GDPR ReadyThe European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will begin enforcing the most stringent regulations to date on how EU citizens personal data is lawfully collected in May this year. This data protection law doesn’t only affect European businesses but all organisations that handle the personal data of EU citizens. Fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual revenue for the previous financial year can be issued for noncompliance.

With data thefts being a regular feature in global headlines, the GDPR is expected to set a new benchmark for consumer data rights by holding companies of any size accountable. For the internal security teams that are already struggling in the battle against criminals that make massive profits from selling stolen personal data, this new level of compliance adds an extra strain.

With the GDPR only a couple of months away, it’s not too late to incorporate the necessary systems and processes to comply. Below are some of the critical steps for navigating GDPR successfully.

GDPR Requirements

The first step to solving a problem is understanding it, and with 99 articles in the table of contents for GDPR, understanding is key. Some of these articles may apply to your business/industry more than others, so having someone that is well versed in the language of regulations is a good starting point for tackling requirements.

If you don’t possess someone internally that can help with this there are compliance experts out there who can interpret critical elements that you must know such as Article 33. This article states that in the event of a serious breach companies may have to notify EU authorities and any citizen affected within 72 hours of the breach being discovered. Claiming ignorance for not upholding to these important GDPR articles will not save you from fines, so setting up a consultative session can only be of benefit.

Assess Your Risk

When gearing up for the GDPR one of most intimidating challenges businesses face is the need to map their entire data footprint – where data resides, and how it is being handled. This is incredibly important as each tiny piece of personally identifiable information traversing throughout your business, from partners, to contractors and third-party cloud providers poses a serious liability. Once your footprint has been fully mapped and any GDPR gaps have been identified, incorporating ways to remedy this should be a company-wide collaborative effort, with staff from different departments coming together to adhere to the new regulations.

Improve Internal Security Practises with GDPR

Even if you are compliant with the GDPR it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are secure. Techniques that allow illegally gathered personal data to be sold on the black market by criminals are constantly adapting and evolving, putting extreme pressure on security teams to do more. With the GDPR regulation coming into place this May, it allows for all security processes and procedures to be streamlined for improvement. By updating and improving security efficiencies across the board, you will know if your security is prepared for the GDPR.

GDPR is the beginning of a new era of stricter regulations. For businesses of any size which touch the personal data of EU citizens, ignoring the GDPR is not an option. It is already starting to influence other countries to follow suit, with Australia and others looking into similar programs. Preparing for the GDPR should be thought of as an important learning experience for combatting cybercriminals as they become more adept at stealing personal data and strict data regulations become the norm.

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