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Data pro­tec­tion is a grow­ing con­cern for busi­ness­es. The more data you store on your servers, the more oblig­a­tions you have to pro­tect indi­vid­u­als. Per­son­al data includes cus­tomers, employ­ees, sup­pli­ers, prospects, and any oth­er orga­ni­za­tions you deal with.

In recent years, data pro­tec­tion laws have made mar­ket­ing strate­gies for busi­ness­es more com­pli­cat­ed. The intro­duc­tion of Europe’s Gen­er­al Data Pro­tec­tion Reg­u­la­tions (GDPR) means that busi­ness­es of all sizes are oblig­at­ed to pro­tect con­sumer data.

Although GDPR was passed by Euro­pean courts to pro­tect res­i­dents of EU coun­tries, the reg­u­la­tions are far-reach­ing. Busi­ness­es all over the world are poten­tial­ly affect­ed. If a Euro­pean cit­i­zen pro­vides you with per­son­al details, you are bound by data pro­tec­tion reg­u­la­tions.

Any form of mar­ket­ing that involves col­lect­ing per­son­al data such as names, address­es, emails, or phone num­bers is sub­ject to GDPR. Under­stand­ing how data pro­tec­tion laws impact your busi­ness is crit­i­cal, as fail­ing to do so can result in hefty fines.

Permissions and Privacy Policies

One of the imme­di­ate effects of GDPR is the oblig­a­tion to inform your website’s vis­i­tors on how you col­lect and use their data. This is eas­i­ly done so by includ­ing GDPR com­pli­ant word­ing in your pri­va­cy pol­i­cy.

The pri­va­cy pol­i­cy must express whether you use cook­ies and whether you share data with third par­ties. Busi­ness­es that work with sup­pli­ers or part­ners are oblig­at­ed to request con­sent to share their infor­ma­tion. You can do this by ask­ing cus­tomers to tick a box to con­firm they have read your pri­va­cy pol­i­cy and agree to the terms.

Data Controller Versus Data Processor

For the most part, GDPR oblig­a­tions are eas­i­ly resolved. How­ev­er, dif­fi­cul­ties arise when busi­ness­es share data with third par­ties. Under such cir­cum­stances, it is impor­tant to under­stand the dif­fer­ence between a data con­troller and a data proces­sor.

Data con­trollers are respon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing the pri­va­cy and rights of indi­vid­u­als. Any per­son­al data must be appro­pri­ate­ly secured from cyber­crim­i­nals. There are occa­sions when the data con­troller (your busi­ness) releas­es con­trol of data to a third-par­ty ser­vice (ser­vice provider, part­ner, pay­ment gate­way, Google Ana­lyt­ics).

In such cir­cum­stances, the data proces­sor is only respon­si­ble for pro­cess­ing the data. Because they do not own data, third par­ties are not legal­ly respon­si­ble for the han­dling and secu­ri­ty of the data.

It is the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the data con­troller to imple­ment appro­pri­ate tech­ni­cal and orga­ni­za­tion­al mea­sures. More­over, in the event of a breach, you must noti­fy reg­u­la­tors with­in 72 hours.

Fail­ure to install appro­pri­ate secu­ri­ty pro­to­cols will result in a fine should your sys­tem be breached. Fines are typ­i­cal­ly 4% of your glob­al annu­al turnover or 20 mil­lion euros, whichev­er is high­er.

Bottom Line

The prin­ci­ples of data pro­tec­tion laws help busi­ness­es ensure the per­son­al details of their staff, clients, and cus­tomers are prop­er­ly pro­tect­ed.

Ensur­ing data pro­tec­tion poli­cies are met is cru­cial, as the effects of non-com­pli­ance can be dev­as­tat­ing for busi­ness­es and their own­ers. If you are unsure whether your com­pa­ny has installed the appro­pri­ate data secu­ri­ty mea­sures, it is advis­able to con­sult legal advi­sors with exper­tise in data pro­tec­tion leg­is­la­tion.

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