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GDPR: Everything You Need to Know and More

Two young professionals discussing information on a computer.

Many Canadians and Americans are asking the same question: is my information protected online?

The privacy and protection of personal information online is more of a hot topic than ever before. The European Union (EU) has recognized this issue by implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR not only affects the way online data and personal information is collected, stored, and used in the EU, but around the world as well.

In this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at the GDPR, discover how it can affect your business, and see how you can become compliant.

What is the GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was set in place by the European Union (EU) to protect the personal data of EU citizens on the Internet. The EU requires everyone to be compliant by May 25th, 2018. This regulation affects all businesses, companies, and individuals in all industries.

Nobody is exempt from this regulation.

The GDPR legally requires you to protect any and all personal information in your possession that belongs to a citizen of the EU. This includes information about your clients, suppliers, and employees that are residents of the EU.

Here are a few ways that the regulation intends to protect consumers:

  1. Consent: users will be provided with a simplified opportunity to agree and sign-off that must be easily understood, be highly accessible, have a clear purpose and have a way to opt out.
  2. Stronger Penalties: a security breach could cost a company up to 20 million Euros or 4% of their annual revenue.
  3. Worldwide Protection: this applies to all EU citizens, even if they live out of the country.
  4. Breach Notifications: if there is a breach in data that could result in a risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals, it needs to be reported within 72 hours of discovery or the company/business could face penalties.
  5. Consumer Rights: the user is provided with full access to their information and the ability to monitor, control and delete if necessary.
  6. Improved Systems: every business and company must have a complete system in place before May 25th to provide users with enhanced privacy and protection of their data.
  7. Protection for Minors: parental consent is required for children up to the age of 16 years old.

How Does it Affect My Business?

If your business is located in the United States or Canada, you might think that automatically exempts you. Wrong!

Just because your business isn’t in the EU, doesn’t mean that at one point or another that you won’t process the information of a citizen of the EU. You could block all EU users and avoid the issue completely, but that would deprive your company of any business across the pond. That could be especially detrimental if you run a multi-international company.

Your other option is to comply with the GDPR.

What Can I Do to Become Compliant?

There are a few things that your business or company can do to become GDPR compliant. You must always handle personal information with care. This means using the correct system and process to handle delicate and private information, while ensuring that your team understands the importance of being compliant.

You must also provide each user with full access to their information. This includes, but is not limited to, allowing the user to access, control, move, monitor, and even delete their information. This provides the user with unlimited control over their own personal information.

The GDPR highly encourages that companies and businesses implement a streamlined process combined with pseudonymization, anonymization, and encryption.

Pseudonymization

A data management and de-identification procedure that includes personally-identifiable information fields within a data record that can be replaced by a single or multiple artificial identifier(s), or pseudonyms.

Anonymization

The process of encrypting or removing personally-identifiable information from data sets to secure privacy. Maintains the anonymity of personal information.

Encryption

Encryption is the process of converting information into a code. This is done to prevent unauthorized access, especially for sensitive or personal information.

Some things that you can do to ensure you’re compliant include informing IT and communication departments of newly-implemented strategies, hiring a data protection officer or assigning those duties to an existing employee or team, complete an in-depth audit of your data security system, implement privacy-enhancing tools, or even work with a third-party tool that specializes in GPDR compliancy.

If you have any questions about the GDPR, how it affects you, or how to become compliant, feel free to get in touch with our team of experienced and knowledgeable digital marketing experts today. Our team has developed a series of protocols and techniques, combined with many advanced tools, to ensure that all of our clients are GDPR compliant.

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