The Helios Blogs

Bridging the Cultural & Communication Gap

With the enforcement of European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25th this year, there has been a fundamental twist in the relationship between companies that gather data and the users they collect it from.

Any company that collects information on European citizens is deemed identifiable under GDPR. As a software development company serving European clients for more than a decade, Helios Solutions is already a GDPR-compliant company now.

GDPR is a document of 88 pages containing almost a hundred articles. Does that sound too much to comprehend? No worries, we are breaking it down into five key points for you!

5 Key Points of GDPR that Demands Your Immediate Attention

1. Report data breaches within 72 hours

If your organization suffers a data breach, under GDPR requirements, you would need to gather all the related information, inform the relevant regulator within 72 hours and develop a containment plan thereafter.

Breaking down the entire reporting process into four primary steps:

  1. Conduct a thorough investigation.
  2. Report to the regulators and impacted individuals of the breach.
  3. Identify what personal data has been affected and how.
  4. Draft a comprehensive containment plan.

One thing worth noting here is that data breaches not necessarily always happen via external intrusions. It can also happen right under your nose by the hands of your own employees. Shocking, right? But it’s true.

Sending an email to the wrong person accidentally, interns gaining access to crucial information while carrying out their research or a third-party you are currently doing business is not GDPR compliant could be few potential risks of data leaks.

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2. Make data protection an inherent part of your organization’s design

Besides having to report data breaches, you would also need to have technical and organizational measures set in place in order to prevent breaches from occurring in the first place. There are many ways to go about it.

For example, through data anonymization; testing and evaluating the efficacy of organizational security measures regularly; safeguarding ongoing confidentiality; implementing controls to restore the availability of and access to personal data in a timely manner, etc.

You would require establishing and documenting all of the above in a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) and you are only allowed to exchange data with third parties that overtly comply with GDPR.

Recommended read: Is Enterprise Mobility Management an Answer to Corporate Data Security? 

3. Start respecting Customers Rights

As GDPR is essentially intended to give people in the European Union (EU) more control over how companies use their personal information, you should begin with respecting their rights. These include right of access, right to be forgotten, right to rectification, right of data portability, right to restriction of processing and many others. In case these rights are violated, a formal complaints division must deal it in an efficient manner. You would need to have a deep insight in data processing and systems in order to set this in effectively.

4. Obtain explicit consent of customers

You need to be very clear with your customers about what your intentions are with their data. Furthermore, you would need to explain them your intentions in a more understandable and concise manner.

First of all, you would need a legal basis for processing data that is filled in after getting explicit consent of customers. Moreover, you must provide your customers the choice to opt in or opt out at any point of time in the future.

Besides, you would also need to remember that storage of certain data such as religious, political, sexual, genetic, ethnic, racial or other sensitive personal information are strictly forbidden due to legal limitations.

5. Retain data but only for a limited period of time

This is perhaps the most challenging prerequisite! As per GDPR you are supposed to delete personal data after a certain point of time that is seven years after the last contact the customer has made with your organization.

Although, this might sound quite simple to you, as a matter of fact most of the IT systems built do not have the erase option as they were just designed to collect and store more data. Therefore, most of them do not even come with a delete button.

Moreover, data often transcends the database and reaches far deeper in the network drive or emails and you would need to delete them from everywhere.

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What to expect if you do not comply with GDPR?

If you are unsuccessful in making sure that all of the aforementioned points are in order, your life would surely end up in a whirlwind of troubles. If you fail to meet the criteria and are reported as a data breacher, you would be subjected to high fines. Wondering how high? Well, it could be a staggering fine of 20 million euros, or 4 percent of your total annual revenue, whichever is higher. And what is worth noting here is that even if the noncompliance is accidental, the fine is still applicable.

In addition to the financial strain, noncompliance to GDPR can also put your reputation at stake which is the last thing any business would want for itself.

How to create business value by being GDPR compliant?

Most of the companies today rely on big data for analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning to unleash the value from their data assets. The challenge that they are facing now is how to comply with GDPR while tapping into the ever-increasing business value that can be unlocked from data.

“Don’t lose sight of the fact that implementing GDPR consent requirements is an opportunity for an organization to acquire flexible rights to use and share data while maximizing business value,” says Lydia Clougherty Jones, research director at Gartner.

So, of course you would have to make sure that you have a data protection officer appointed to make sure that all the salient points of GDPR mentioned above is in order. Moreover, you would need to minimize risk while you optimize progress for customers as well as employees and maximize the data value.

Wrapping up

This was just a brief introduction to GDPR that every business needs to know. Getting a GDPR-compliant app developed for your business could save you from treading the path to huge penalty and disrepute.

Discuss your app idea with our software development experts and achieve a balance between data protection and effective utilization of big data.

Do you consider GDPR compliance obligations as potential business enabler or disabler? Please be the first to drop in your comments below and begin a healthy discussion.

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