GDPR may be quiet in the media, but it’s still just as important as ever.
Ongoing compliance is a key aspect of adhering to GDPR, so we spoke to PGI’s GDPR experts to find out which areas many organisations are still working on or finding difficult to understand.
PGI’s experts have been working with clients around the UK over the past year - helping them to implement GDPR and, importantly, maintain compliance. Non-compliance due to having no (or inconsistent) processes in place or experiencing a data breach can result in real damage to an organisation’s reputation and bottom line.
Five areas to assess for GDPR compliance in your organisation
Many PGI clients ask how long their organisation can store personal data. The short answer is that the Regulation doesn’t specify this. However, data must be retained in line with the principles of the Regulation, which include only retaining it for as long as necessary. Organisations should assess how long personal data is required and define their own retention schedules. This doesn’t mean you can keep data forever; the need to retain data should be reviewed regularly and if it’s not needed delete it.
Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs)
When should Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) be completed? DPIAs should be completed when processing activities pose a significant risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals. Organisations may decide to perform these for every new project, major changes to IT systems, or as part of compiling data process maps. All organisations should consider the need for DPIAs for any processing activities they undertake. If it is felt that a DPIA is not required as there is no significant risk to individuals’ rights and freedoms, this decision should be documented.
Dealing with Subject Access Requests (SARs)
Requests from data subjects exercising their rights (including Subject Access Requests), must be dealt with in a structured and controlled manner. This ensures that appropriate actions are taken to retrieve all relevant data held, within the necessary timescales. Companies must have defined responsibilities and procedures for dealing with such requests, including verifying the identity of the data subject and considering the impact to other individuals whose personal data may be caught up in such fulfilling SARs (obfuscate where necessary).
Data inventories and process flows
In order to fulfil requests from data subjects exercising their rights, organisations must know where all personal data is stored and with whom it is shared. Organisations should work on constructing inventories of personal data and map-out data flow diagrams that show how this data moves through the organisation and its systems—as well as any third parties (data processors) this data is shared with. It may be necessary to inform data processors of requests from data subjects.
Marketing and GDPR
There is still much confusion around what marketing information organisations can provide to data subjects and when it is necessary to obtain consent. There is variation between:
- Whether marketing materials are sent to existing customers or potential new customers
- Whether these communications are business to business or to individual consumers
- What is contained within these communications and the method by which they are delivered (e.g. email, post)
It’s not all about GDPR. Where marketing is concerned, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation must also be considered. This provides further granularity as to what is required for marketing communications.
GDPR – where are you now?
The implementation of good practices will ensure your organisation meets the necessary ongoing GDPR requirements, as well as providing assurance for customers, employees and all other data subjects that their information is being processed lawfully and stored securely.
If you aren’t sure if your organisation is compliant or you think you still have more work to do, our GDPR experts are here to help. Talk to us today about GDPR: firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone +44 (0)207 887 2699
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