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GDPR Compliant

How to keep your Website and Business GDPR Compliant in 2023

I bet you hear the acronym GDPR thrown around all the time. What is GDPR and how does it affect your business online?  GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a set of rules that came into effect on May 25th, 2018 and affects every business in the world.

The aim is to give citizens more control over their personal data, but it also places strict rules on how companies can use customer information. This means we have to think differently about how we store customer data to secure it from unauthorised access by third parties.

As more businesses look to digital marketing to scale their business, ensuring your website and all marketing activities you carry out on it and across other channels in your business are GDPR compliant has become increasingly important.

So, what does this mean for your business? Well, the GDPR is an EU-wide piece of legislation that all companies operating in the EU must follow. If they don’t, they could be fined up to 10 million euros or up to 2% of their annual global revenue—whichever figure is higher. So yeah, it’s pretty important!

In this article, we discuss essential tips for keeping your business GDPR compliant and avoiding legal pitfalls that could arise from data breaches.

1. Understanding GDPR

In order to be compliant, you need to know exactly what personal data you collect—and how you can use it. It’s important that your employees are also aware of this information and have a clear understanding of how they should handle it. Conduct annual privacy audits. Make sure your company is conducting regular checks on its compliance with the GDPR by having an outside third party conduct an audit periodically.

Document the data you collect and why. The GDPR requires businesses to document why they’re collecting personal information, as well as how long they’ll store it for before deleting or destroying it. This documentation has to be made available upon request by users who wish to access their own personal information under Article 15 of the GDPR.

2. Conduct regular data protection impact assessments (DPIAs)

DPIAs are a requirement under the GDPR for certain types of data processing activities. DPIAs help you identify and mitigate the risks associated with processing personal data.

If you don’t know what data you have, who has access to it, and how the information is being used, you could be violating GDPR rules unknowingly. You can conduct a privacy audit yourself or hire an external firm to do it for you. Either way, the process will involve;

  • Gathering employee feedback on their knowledge of GDPR.
  • Reviewing policies and procedures.
  • Conducting document review
  • Conducting interviews with key personnel regarding specific processes and their related security/privacy controls.

Some common issues that could lead to non-compliance with GDPR include;

  • Not having written consent from customers before collecting personal information
  • Failing to notify customers about how long their personal data will be kept for after taking the initial consent for collection.
  • Storing personal data longer than necessary (even if no longer required by law)
  • Not deleting all copies of an individual’s Personal Data after they request deletion.
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3. Document the data you collect and why

To be GDPR compliant, businesses must document the data they collect and why. This documentation should be visible to all staff and available to customers, regulators, and other stakeholders.

You might want to include some of these sections in your documentation:

  • How you collect data (e.g., cookies)
  • The type of information collected (e.g., name, email address)
  • What you use it for (e.g., marketing communications, KYC compliance)

4. Review and update your privacy policy

Make sure your privacy policy is clear and easy to understand, and that it explains what personal data you collect, why you collect it, how you use it, and how you protect it. Be sure to obtain explicit, informed consent from individuals before collecting any personal data.

Often, the information you collect on your website is used for marketing purposes. Ensure that your privacy policy includes provisions on how you use this information for marketing purposes. If you work with digital marketing agencies, who might use this information for ad campaigns, you need to ensure that the provisions in your privacy policy also cover how such 3rd parties use customer information for marketing activities.

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5. Make it easy for users to change their information or be forgotten

The right to be forgotten is a concept that has been around for several years but became more relevant after GDPR. This is when an individual has the right to have their data removed from a website. This means that they can request that any information they provided be deleted from your database.

If you receive such a request and it’s reasonable, then you have to delete all personal data related to that individual. You must also delete any copies of those records including backups or printouts if there’s no legitimate reason for keeping them around.

If you don’t comply with this request within 30 days from receiving it, then you may not only face penalties under GDPR law but also potentially be liable for damages awarded by courts in case of legal action taken against your business as well! This could mean a significant financial liability for your business. So make sure your IT department knows about these requirements and how best practices are kept up-to-date.

6. Provide guidance on personal data handling to staff

Your employees need to have a clear understanding of their role in keeping personal data safe.

  • Provide them with the tools they need to do so. This could include access to an IT department or an internal company policy covering how personal data should be handled.
  • Ensure that you monitor staff performance and training on how to handle personal data, including best practice standards.
  • Ensure data safety by storing data in secure locations electronically or physically.

7. Appoint a data protection officer (DPO)

For big organisations that collect and process large amounts of personal data, or businesses whose core activities involve regular and systematic monitoring of personal information, you may be required to appoint a DPO. Check the data protection policies that apply to your business in this regard to ensure you are compliant and mitigate exposing your business to liability.

Businesses still need to ensure they are GDPR compliant so that they only utilise the data they need, with proper permissions and oversight.

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As you grow your business and collect more customer information, it’s important to take steps to ensure that your business is ready for the future of privacy regulations. GDPR can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. With the right planning and system in place, you can ensure that your website and business as a whole stays compliant with all applicable regulations while also boosting user trust and engagement.

Overall, GDPR compliance is an ongoing process, which requires regular review and updating, as well as internal training. Work with your web agency to improve your compliance with GDPR on an ongoing basis and take proactive measures to prevent data breaches. Also, be aware of the local legislation and regulations related to data protection, as GDPR is the EU regulation and other countries might have different regulations.

The points discussed in this article are not exhaustive, however, following these steps will help ensure your business stays GDPR-compliant in 2023 and beyond.

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