How can you quickly prevent a fine under the GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides for sky-high fines for organisations that are careless when handling personal data. What essential measures can you take immediately to prevent such a fine?

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has come into effect, also known in the Netherlands as AVG (Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming). The now rapidly approaching deadline is causing consternation to more and more organisations. After all, the law entails a large number of requirements and obligations, and also provides for high fines for organisations that do not succeed in meeting them on time.

Recently I spoke about this with Ans Duthler of Duthler Associates, which advises companies in this area. One of the first recommendations that she gives to clients is not to regard the new legislation as a nuisance. This is because the GDPR is primarily an opportunity to get your own data management in order. In this way you place the interests and (privacy) rights of the customer, citizen or patient even more emphatically at the heart of the organisation.

Appoint quartermaster


An important first step in this approach, according to Duthler, is the appointment of a Data Protection Officer (DPO). He or she can act as an 'quartermaster', monitoring compliance with the new law. He or she arranges for the required road map to be drawn up and rolled out. Small organisations can hire an external advisor independently or in groups, for example through a trade association.

An important theme within the GDPR is accountability. Organisations must be able to show exactly which personal data they store and for what purpose. This requires setting up of a detailed privacy log, in which all choices made within the organisation in the context of the GDPR are recorded. A good starting point for this administrative record is a detailed 'baseline measurement' of the current state of affairs.

Baseline measurement as starting point


This is because few organisations know exactly which personal data they collect, where they store them and with whom they share them. Another aspect is that the organisation must be able to demonstrate that the use of this data is really necessary. It is very likely that this baseline measurement will yield a large number of concrete action points, on which the quartermaster can get started straight away. 

A baseline measurement is also a good starting point for the necessary awareness process among your own employees (including the management!). With every new action involving personal data, they have to automatically ask themselves a number of critical questions. To stimulate awareness within the organisation, a quartermaster can organise workshops or online seminars. Or deploy supportive privacy tools, for example.

Never 100% GDPR-proof


These measures must, of course, also be included in the new privacy records. Given the broad scope of the new GDPR legislation, and the involvement of humans as an unpredictable factor, the '100% GDPR-proof' organisation is a utopian dream. However, according to Duthler, an organisation that can show that serious work has been done on meeting the legal obligations can assume that any data breach will not lead directly to a high fine.

Not wanting to have to pay a fine is therefore not the main reason why you should embrace the new law. Privacy is an increasingly important issue for the customer, citizen or patient. Organisations that make them feel that their sensitive personal data are in good hands will soon have a head start on the competition. The new law thus offers a great opportunity for organisations to distinguish themselves as reliable and customer-oriented.  

So start with the baseline measurement as quickly as possible, determine action points and look for supporting software that helps you tackle this as effectively as possible. In the unlikely event that something nevertheless goes wrong, you can immediately prove that you have taken proper measures to prevent a data leak and to limit the possible consequences as much as possible.

 

Checklist GDPR Compliance

This blog gives you an idea of what to expect. Now it is high time to take action. Our checklist describes exactly the steps you need to take to achieve GDPR compliance. The document addresses in greater detail matters such as drafting a processor's agreement, obtaining permission for the processing of personal data, the security measures to be taken and the obligation to report data leaks. 

Go to the GDPR Checklist

RELATED
shutterstock_274821560 (1)

How to make your employees aware of the importance of secure information processing

Some organisations are already GDPR compliant, others still have work to do to meet the legal requirements. To achieve this, a set of technical and organisational measures is required. There are many step-by-step plans on the Internet to help you with these measures. It is even more important yet to raise the awareness among your organisation’s employees. This is very […]

Read more
shutterstock_219503161 (1)

What is the difference between personal data and privacy-sensitive information?

The GDPR is a hot topic. Due to all messages in the media, many myths circulate about this topic. A frequently-heard comment is: but it is related to privacy, and so it is forbidden under the GDPR anyway, right? To understand correctly what the law requires and what are the reasons for that, you should know what personal data are and how this differs from […]

Read more
shutterstock_219503161 (1)

What is the difference between personal data and privacy-sensitive information?

The GDPR is a hot topic. Due to all messages in the media, many myths circulate about this topic. A frequently-heard comment is: but it is related to privacy, and so it is forbidden under the GDPR anyway, right? To understand correctly what the law requires and what are the reasons for that, you should know what personal data are and how this differs from […]

Read more
shutterstock_675065458 (1)

Data and human errors: Where does it go wrong?

People make a mistake every 200-20,000 actions. So when humans play a role in a system, it is very likely they make mistakes. Like writing ‘2017’ for instance, when it should be ‘2018’, forgetting their keys, calling somebody by the wrong name. These things happen, after all, you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. Most people spend a large part of their […]

Read more
vlag3

The 3 most important things you need to account for in order to become GDPR compliant

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European law that protects the privacy of European citizens on the one side and helps to create awareness in processing personal information on the other. Thanks to GDPR, CISO’s like you have a lot of extra work to do. The amount of administrative proceedings that result from the GDPR is huge, your organisation […]

Read more
Untitled design

4 misconceptions about safe email

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) made the topic of privacy protection an important agenda item for every company. Almost all the time, risk analysis brings up email traffic as a very risky part. In the meantime however, I often encounter organisations that are pretty sure in their statement that the have their email traffic safe and under control. […]

Read more