General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Understanding How Data Privacy Law Works
Article by Sonit Jain, CEO of GajShield Infotech
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of data privacy and protection laws implemented across all the countries in the European Union (EU) since May 2018. GDPR was designed to address data privacy concerns related to personal data transfer within the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA). The set of laws also regulate the data privacy norms for digital information flowing from the EU and EEA to external areas and vice versa. The GDPR was created to enhance the ease of information transfer and data security in international trade and business. GDPR’s guidelines intend to hand individuals and organizations a greater degree of control over their personal data.
GDPR makes it necessary for organizations to develop specified data security infrastructures as well as “appropriate technical principles” to govern user data and who can see and manipulate it. The rules regarding the disclosure or confirmation of private data of an individual or an organization to authorized external entities are also enlisted in the laws.
GDPR is built around a few pillars for enhanced user data protection. These pillars form the bedrock of GDPR and dictate its working for governments and organizations coming under its umbrella. Some of them are enlisted below:
Boosted transparency in data security frameworks
Simple and straightforward data security actions and policies won’t cut it for organisations attempting to stay in line with GDPR guidelines. Organizations must manage their operational user data competently in order to meet GDPR transparency requirements. According to GDPR, organisations need to be transparent with regards to their data collection, utility and management. Organizations are obligated to share details related to these processes with their customers, business partners and other connected stakeholders. The transparency criteria also include designated GDPR regulators for organisations. Moreover, the details must be shared in ‘simple and easily legible and comprehensible language for all users.
Apart from that, data access rights and laws surrounding them have been strengthened. As a result, data experts in organisations will need to notify the stakeholders (and, in some cases, seek their permission) before processing operational data.
Additionally, transparency also means that organisations have to inform regulators and other important stakeholders about data breaches and cyber-attacks in their networks. This information transfer is mandatory and needs to be done promptly. Additionally, measures taken to prevent and mitigate such incidents must also be clarified by organisations.
GDPR promotes transparency to enhance the flow of information between all the parties involved in an organisation’s daily work. Also, the concepts of data minimisation (using data for only the most vital tasks) and purpose limitation (limiting the needless reasons for collecting data from customers) are applied in organisations under the authority of GDPR.
Heavy penalties for compliance failure
GDPR is the strictest set of data privacy laws in the world based on the degree of monetary penalties meted out to organizations that do not fall in line with its regulations. GDPR empowers its compliance regulators to hand massive penalties to organizations that have failed to consistently upgrade their data security infrastructure or have not maintained adequate levels of data transparency with their stakeholders.
Data infringements can be punished with penalties of up to 4 percent of annual turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher. Additionally, if organizations do not share information about data breaches or cyber-attacks on time, they will have to pay up to 2 percent of their turnover or €10 million, whichever is higher. The cherry on the cake? Organizations can lose their right to obtain and process data at all, the business equivalent of lethal injection for most businesses (especially the ones involved in B2C operations).
GDPR needs harsh punishments so that organizations can value their stakeholders’ data more and also place greater emphasis on keeping every involved player in the loop at all times.
Enhanced integrity and data confidentiality
In addition to closely monitoring how organisations manage their data, GDPR also deals with matters related to data security within such entities. Integrity and data confidentiality are prominent aspects of GDPR. The GDPR also makes it mandatory for organisations to process user data with adequate cybersecurity measures to prevent illegal usage and breach. Any data damage or theft caused as a result of negligence at the end of organisations will be penalised.
The GDPR deliberately does not enlist exact and specific data security measures that organisations should take. As we know, technology and cyber threats are constantly changing. So, having fixed and static lines of action cannot be ideal for dealing with dangerous threats. Organisations are obligated to encrypt and/or pseudonymise user data along all possible communication channels with tools and systems suitable and economically viable for them.
Restricted data storage in company databases
The GDPR directs organizations to delete user data after it is no longer required for work operations. As a result, organizations cannot use those records for future purposes. In the future, organizations will need to seek permission again to gather information from customers. The principle works in this way — organizations can only collect and store data until an individual is using their services.
The time for which user data can be stored is variable for organizations in different sectors. For instance, sectors such as healthcare and insurance will need to store personal information belonging to their customers for longer periods, while industries in hospitality may not need their customer’s information once they are done with using their services. Apart from restrictions on storage, GDPR also makes it essential for organizations to maintain high levels of accuracy in the data they are keeping. So, special efforts must be made to delete incorrect or dated information from company databases everywhere.
Gajshield understands the numerous requirements of data security that organizations need for their daily functioning. Their cybersecurity professionals and high-quality products can be used by organisations across several field.
About the author
With over 26 years of industry experience, Mr. Sonit Jain has been working in the area of Information Technology since 1993. If you are working on any cybersecurity-related story, please do touch base, Sonit Jain would be pleased to contribute to the same.