What Is GDPR and When It Applies to Your Site

Nov 23, 2022 | Unpublished | 0 comments

Consumers have long been taken advantage of on the internet. This has led to a handful of regulations that protects user data by limiting how companies can store and handle it.

Photo by Tech Daily on Unsplash

This article will cover GDPR – perhaps the most popular and relevant data protection law. You will learn its most important rules, as well as security measures you can implement to comply with them.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation. It’s the EU’s latest data privacy and security law introduced in 2018. It was created to protect EU citizens from online dangers at a time when consumers easily give up their personal information to companies and cloud services, and data breaches are an everyday occurrence. It’s the world’s most rigid privacy and security law, although several other regulations modeled after GDPR have also appeared.

The fines for violating the GDPR are very high, sometimes reaching millions of euros. Several large companies have already been fined. One of them was Facebook, which was recently fined $18.6 million for violations dating back to 2018. That’s not something any company can take on, so it’s essential to know the rules of GDPR.

Its most important rules

The most important part of GDPR is its data protection principles. These principles outline how businesses should handle consumer data. To sum it up, companies should:

  • Only process data that was specified to the consumer
  • Data gathering should be minimal and only limited to what’s necessary
  • Data can be stored for a limited time that’s also established

Accountability is another key aspect of GDPR. You have to prove that you’re GDPR compliant; otherwise, you aren’t. To prove compliance, you should keep detailed documentation on the data you’re collecting and how it’s stored and managed.

To handle and manage data securely, you must implement the appropriate technical and organizational measures. Examples of technical measures are:

  • Requiring employees to use two-factor authentication
  • Contracting with cloud providers that offer end-to-end encryption

Organizational measures include staff training, limiting access to personal consumer data, and others.

If you suffer a breach that gives hackers access to personal data, you must inform the data subjects within 72 hours or face harsh penalties.

Does GDPR apply to you?

Since GDPR is large in scope and isn’t overly specific, it can be difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to comply fully. 

The most important thing to understand is that even if you’re not based in the EU, as long as you deal with the personal information of EU citizens or offer them goods and services, you must comply with GDPR.

For example, if your website is based in Brazil and only gathers data from Brazilians, you don’t have to worry about GDPR. Even if your visitors use your website within EU borders, as long as they aren’t EU citizens, GDPR doesn’t apply.

Security measures that will help you comply with GDPR

Complying with GDPR can be challenging and requires constant attention. Here are several security measures that will directly or indirectly help you comply with the regulations:

Use external security measures

Preserving the security and integrity of consumer information is the reason GDPR was created. The data usually sits in accounts, only protected by a password and MFA. To prevent unauthorized access that will put you in trouble with the GDPR commission, invest in a password manager to generate strong passwords and store them securely.

Some other essential security measures may include a VPN and zero-knowledge encryption cloud storage. They are helpful if someone tries to steal your site’s sensitive data.  For example, a VPN encrypts any internet user’s traffic. Some advanced VPNs, like NordVPN, offer additional feature threat protection, making it a perfect tool for people working remotely on your site. Meanwhile, secure cloud storage will provide safety for crucial files. That’s a plus in GDPR compliance.

Third-party risk management

If you’re a business or website, you likely cooperate with various third parties daily. Third parties are everyone from physical suppliers to plugins you use on your site. Third parties are among the leading causes of data breaches. You must vet your third-party collaborators carefully and ensure they’re also GDPR-compliant.

Identity and access management

Your online and business accounts should have strong identity controls, only allowing authorized personnel to access sensitive data. A big part of achieving that is strict user access control. Follow the least privilege principle, which entails that employees should have system access relative to their role and what they need to do their job.

Final thoughts

GDPR is a much-needed law, signaling a firm stance from Europe that they’re not taking the issue of data privacy lightly. Even if you’re not based in the EU, GDPR applies to your business if you offer services or gather the data of EU citizens.

Complying with GDPR is a daunting but necessary task. Educate your employees on the importance of securing personal data, and implement technical and organizational measures to support these efforts.

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