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GDPR compliance implementation for dummies: all the requirements and things to do

By Mark Cirillo | No Comments | 18th May 2018

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is new legislation that is designed to protect the data of EU citizens. GDPR implementation affects every single organization and business that interacts with an EU resident, regardless of where they may be. If you’re a company in the United States that deals with EU residents, then the GDPR will apply to you and you’ll need to follow the GDPR compliance requirements.

Why Are GDPR Compliance Requirements Such a Big Deal

The GDPR compliance requirements put more control and protection in the consumer’s hands. Data privacy has become a huge concern lately and the way brands protect their customers is now going to be in the spotlight due to GDPR implementation. The idea is to significantly enhance the level of protection offered to EU citizens and their data. It is built on the 1995 Directive’s requirements, but the new GDPR compliance requirements will be stricter and have harsher punishments for anyone that violates it.

When Does GDPR Implementation Begin?

GDPR implementation is set to start on May 25th, 2018. After this date, it’s important that you follow all of the GDPR compliance requirements so that you aren’t fined.

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What Are the Consequences of Failing to Follow the GDPR Compliance Requirements?

Either 20 million Euros or 4% of your global revenue, whichever is the highest.

In addition, your organization will have a tarnished reputation and many consumers will lose faith in both your products or services. In short, failing to follow the GDPR compliance requirements will force your business into a problematic situation and ultimately destroy your organization. The punishments are intentionally harsh to ensure that all organizations follow a GDPR implementation strategy.

How Can I Prepare My Organization for GDPR Implementation?

In order to make it easier for your business to follow the GDPR compliance requirements, it’s essential that you start planning ahead of time while you still can. Remember that the punishment for failing is incredibly harsh and could spell the end of your business. To help you prepare for GDPR implementation, we have outlined several of the most important points to follow.

1. Audit Your Data and Analyze It

Smart GDPR implementation means looking at the data you have and trying to understand it, why you have it and what it is being used for. Ask your team how the information is collected and with whom it is shared. Identify the different types of data you have and the relationships it has with other sites, companies or even services. This is an incredibly strenuous task so it does require you to comb through every single piece of data in your system to ensure that it stays within the GDPR compliance requirements.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • Who are we collecting data on? Who has access to this data? Who is the one that sorts it and compiles it into usable data?
  • What are we collecting? What kind of safeguards and mechanisms do we have in place to protect personal data so that it isn’t leaked into the wrong hands?
  • When are we collecting data? How long do we plan to keep it for? Are we going to share the information we have with others?
  • Where are we keeping data? Is it stored and compiled automatically, or do we transfer it all to a third-party?
  • Why are we collecting data? Do we feel that the information we collect is useful? Is it being used for a good reason?
  • How are we collecting data? How do we plan to process it in the future? How long do we keep our data for?

These questions should form the basis of any organization’s GDPR implementation strategy.

2. Let Your Customers Know About the GDPR

Most people wouldn’t know a thing about GDPR implementation or how it affects them. As a result, you may want to contact them via email or even social media and raise awareness of what it is, how you plan to implement it and what changes they can expect to see.

Not only will this impact how much you personally know about GDPR implementation, but it can also greatly affect the way your customers see you. If you can get your audience on your side, then following the GDPR compliance requirements could have a profound effect on consumer trust and ultimately improve your reputation.

3. Review Your Privacy Notices

The GDPR compliance requirements contain a list of requirements that all privacy notices must meet should you collect data. This includes the following:

  • Indicate the processing activities taking place anytime you collect personal data
  • If personal data isn’t being obtained directly, then inform what processing activities are taking place
  • Notices must be present whenever personal data is collected and at all points
  • Data must include the identity of the controller and of the data protection officer, how long it will be kept for, the rights that the consumer has, the right to file a complaint, the recipients and transfers of data, a statement that the consumer has the right to withdraw consent at any time, and also an explanation of why you or a third-party wishes to collect the data.

4. Rights of the Consumer

To follow the GDPR compliance requirements, it’s also important to understand the rights that the consumer has over their data. When GDPR implementation is active, you must demonstrate that you’re able to do the following:


  • Confirm the identity of whoever is requesting the data
  • Give consumers the ability to request their personal data
  • Respond to requests for access to personal data
  • Trace and search for a consumer’s personal data and deliver it within 30 days
  • Request rectification and rectify any personal data collected
  • Request the deletion of a consumer’s personal data
  • Understand which additional controllers data has been transferred to
  • Upon a data breach, contact those entities to delete the data
  • Requesting the restriction of data processing and show how and when this is done
  • Requesting copies and transmit personal data
  • Find personal data and compile it into machine-readable formats
  • Give consumers a way to object to their data being collected
  • Stop all data processing and demonstrate their compliance

These are the standard rights that must be understood by all organizations that follow the GDPR compliance requirements. Failing to do so will result in heavy fines, so make sure you understand these points.

5. Appoint a Data Protection Officer

As part of the GDPR compliance requirements, a data protection officer is required in any company that processes information and data on a large scale. They will need to do the following:

  • Maintain audit trails and demonstrate accountability and compliance
  • Maintain an inventory of data that categorizes consumers
  • Maintain auditable trails of processing activity
  • Carry out data protection impact assessments
  • Monitor compliance with data protection laws
  • Liaise and assist supervisory authorities.

Failing to follow these GDPR compliance requirements could result in a harsh punishment, so you’ll need to either hire a new employee or assign an existing one to this role. Because of the training required, it will be wise to do this as soon as possible as part of the GDPR implementation process.

6. Enabling Data Transfers

The GDPR compliance requirements state that consumers must have the ability to transfer data to themselves whenever they want. This means that you will need to return their personal data at any given time, so you must be fully capable of compiling the information you have on each consumer into a machine-readable format. This way, you can easily transfer their data to another data controller.

If your consumers want their data, then you need to oblige and send it to them in a simple and readable format that they can understand. You will need to speak with any software engineers or technology consultants you hire in order to build a GDPR implementation strategy that allows for this easy transfer of data. Failing to follow this could breach the GDPR compliance requirements and result in a fine.

7. Planning For Data Breaches

Data breaches can create huge legal, financial and reputational upsets that could destroy an organization and must be avoided when developing an GDPR implementation strategy. As such, it should come as no surprise that data security is an important consideration in the GDPR and it requires that you follow the appropriate procedures in order to meet the GDPR compliance requirements.

  • You must be able to provide mechanisms to pseudonymize, encrypt and secure personal data
  • You must implement additional security measures
  • You must be able to confirm ongoing confidentiality, integrity and availability of personal data
  • You must provide mechanisms to restore access and availability of personal data
  • You must be able to facilitate regular testing of your security measures
  • You must be able to notify the data protection authority within 72 hours should you experience a data breach incident
  • You must be able to notify the affected consumers should a high-risk data breach take place

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These are all incredibly important points that must be followed should you agree to the GDPR compliance requirements. Again, failing to do so will result in very serious consequences that could ultimately destroy your business. It is wise to follow these steps to plan your GDPR implementation strategy and to understand that we are entering a new era where the consumers are in control of their data privacy. However, as with all business opportunities, approaching this from the right angle can give you the upper hand in your industry.

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Mark Cirillo

Eager digital marketer, nurtured by news and strategies of this world, helping people and businesses to build and reinvent their online presence.

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