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GDPR and what it means for your business

Friday, 4 May 2018

It’s hard not to have heard about the new data protection laws coming into force later this month – everyone is talking about GDPR and what it means for them, what they have to do about it and when they have to do it by. There is a lot of conflicting opinion online about who the new laws affect and the implications for UK businesses both small and large.

The new law will come into force from 25 May 2018 across the entire EU. Even though the UK is planning to leave the EU next year, the regulations apply to any company that will handle EU residents’ data, specifying what type of data a business may collect, how it should be stored and used. This means that the vast majority of UK businesses need to take note as companies could be fined for not complying. A lot of UK businesses seem to be under the false impression that the laws won’t affect them because they don’t process or hold much data, they therefore assume they’re exempt – the important thing to remember is that every business that has dealings in the EU must adhere.

The ico (information commissioner’s office) are the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. They have published a Guide to the GDPR which explains the provisions of the GDPR to help organisations comply with its requirements as well as a number of tools to help organisations to prepare for the GDPR.

The Guide breaks down and explains the 12 steps that businesses need to take if they haven’t already:

  1. Awareness You should make sure that decision makers and key people in your organisation are aware that the law is changing to the GDPR. They need to appreciate the impact this is likely to have.
  2. Information you hold You should document what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with. You may need to organise an information audit.
  3. Communicating privacy information You should review your current privacy notices and put a plan in place for making any necessary changes in time for GDPR implementation.
  4. Individuals’ rights You should check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights individuals have, including how you would delete personal data or provide data electronically and in a commonly used format.
  5. Subject access requests You should update your procedures and plan how you will handle requests within the new timescales and provide any additional information.
  6. Lawful basis for processing personal data You should identify the lawful basis for your processing activity in the GDPR, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it.
  7. Consent You should review how you seek, record and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes. Refresh existing consents now if they don’t meet the GDPR standard.
  8. Children You should start thinking now about whether you need to put systems in place to verify individuals’ ages and to obtain parental or guardian consent for any data processing activity
  9. Data breaches You should make sure you have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.
  10. Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments You should familiarise yourself now with the ICO’s code of practice on Privacy Impact Assessments as well as the latest guidance from the Article 29 Working Party, and work out how and when to implement them in your organisation.
  11. Data Protection Officers You should designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within your organisation’s structure and governance arrangements. You should consider whether you are required to formally designate a Data Protection Officer.
  12. International If your organisation operates in more than one EU member state (ie you carry out cross-border processing), you should determine your lead data protection supervisory authority. Article 29 Working Party guidelines will help you do this.

Read and download the Guide:
Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – 12 steps to take now