Data privacy guide | What you need to know

If you are doing business in Europe, you need to understand the GDPR with its aim to uphold data protection and privacy. Here, in this article, we answer what is data protection and privacy to help in the quest of being GDPR compliant

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If you are doing business in Europe, you need to understand the GDPR with its aim to uphold data protection and privacy. The GDPR was established to give people confidence that when they provide their personal details to a company, that data will be secure and used in a lawful manner. 

Given its importance, it is essential that all businesses have a thorough knowledge of what data privacy should be in practice.  Here, in this article, we answer what is data protection and privacy to help in the quest of being GDPR compliant. Finally, we investigate ways that you can remain compliant through the use of a data privacy policy and a data privacy officer. 

What is data protection and privacy?

Before delving into the GDPR and its vital work to help maintain data privacy, it is necessary to answer first what is data protection and privacy. Importantly, it is imperative to understand the difference between the two. 

Data privacy is the practice of keeping data confidential. Data protection is the act of keeping data secure. Keeping data secure is imperative and it is an important component of the larger GDPR framework. It is down to businesses themselves to ensure that they have robust data protection processes in place. Additionally, it is recommended that those processes are consistently reviewed as to their efficacy. 

If processes are found to be lacking, a business should do all it can to rectify the situation. Plus, if there has been a data security breach, there needs to be a process in place to investigate not only how it occurred, but what can be done in the future to prevent it from happening again. 

While these processes can be time consuming, it is important to remember why they are legally required. Having the GDPR means that people can provide their personal data with confidence. Additionally, as the GDPR calls for data accuracy, that data can then be used more effectively. Given that so many businesses use personal data to be productive, data must be reliable and accurate to be usable. Maintaining data protection and privacy is fundamental to ensuring data remains credible.  

How to be compliant with data privacy with regards to the GDPR? 

The GDPR is a robust regulatory framework that can be intimidating at first. However, staying compliant with its data privacy rules can be a straightforward exercise if approached constructively. 

Firstly, an in-depth awareness of what the GDPR requires with respect to data privacy is necessary. 

Secondly, draw up a data privacy policy for you and your firm. If you need to access professional advice at this time, it can be helpful to do so - though there is a vast array of online resources that can help you do so too. Our library of resources at Contractbook, for example, is extensive

Thirdly, have review processes in place that check that you are staying true to data privacy laws. If those processes highlight any errors, take the time to rectify them and to ensure they are not repeated in the future. 

Finally, a company’s compliance with the GDPR requires firms to document what and how it adheres to the GDPR.  If you do not record your process and actions, you are already not adhering to the GDPR. Plus, you may rely on those very records in future to prove that you have followed the GDPR rules and you have not broken the law.  By documenting your actions, you are protecting yourself against possible legal action by authorities that could end in substantial fines and penalties. 

Why is a data privacy policy essential?

A data privacy policy is essential so that everyone at your company knows where your firm stands with regards to data security. It must be easily accessible to all so that your employees are empowered with the knowledge needed to help your firm remain GDPR compliant. A clear and straightforward data privacy policy lays bare how and why adhering to the policy is crucial for the business. It should help protect your business from any financial or reputational damage that can arise from data breaches. 

What is a data privacy officer?

A data privacy officer allocates an employee oversight of the data privacy process. That officer can be the go to person on all matters regarding data privacy, data security and the GDPR in general. They may also be known as a data protection officer. 

Being a data privacy officer does not have to be an entire role itself, instead, it can be part of a person’s job if your company is of a size that does not warrant a dedicated data privacy officer. However, it is required by the GDPR to appoint an individual to oversee data privacy and protection to ensure that it does not get overlooked and fall through the cracks.  

Data protection and privacy - overall takeaways

Ensuring that data is both private and protected is a key requirement for any company. Data breaches can cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation and bottom line as a result of loss of earnings and financial penalties. Not only that, at Contractbook we believe that handling data responsibly is the ethical thing to do

Allocating the right amount of time and resources to ensure compliance with the GDPR is therefore essential. While it can be so tempting to try to cut corners to improve profit margins, doing so at the expense of a robust data privacy policy is not the place to start. Plus with so much information regarding GDPR compliance now available on the internet, and software like ours that helps implement it in an automated way, there is no reason to overlook this vital task. 

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