There are only a few of the activities we do online these days, along with banking, working, talking, and sharing our personal data. We spend a significant portion of our lives online, and even when we interact with people in person, we frequently exchange data for a variety of reasons.
As a result, we are now more susceptible to crimes involving the misuse of our personal information online. As a result, businesses must have a better understanding of data privacy, especially in light of GDPR compliance and legislation that went into force last year. The five data protection-related issues that your startup should be aware of are examined in this article.
What is GDPR?
Let’s start by looking at GDPR, which is the cornerstone of data protection in the UK and for any company doing business with EU citizens (i.e., pretty much all businesses will be impacted by GDPR in some way). The EU parliament passed the General Data Protection Regulations, or GDPR, last year to protect the personal information of EU citizens. It indicates that each individual has the right to access their personal data and ask for its removal from a company’s database.
Does GDPR affect your startup?
You must abide by GDPR if your startup has operations there, transacts business there, or obtains personal information from EU individuals. It’s a prevalent misperception that individuals or smaller enterprises are exempt from these regulations. Simply said, this is false. Even if you are not physically situated in the EU, you must comply if you handle the personal data of EU persons in any way.
In conclusion, the GDPR will affect your startup. Smaller businesses with less data on their systems often get preferential treatment from the regulatory bodies, but you could still get penalized if there is a problem. Startups should therefore make sure they follow the guidelines and start GDPR compliance as soon as possible. Complications and unpleasant surprises can be prevented in the future by doing this.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to confirm that all vendors and other companies your startup works with adhere to GDPR. This helps shield your business from bad press that another company may cause. When working with others, it’s usually a good idea to double check even when it’s not required.
What is considered personal data?
It’s easy to assume at first that personal data just includes the information that businesses frequently request from customers and the information that individuals frequently share with others, such as email addresses, names, photographs, locations, and social network posts. However, the GDPR regulations established by the EU define personal data as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person” (any information relating to an individual).
Actually, personal data includes this and a lot more sensitive information. As a startup (or honestly as a firm of any size), it is wise to assume that everything that can be deemed personal should be secured. This includes any details you can discover about a person from their internet profile, not just those you directly sought or that were relevant to a transaction.
How can my startup comply with GDPR?
You can take a few steps to make sure your startup complies with GDPR. First, you must be aware of your own data. You must have a thorough understanding of the things you are collecting and your motivations. Knowing the rules makes it easier to make sure you’re following them. Next, you can develop a “fair processing notice” for your current clients that details how their data is being handled and gives them the opportunity to contact you with any questions they might have.
Furthermore, you must get consent before collecting any new information. Use your terms and conditions or online sign-up form to accomplish this.
Just be sure your explanations are clear enough for everyone to understand. Make sure you have security protocols in place to protect all the data you have on your system. Make sure you have a process in place to notify the proper authorities of any security breaches in accordance with GDPR rules within 72 hours.
Lastly, be prepared for requests for data. As part of data protection, all users have the right to request their information, and you are required to provide them with an online copy of all the personal data you have on them. You need to be prepared for both requests because they may ask for this to be deleted as well.
What if my startup doesn’t comply with regulations?
You may be subject to fines if you violate GDPR. Smaller companies, as was previously said, frequently receive more lenient treatment, although they still risk receiving a quite sizable punishment. It’s a good idea to educate yourself on GDPR and make sure you’re doing everything possible to abide by the regulations because the last thing you want is to be forced to pay up because of a simple error.
Additionally, if your company gathers and uses the personal information of consumers or clients, you run the danger of losing business if you are not GDPR compliant. After all, consumers want to be sure that their private information is secure and won’t be used improperly. Businesses and startups that face compliance issues risk losing their customers’ trust and suffering financial losses. Take a look at this guidance, which covers what to do if you suspect non-compliance, if you want a full explanation of how to address non-compliance.