Make sure you don’t get caught out by GDPR

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in force.  No business can afford to bury its head in the sand – make certain you are compliant with GDPR or you may get caught out with a hefty fine.

GDPR represents an vital and essential step towards protecting users’ privacy and offering more transparency.  However, for many businesses, GDPR has made it appear to be an unnecessarily complex administrative process that, by law, they must deal with.

GDPR itself is a far-reaching piece of legislation designed to regulate how businesses handle European data subjectsprivate data. The regulation is meant to give people more control over what companies do with their personal data, which incorporates things such as birth dates, addresses and names. It additionally apportions responsibility for breaches, holding any entity processing that data chargeable for its protection.

While large firms have the resources to appoint hire legal professionals to determine exactly what the regulation means for them, it’s not necessarily the case for small businesses.

One stipulation that causes a headache for many SMEs is how to ensure they meet their customersright to be forgotten. Under the legislation, in certain circumstances, customers can ask organisations to delete personal data they could hold on that individual customer.

However, most SMEs run regular data backups, and these consist of large data sets. Thus, determining methods to take care of this can pose a real technical challenge.

Key steps towards compliance

Remaining GDPR-compliant requires understanding the data you hold, your policies and processes for managing that data and training staff to make sure they understand and are can comply with these regulations.

Mapping out how data moves through the Business and where it is storedwhether it’s in emails, CRM applications or in cloud and  back-up systems is a good place to begin. With a full and thorough understanding of your data environment, it will probably be a lot simpler for you to determine any gaps that require addressing.

Once you understand your procedures, you must evaluate and update your security policies. IT solutions can play an vital role in GDPR compliance and sufficient data protection. There isn’t any one-size-fits-all answer, however at the very least, SMEs must ensure they perform regular security healthchecks of their IT landscape.

Health checks should embrace reviewing whether firewalls are appropriately configured, making certain all devices have had up-to-date patches applied and are operating the latest software versions, and whether encryption is enabled.

When it comes to defending against cyber attacks and data breaches, human error is usually an issue. This is why educating your staff is so vital. Technology can be used to implement consistent security policies throughout your Business, i.e. blocking unencrypted devices or only permitting access to those files and applications that the worker truly requires.

Businesses also have to make sure the continued confidentiality, integrity and availability of processing systems and services, in addition to having the crucial capability to access personal data in a timely manner in the event of a physical or technical incident.

A key consideration is how long data needs to be retained and the way it can be managed and deleted. Back-up options should provide options for customising data retention schedules to fulfill an organisation’s business requirements, whilst retaining the flexibility to delete back-ups from the system.

With extra data being processed and stored, cyber threats continuing to grow and with regulations such as GDPR being introduced, managing data is becoming more and more complicated for SMEs.

However, the good news is that many managed service providers (MSPs) have added GDPR consulting to their portfolio, partnered with legal firms and impartial GDPR specialists and are actually in a strong position to assist their customers – giving peace of mind to the SMEs that depend on them as their trusted advisers.

Non-compliance with the regulation cannot only cause reputational harm to a small businesses but also end in substantial fines.

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