General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): What you need to know to stay compliant

GDPR is a regulation that requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states. And non-compliance could cost companies dearly. Here’s what every company that does business in Europe needs to know about GDPR.

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Create a plan to report your GDPR compliance progress: “With the clock ticking, organizations must demonstrate that they are making progress against completing the Record of Processing Activities (RoPA)—article 30 of the GDPR regulation which is centered around taking inventory of risky applications—to avoid being an easy target for regulators,” says Fisher. “Establishing the RoPA, is the essential piece to focus on at this stage in the game as it enables organizations to identify where personal data is being processed, who is processing it and how it is being processed.”

Implement measures to mitigate risk: Once you’ve identified the risks and how to mitigate them, you must put those measures into place. For most companies, that means revising existing risk mitigation measures. “Upon taking inventory of applications and completing the RoPA, the GDPR team can now spot and investigate any risks associated with the data and determine the appropriate level of security deemed necessary to protect that data,” says Fisher.

If your organization is small, ask for help if needed. Smaller companies will be affected by GDPR, some more significantly than others. They may not have the resources needed to meet requirements. Outside resources are available to provide advice and technical experts to help them through the process and minimize internal disruption.

Test incident response plans: The GDPR requires that companies report breaches within 72 hours. How well the response teams minimize the damage will directly affect the company’s risk of fines for the breach. Make sure you can adequately report and respond within the time period.

Set up a process for ongoing assessment: You want to ensure that you remain in compliance, and that will require monitoring and continuous improvement. Some companies are considering incentives and penalties to ensure that employees follow the new policies. According to a survey by Veritas Technologies, 47 percent of respondents will likely add mandatory GDPR policy observances to employee contracts. Twenty-five percent might withhold bonuses or benefits if a GDPR violation occurs, and 34 percent say they will reward employees for complying with GDPR.

Do all of this with an eye to improving your business: According to a survey by Varonis Systems, 74 percent of respondents believe that complying with GDPR requirements will be a competitive advantage. Compliance will boost consumer confidence. More importantly, the technical and process improvements necessary to meet GDPR requirements should enable efficiencies in how organizations manage and secure data.

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