Structure your network and data security policies to adhere to even the most stringent data security mandates.
In May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became the primary law regulating how businesses protect citizens’ personal data.
Since exiting the EU, the UK GDPR came into effect and any companies handling UK and EU citizen data will need to be in compliance with both or face stiff fines or penalties.
The GDPR came into law in 2016, created in response to the myriad of data security issues many businesses had in the EU economic sector. By making all of the EU member nations adhere to the same data protection standard, this mandate will be a baseline standard for companies who handle EU citizens’ data.
Some of the key provisions of the law include requirements to:
- Consent subjects for data processing.
- Provide fast data breach notifications if a breach has occurred.
- Anonymise collected data to protect consumer privacy.
- Appoint a “data protection officer” for certain companies.
- Safely handle the transfer of data across borders.
What businesses need to be compliant?
This is where the law gets a little tricky. Every business that markets or sells goods and services within the confines of the European Union member states has to meet the GDPR regulation. As a result, the global implications of this law are substantial. For businesses that will need to be in compliance to continue doing business with EU citizens, the GDPR will likely have a significant impact on the way that your business uses its core information systems.
The GDPR will be enforced by what are called “Supervising Authorities” (SAs). SAs will interpret “substantially affects” on a per-case basis since the context of data processing, the type of data, the purpose of processing and whether the processed data causes damage, loss, or distress to individuals; has an effect of limiting rights of certain groups or individuals; affects individual’s economic status or circumstances around their economic health; inflicts potential reputational damage; and many more qualifications.
To ensure these qualifications are met, SAs will be looking for organisations to do many of the following:
- Encrypt personal data
- Prevent unauthorised access to personal data (or equipment used in the processing of this data).
- Prevent unauthorised access to the use of personal data (or the equipment used in the processing of this data).
- Take part in independent assessment of equipment to evaluate the nature and potential severity of privacy risks.
- Have the ability to recall and report personal data in a timely manner in the event of an incident.
- Ensure continuous confidentiality and integrity of all equipment used in the processing of personal data.
- Perform regular tests to assess the effectiveness of measures to ensure data security.
The GDPR is filled to the brim with language referencing security of computing infrastructure as a precursor to the actual security of the data held within these constructs. Before you can build a GDPR-compliant infrastructure, you must understand how your IT needs to be altered to do so.
What are the consequences if you fail to comply?
Since the law that the GDPR replaced was over twenty years old, the vast changes in computing, marketing, and sales coupled with the prevalence of threats to data security produced some stark changes in the way the GDPR punishes companies that are found to be in violation of this mandate. SAs have far more authority under the GDPR than under the old directive. They hold investigative and corrective authority, and will have a system to issue organisations warnings for non-compliance. They will also perform audits, dictate changes, impose deadlines for those corrections, order data to be forfeited or erased, and even be given the power to block companies from transferring data to any other jurisdictions until all compliance mandates are met.
The biggest role SAs will have is assessing fines for noncompliance; and, the fines are substantially larger than under the previous law. Fines will be determined based on the circumstances of each case, and if substantial evidence is there to find that an organisation’s breach wasn’t of their own negligence, the SA may not impose a fine at all. The fines that are imposed may be up to two-to-four percent of total global turnover or up to 20 million euros, whichever is greater.
How Oxon Tech can help
Any business that sells products and services in European Union member nations has to begin to shift their priorities to ensure they are compliant with the new mandates. The best course of action is to read through the law here, and then call Oxon Tech at 01865 594100 to see how our technology professionals can help you structure your network and data security policies to adhere to even the most stringent security mandates.
If you would like to know more about UK / EU GDPR and how to manage it within your business, give us a call at 01865 594100.
Since leaving the European Union at the end of 2020, the following apply:
- The DPA (Data Protection Act) 2018 and UK GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) if they process only domestic personal data.
- The DPA 2018 and UK GDPR, and the EU GDPR if they process domestic personal data and offers goods and services to, or monitor the behaviour of, EU residents.