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There are various laws and regulations surrounding the use of personal data and what constitutes an invasion of a person’s privacy. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a law that governs the privacy of individuals and access to their private information. This law isn’t just about gaining permission to use data but is also centered around securing information that’s stored by a business.

What is GDPR?

Privacy is a personal right which is expected to be upheld even in today’s digital world. Throughout the years, businesses started to use their target audience’s personal data, including digital data, for their marketing campaigns and didn’t consider their consent, leading governments to initiate regulations.

So, what is GDPR and how does it help to ensure that privacy laws are upheld by businesses? GDPR is one of the privacy regulations initiated by the governments towards this problem. It’s a regulation set out by the European Union (EU) to ensure citizens’ privacy is upheld.

The GDPR has looked to protect the data and privacy of those who fall within the EU, but this reflects on any website or electronic device that’s used within this space, and therefore has an impact all over the world. This means that even if your business is located outside of Europe, if you’re marketing to European citizens or communicating with individuals located in Europe, you need to ensure that you’re doing so with their consent. Businesses that fail to comply with GDPR face severe penalties and fines. It’s therefore extremely important that the GDPR be upheld, no matter who you’re or how big a business it is. 

What Has GDPR Changed in the Online World?

GDPR has had a significant impact on how the flow of data is allowed to run and which people have access to certain information. Though you may be using an online service, such as banking or online shopping, a business doesn’t have the right to take your personal data and use it for its own personal benefit. That means businesses have had to change the way they operate and ensure they’ve collected consent and act accordingly.

This has also affected the online world. The new business model of collecting personal data across the internet and selling it to companies as their marketing opportunity was impacting consumers and their privacy. Now, with GDPR and similar laws, this is forbidden. This regulation has made businesses more accountable for their actions and has ensured that they need to be transparent. This transparency has changed the way that the internet and online transactions work, protecting users and ensuring that a business is accountable for the information that they hold.

Who and What Does the GDPR Cover?

GDPR covers any business or entity that can access and store the user data of individuals who live in the EU. If you’re wondering “What is personal data under GDPR?”, you should think of this as any information that an internet user trusts you with, from their home address to their bank account information. This also includes information like cell phone numbers, age and even email addresses. 

The guidelines of GDPR covering any person in the EU means that even a country that is based in America but has information on users that reside in the EU, has to follow this regulation. This protects EU citizens from having their data used without their permission anywhere in the world. This also helps citizens who reside outside of the EU as most international corporations will abide by the same regulations for each user that they store information. 

Which Industries are Affected by GDPR?

Any industry that stores and uses the data of its customers needs to comply with GDPR. As personal information is exchanged across digital channels more frequently, businesses in all industries must comply with regulations around the security of the information that they hold. 

This has meant that any business that gathers information from sources that live within the EU has to secure the information and is only allowed to store or use it with the permission of the user. Along with protecting those within the EU, GDPR also affects those who live outside this region. If a business can hold any information that may come from those who reside in the EU, they’ll need to follow this regulation. If you’re a business that operates internationally or within any region of the EU, it’s incredibly important that you’re compliant with the GDPR. At this point, “What is GDPR compliance and how is it achieved?” questions arise. You can find the answers to these questions in the section below.

What is GDPR Compliance and How is it Achieved?

GDPR compliance involves a business following the rules and regulations set out by this law and ensuring that they’re abiding by the protocols set out. This compliance involves more than just requesting permission for use by users and is also centered around how secure the data that is stored is. This is to avoid information being stolen from a business and being used for purposes other than what the user has agreed to, making both data privacy and data security important. For a business to be compliant with GDPR, they’ve to take the following principles into account. 

  • Integrity and confidentiality: If a business or entity holds data with the permission of the user, it’s their responsibility to ensure that this information is fully protected. Businesses have to ensure the data is stored safely and up to date with the owner’s consent. This liability falls within GDPR compliance and it’s therefore extremely important for a business to manage the security of the data that they store and use. 
  • Storage limitation: A business is limited by what it can store. Under this regulation, a business can only store data that they have been permitted to hold. Along with this, they’re also only able to use the data for things that the user has permitted. 
  • Accountability: A business needs to keep track of how and when they use the data. A company needs to keep a record of the permissions that they were given concerning accessing this data. Without this documentation, it can’t be proven whether or not a user has allowed their information to be stored and used. 
  • Transparency and Accuracy: For a business to be compliant with GDPR they have to be transparent with the actions that they take with the data that they use. To be transparent, a business has to be sure they inform the user of when and how their information will be used. If you’re using the information, it’s up to the business to get permission from the user to use their data in this new way. You can’t simply access it without permission.

What Should Companies Consider With Regard to GDPR?

It’s important to think about how a business should ensure that they’re compliant with GDPR. Following the rules set out will ensure a business can use the data they gain access to without breaking any of the regulations that protect the user. The following is a look into the different aspects of GDPR that should be considered. 

Document Management

If a business has your personal information on file, it’ll need to ensure that this documentation is properly managed. Document management is an integral part of abiding by the GDPR and businesses need to take how this is done into consideration. The management of documents isn’t only important to protect the user but it can also ensure that businesses aren’t at risk of being sued if they have done nothing wrong. A large part of document management is keeping all information about the user on file in a secure location. This includes any documentation that permits for the business to use the personal data of the user. 

Different systems can be put in place to ensure that documents and data are managed correctly. A business needs to ensure they’re using the best programs that can efficiently and effectively store personal data. It’s also vital that the systems in place are completely secured. If a business doesn’t properly secure the data that they have and is hacked, they’re liable for the information being stolen. A user trusts a business with their personal and banking information. So it’s important that a business respects this trust and does all that it can to ensure that the information they have is completely secured. 

Strong Communication with The Relevant Party

Communication channels are an important part of any business and maintaining a strong line of communication with both employees and consumers is vital to success. When it comes to complying with GDPR, strong lines of communication need to be formed with the users that you have as well as with the parties responsible for keeping information safe and secure. A large part of being compliant with GDPR is ensuring that the information and data that is stored is safe and secure. By having good communication with the relevant parties involved in the storing of this data, a business can ensure that they’re in compliance.

Another large part of being GDPR compliant is that you’re only using the information that you have access to with the permission of the user or customer. You need to ensure that you’re continuously updating users if the methods and way that you’re using GDPR change according to your needs. You’ll need to again ask for access and get approval for any activities whereby their personal data is being used as they may not agree with what you’re hoping to do with this information. Getting consent and staying in communication with all the relevant parties involved in the accessing and using of data is a vital part of maintaining your GDPR compliance.

Violation Management

You may now be concerned about your own compliance and asking yourself “What’s a breach of GDPR?”. If the GDPR has been breached and you have used or are responsible for someone else using a user’s personal data, you need to ensure that you have a management team set up to deal with the repercussions that follow from this. Violation management is an important aspect to consider, particularly if your data has been breached in any way. If a data breach does occur, you have to inform users immediately and act quickly to ensure that they’re aware of the issue. As you’re liable for breaches, this’ll involve you having to pay a penalty fine. You must have a team set up that is capable of dealing with the issues surrounding a breach.

What are the Opportunities of GDPR?

While many may be assuming that GDPR can harm your business, if you follow all rules and regulations and ensure that the data that you collect is safe, this regulation can actually work to your advantage. The GDPR has instilled a sense of trust, particularly when it comes to relaying personal information over websites. While in the past, individuals may be hesitant to provide things like bank account information or home addresses.The security provided by the GDPR has changed the way that many feel about placing this information online. The consumer can rest assured that their personal information is completely safe and secure and that nothing will be done with it without their explicit permission. The accountability that has been placed on a business has made it possible for consumers to trust and rely on businesses today, making online transactions easier and more frequent. 

In today’s digital age, privacy is extremely important and having the tools to ensure that the information and data that you keep are safe and secure is vital. The GDPR has worked to ensure that businesses are accountable for the information that they store, which has meant that they’re more likely to put better and stronger security systems in place. This has changed the way that the online world works and has ensured that the user remains safe from the threat of hackers. As a business, keeping your users happy is vital and with the procedures and regulations outlined in the GDPR. You can work towards providing an environment that stimulates trust between customers and the brands that they buy from. 

Make Sure Your Data is Safely Stored and Your Communication Preferences are Up-to-Date With SmartMessage!

Storing the data that you collect from customers safely is vital to ensuring that you’re GDPR compliant. Our team here at SmartMessage can help you stay up-to-date with GDPR compliance and help ensure that the data you collect is legally obtained and stored within a secure network. For more information on how we can make sure your data is safely stored and your communication preferences are up-to-date, be sure to contact us today.