Everything You Need to Know about GDPR Compliance

Posted on April 7, 2021 - by Laird Wilton - in GDPR

Everything You Need Know about GDPR Compliance GDPR compliant

Rising cybercrime rates and the irresponsible management of private data led to the European Union (EU) passing sweeping data protection laws in 2018. GDPR is a response to consumers becoming more careful and conscious of their data privacy, wanting organizations to improve the way they manage and share a customer’s personal information

Today’s organizations collect massive amounts of personal information in the course of normal business operations. The intent behind collecting this information is often to provide better services, target high-value customers, and develop new services or products. As customers consent to these practices, companies must abide by the rights and protections granted to users. GDPR is the framework the EU uses to enforce these rights.

Quick Questions and Answers about the EU’s GDPR

Failure to comply with GDPR can open up organizations to legal repercussions and financial penalties. To help you understand the risks, here is a detailed GDPR overview for your SaaS business. 

What Does GDPR Stand For?

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) applies to any company that manages personal data from EU citizens. Non-compliant organizations can face hefty fines if a breach occurs, even if the contravening entity isn’t a European company. Since 2018, data protection authorities have issued more than 590 fines and penalties, according to CMS law’s enforcement tracker

Which Countries Does GDPR Affect?

GDPR covers all of the EU’s Member States and its citizens. Entities that offer services and collect data from users inside the EU’s territory need to comply with all the provisions. In some cases, individual Member States may have additional requirements from country-specific data protection regulations like the United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act (DPA). 

How Do GDPR and DPA Affect My Business?

GDPR and DPA laws grant EU citizens greater control over their data by giving them certain rights. The regulations include provisions governing how companies should collect, store, transmit, and secure personal information. 

Personal information includes data like:

  • email addresses
  • bank details
  • photos
  • names
  • social media websites
  • location details
  • medical data
  • a computer’s IP address

For businesses, there is no distinction between an individual person and another business, including their employees. 

Who Enforces GDPR?

Each Member State has its own supervisory authority, responsible for implementing, monitoring, and enforcing compliance. Some EU countries also have stricter controls, and these should form part of your GDPR compliance framework if you operate in those regions. 

Businesses should use the supervisory authorities as the first point of contact to clarify any personal data protection questions or concerns. 

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) symbol

What Are GDPR’s Requirements?

The regulations define two types of responsible entities, namely a controller or a processor. Controllers are entities that collect data for either internal or outsourced processing, while processors are any entity that stores or manages data on behalf of controllers. 

Regardless of which type of entity your business falls under, you’ll need to:

  • Get the consent of customers before collecting and processing personal data
  • Anonymize all collected data to protect customer privacy
  • Provide data breach notifications to the relevant supervising authority quickly
  • Establish data protection controls that help ensure the safe handling and transfer of personal information
  • Grant users the right to be forgotten if they withdraw their consent
  • Appoint a data protection officer in certain companies that remain responsible for compliance

How Can the EU Enforce Laws on U.S. Only Companies?

The EU doesn’t enforce laws on U.S.-only companies but does require any company that interacts with personal data from an EU citizen to comply with GDPR. Many U.S.-only companies may not expect to deal with customers from the EU, but an estimated 52% already processed EU personal data by 2016. 

How to Get GDPR Compliance Certification

Compliance certification falls under Article 42 of the GDPR, and you can obtain one from a “competent supervisory authority.” There are several different certification bodies accredited by the EU. Organizations can also certify under the ISO 27001 Information Security Management System and Cyber Essentials standard. 

Is There a Template to Become GDPR Compliant?

SaaS vendors will need to ensure compliance with GDPR if they wish to grow the EU’s business. The quickest way to comply is to ensure you establish a comprehensive data protection framework that covers all elements of the GDPR’s requirements. The EU does provide different templates, such as filing a breach notification, but compliance will depend on the information security policies and procedures you establish in your company. 

Ensuring GDPR Compliance with Securicy

With the EU ramping up enforcement of the GDPR, every organization needs to consider its current security systems and data protection frameworks. Securicy helps organizations establish a robust, comprehensive, and effective security policy and implement the necessary data protection controls in their business. 

With automated compliance checks, you can quickly evaluate your current information security framework and prioritize the gaps that may put the company at risk of not complying. Securicy can assist you with compliance with various frameworks such as SOC 2, HIPAA, ISO 27001, and GDPR. To streamline your GDPR compliance and ensure you build a robust data protection framework in your company, get in touch or book a demo with Securicy today.

One easy thing you can do to get started now? Check out our free “GDPR for Beginners” eBook which includes a 10-item checklist to help you get GDPR compliant now.

Get the GDPR for Beginners eBook

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About the author

Laird Wilton is a tech entrepreneur, Techstars alumni, board member, and the COO and Co-Founder of Securicy. Securicy’s SaaS offering guides businesses through creating, implementing, and managing their information security and privacy compliance program.

Laird lives in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia with his wife and young family. When not working, he spends his time traveling with his family, coaching minor football, playing hockey and volunteering at his community’s recreation center.