface, the value a degausser brings by helping maintain GDPR compliance exceeds the cost.
A high-security degausser purchased for a couple of thousand dollars will help your company avoid potentially millions of dollars in fines incurred from noncompliance.
Practicing responsible data disposal methods is necessary to keep your company and its customers safe.
Find an NSA listed degausser on the Whitaker Brothers online store now to provide more protection to your business and its private data.