The General Data Protection Regulation law went into effect on May 25, 2018, and it took many companies quite a bit of time to get into compliance with these new regulations. There are other businesses, including many small businesses, that are being developed right now and that are about to launch, and they may not have a full understanding of what the GDPR is and how it is going to affect them. This is especially true for those companies that are not in the European Union.
However, you will find that GDPR is going to affect just about all companies in the world, large and small. No matter where they might be located, if they have a customer that is located in the EU, they are going to need to comply with GDPR. If those companies do not abide by the GDPR requirements, it will mean that they have to pay large fines. The fines are 4% of the annual worldwide turnover, or up to $23.5 million.
If you have a small business, you probably can’t imagine having to deal with a fine quite that large just because you did not comply with the GDPR. In fact, for many small businesses, a large fine could send the companies to an early grave. Therefore, you will want t
o make sure that you have everything in order before you get started with your business. It becomes very important to have a good understanding of what the GDPR means for individuals, and what you need to do to comply.
The Power Is Now in the Hands of the Individual
One of the biggest changes that the GDPR is bringing about is the way that the individual is treated about their data. Most people, whether they are in the EU or elsewhere, know how difficult it can be to truly control their personal information and data. With the GDPR being enacted, individuals will again have power over that data.
Customers will be able to access their data and learn how that data is being used at any time they choose. Also, they will be able to make the companies and firms that have their data delete the data if they no longer want their information in the hands of that company. The individual can also alter data that is not correct, and they have the right to limit the way that their data is being used.
Additionally, if there is a breach of your data, the authorities need to be made aware within 72 hours. This is to ensure that the customers know about the breach quickly so they can decide as to what they need to do about it.
You need to make sure that individuals are fully aware when you are collecting data, and what type of data you are collecting. Also, they need to provide consent for the data to be collected and stored. There are very few exceptions to this, and they tend to center around law enforcement and emergency services.
What If You Aren’t In Europe?
Many small businesses that are getting ready to launch might think that this is not going to affect them since they are based somewhere like Florida or Kansas City in the United States. However, that is not how it works. The location of your business does not matter. It is the location of the customers that matter.
This law is designed to protect the customers residing in the EU, so if you have any customers or visitors to your site from the EU, and you collect any of their information, then you need to keep up with the GDPR regulations, or else you will be going against the law. This is true even if the customer or visitor does not make a financial transaction.
Consider Hiring a Specialist or a Consultant
Trying to understand everything that you need to do to make sure that you are complying with the GDPR can be difficult, and it might not be something that you want to try on your own. Instead, you may want to hire a specialist who can take care of the data requirements and ensure that you are complying with the regulations. Those who have a very small business, and who cannot afford to have a fulltime data specialist and manager on board, might instead want to hire a consultant on a freelance basis to make sure they are doing everything properly.
Fortunately, as a smaller business, it will mean that you are likely dealing with far less data than the large companies and firms out there. However, you will still need to provide protection for the data that you do utilize, and you will need to follow the rules set forth by the GDPR.
In some cases, it might mean that you need to redesign your site and the apps or plugins that the site is using to capture data. You want to make sure that everything you are using on the site is GDPR compliant so your site is considered GDPR compliant. The same is true with your data storage methods.
Help Increase Your Overall Security for Data
It is also a good idea for companies, even small companies, to develop a breach reporting policy. Remember, you have only 72 hours from the time of the breach to report it to the authorities and to let the customers know. Have a plan in place that will get the notice out to the customers as soon as possible and keep them informed about the breach and the investigation into it.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a tiny website or a massive company, you are going to be affected by the GDPR if you have any customers in the EU. It is best to make sure that you understand the changes that have been implemented, and that you take all needed measures to ensure your compliance with them.