As 2017 soon draws to a close, organisations across the globe will have to be as prepared as Boy Scouts and demonstrate they are reviewing all of their business processes that involve personal data. Regardless of where you’re located or where the data you’re processing come from, you’ll need to ensure that the data is transparent before new privacy rules come into place in May 2018.
Under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), personal data can flow between the 28 EU countries as well as Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. GDPR will impact every entity that holds or uses European personal data, both inside and outside of Europe. The relevance of GDPR is therefore not limited to Europe only, and the fines for non-compliance are massive.
Digitalisation is a double-edged sword when it comes to personal data. The convenience of online services and personalisation of business communications carry with them the potential for use and abuse by organisations we don’t want to do business with — and for purposes for which we have no need or interest. It’s not just annoying to get unsolicited contact, there is a real danger that our personal identity can be stolen and used for criminal activity and more.
Below are some aspects of GDPR compliance you need to take heed of:
In a white paper, Gartner identified accountability as one of the key steps to meeting the deadline for the GDPR . “Only a few organisations have actually identified every single process where personal data is involved,” Gartner said in the white paper, Focus on Five High-Priority Changes to Tackle EU GDPR.
Accountability is a process in itself; because transparency requirements lead to extended documentation and (internal) registration, business process owners must be formally appointed. Then, in order to be allowed to make decisions alone, subsidiaries in holding companies need to be mandated to act on behalf of the controller.
It is also time-consuming; if you are reviewing existing business processes where personal data is involved is undertaken for the first time, it can take from one week up to three months.
Outside parties in the processing operation have to comply with relevant requirements as well. Make sure their level of security matches your own, and ensure any data beyond the assigned retention periods is removed. Also, each outside party should have its own data protection officer. For many organisations, this could impact their supply, change management and procurement processes.
Accountability under the GDPR requires proper data subject consent acquisition and registration. Pre-checked boxes and implied consent are for the most part in the past. A clear and express action is needed. Subjects must know exactly what they agree to, so you should be clear on the data processed.
Here are some recommendations from Gartner that are worth you looking into:
The challenges cannot be understated and the penalties for breaches are stinging; for major violations the fines can be up to 4% of the global revenue of the previous year. For a large corporation, this could be very painful indeed.
Once you’re as responsible as a Boy Scout, you can move on to the next step: checking your cross-border data flows.
Article by Brenton Smith, Vice President, Software AG A/NZ.