GDPR Compliance: The Basics

Posted by: Aimee Sanders

Over the past few months, it has become increasingly hard to ignore the influx of emails from the various companies in your inbox. With each one highlighting the numerous changes that have been made to the privacy policies of each company, it seems much easier to delete the emails than bother with the mundane changes that don’t seem to affect our daily lives.

However, with the European Union’s installment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), paying attention to these policy updates is critical for continued business success. European and American companies alike have been scrambling to ensure they are fully compliant with the GDPR. Although enacted by the European Union, the GDPR’s influence will still reach far outside of European borders, even having an impact on U.S. businesses. Let’s take a quick look at what that may mean for you:

What is GDPR?

GDPR Infrastructure Security Lock, GDPR ComplianceThe GDPR went into full effect on May 25, 2018. From this day forward, all companies and corporations wanting to operate in the EU member states or serve individuals in these states must be fully GDPR compliant to do so. The GDPR makes it mandatory for businesses to use plain, easy-to-understand language within their privacy policies and user agreements. The EU’s goal here is to limit the consumer confusion and hidden clauses that often accompanies complicated legal jargon. With the installation of the GDPR, consumers now will be able to easily comprehend what they are agreeing to in each privacy policy. Companies and corporations must also explicitly acquire your consent to keep, store, and use any of your personal data.

Additionally, businesses must provide an option to all consumers which allows them to opt out of the data collection pool at any time, while also providing an option for consumers to obtain a copy of their personal data upon demand. The GDPR also made it illegal for companies to share or sell client data without their consent. To even further carry out their goal, the EU’s parliament went on to change the laws to protect consumers from data breaches as well. Per GDPR compliance, all organizations are now required to disclose that they’ve been hit by a breach within 72 hours after discovering the attack. Such changes highlight the EU’s ultimate goals of increasing transparency in business, and creating a trust-filled relationship between company and consumer.

How Does GDPR Impact U.S. Businesses?

Although the GDPR was enacted by the European Union, it still applies to all United States based businesses that want to be available to international consumers. Ultimately, you never know who may visit your website, and from where they may be visiting from. In fact, visitors to your web page may even be United States citizens that are accessing your site while on vacation in Europe. Despite this kind of situation, companies are still responsible for being GDPR compliant for these consumers. Therefore, most experts suggest ensuring that your organization’s policies are compliant with the GDPR regardless of your current location.

Upon inspection, companies and corporations that fail to comply with the GDPR are faced with high fines. The EU’s new legislation would force a non-compliant business to pay up to 20 Million Euros, or four percent (4%) of their global income, whichever is greater. With such crushing consequences, it becomes apparent that failure to comply with the GDPR could cost you your business itself.

How Do You Become GDPR Compliant?

The first major step companies must take to ensure compliance with the GDPR is to take a hard look at what data they collect, why they collect it, and how they store it. Every piece of personal data collected must have been agreed to by that consumer as of May 25, 2018. In fact, even storing old data that was collected without consent before the arrival of the GDPR is now illegal. Business must either obtain new consent for this data, or either delete all records and start fresh.

Most importantly, all personal data must be collected and stored in a secure location. This means that saving client data in a spreadsheet on your local computer drive will no longer satisfy security requirements. Instead, businesses must turn to using a secure, protected server with strict limitations on who has access to what files. In a technological era where Malware and DDoS attacks run wild, there has never been a better time to find a way to secure your sensitive files and data.

GDPR Compliant iCOR by M-Files ECM System InfographTo ensure GDPR compliance, many companies are turning to solutions that are compliant out-of-the-box. And one way to ensure you’re protecting sensitive information is by managing it properly, within an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. An ECM solution that’s GDPR compliant can fulfill your security and record management needs. Industry-leading ECM systems, such as iCOR by M-Files, are compliant and encrypted both at-rest and in-motion to ensure that your data is protected regardless of where you are. Such systems provide a foolproof data storage alternative that allow you to continue utilizing programs such as Microsoft Excel and Outlook without having to worry about the security of your files. iCOR by M-Files also gives you the option to control user access to each individual file, meaning only those who are authorized to view a document will be able to. With such hefty fines for noncompliance, more business owners than ever are turning to ECM as their solution.

Still Have Questions?

Navigating your way through the GDPR requirements can be overwhelming, that’s why we’re here to help. If you are interested in how an ECM can help you with GDPR compliance, talk to us. Fill out the form below for more information, or Contact Us to connect with a COR365 representative. 

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