The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is often considered the strictest regulation in the world for securing users’ private data. It applies to all organizations that process the personal data of European Union citizens and residents, and the fines for non-compliance can reach up to €20 million.
This article explores the nature of this regulation, lists its fundamental principles, and offers a checklist for meeting GDPR compliance requirements. This article will be helpful for companies that already follow the GDPR and for those who are going to enter the European Union market.
What is the GDPR?
The GDPR is a data privacy and security regulation adopted by the European Union (EU). It imposes obligations on all organizations that collect and process the personal data of EU residents, even if these organizations operate outside the EU.
The GDPR provides EU residents with control over their personal data and obliges organizations to:
- Gather, collect, and manage personal data legally and according to strict rules
- Protect data from misuse and exploitation
- Respect the rights of data owners
What is personal data?
Under GDPR, this means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (Data Subject), an identifiable natural person can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as:
It’s also important to be familiar with specific terms the GDPR introduces to define roles associated with data handling: data controllers, data subjects, and data processors.
Who must comply with the GDPR?
Any organization that stores or processes personal information about EU residents is obliged to comply with the GDPR, even if the organization is located outside the EU.
Yet, there are some nuances. For instance, organizations that have fewer than 250 employees are free from the majority of record-keeping obligations (see Article 30.5), though they still have to meet other GDPR requirements.
However, even if your organization employs fewer than 250 people, you might be obliged to keep records according to strict GDPR rules in case of your processing of personal data:
- is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects
- is not occasional
- includes special categories of data as referred to in Article 9
- includes personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences described in Article 10
Why should you comply with the GDPR?
Meeting GDPR compliance regulations isn’t only about complying with mandatory requirements. It can also help your organization do the following:
Protect personal data
GDPR articles implement high standards for personal data security, obliging data controllers and processors to secure “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.”
Maintain your reputation
Neglecting data privacy regulations may affect your reputation. It could be that a data breach will lead to investigations, fines, and potential lawsuits. Staying compliant with GDPR requirements helps you maintain a reputation as a trustworthy and professional organization. And ensuring secure data processing is a reliable way to minimize the risk of security incidents.
Increase customer loyalty
People want to know that their data is safe and control it, mainly since the GDPR has ensured their rights. Therefore, customers and businesses are more likely to choose a trustworthy and GDPR compliant service provider or subcontractor than a non-compliant one.
Avoid fines and penalties
Article 83 of the GDPR states that the maximum fine for non-compliance is up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million (whichever is greater). Fines for GDPR non-compliance depend on multiple factors, including:
- the duration and severity of the violation
- the degree of cooperation with the supervisory authority
- the categories of personal data affected
Ensuring GDPR compliance requires a deep understanding of the regulation. So before proceeding to the checklist on GDPR compliance, let’s take a quick look at the key principles behind the GDPR.
Key principles of the GDPR
GDPR requirements are based on the seven principles laid out in Chapter 2. They embody the main ideas of the regulation and explain the key reasons for implementing all requirements.
Compliance with these principles is essential for good data protection in general and compliance with the detailed provisions of the GDPR in particular.
Contact us to learn more about how SPG Controls can help your business in GDPR compliance.