The Ultimate Checklist: How to Be GDPR Compliant

September 24, 2021

What is GDPR?

Europe's General Data Protection Regulation is the world's most comprehensive and rigid set of data privacy laws. The laws, which were enacted in 2018, were developed with the goal of advancing Europe's data privacy laws to keep pace with how modern technology and organizations were using—and sometimes abusing—the data collected from private individuals.

GDPR sets strict regulations about what personal data can be collected and how it can be used—especially when it comes to gathering and tracking data at the individual user level.

(Who Does GDPR Apply To)?

GDPR offers protections to any European resident whose personally identifiable data can be collected and used by businesses. The types of personal data covered in this law are broad, including not only demographic and behavioral data, but also online browsing histories, biometric data, IP addresses, and cookies used to track individual consumers online.

For businesses, GDPR's relevance and impact are even more expansive. While GDPR offers protection to anyone in Europe, its regulations must be adhered to by any business gathering data from those European residents. This means that even a company based in the United States, for example, must meet GDPR's compliance demands—from its data collection practices to its required informed consent for data collection and processing—in any instance where that data is being collected from a European resident.

As a result, many businesses have been forced to either bring their data practices into compliance with GDPR, or to refuse the web traffic and consumer spending of potential customers in Europe. Many companies have opted to achieve GDPR compliance, especially since other data regulations either enacted or proposed in the United States—including the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), also enacted in 2018—are likely to enforce similar data protections.

In that sense, GDPR has succeed not only in reforming data protection practices in Europe, but also in the United States and around the world.

Does My Business Need (GDPR Compliance Software)?

Many small and mid-sized businesses worry that the compliance demands of GDPR are not feasible for those organizations to manage in-house. Fortunately, the resource stress created by GDPR compliance can be alleviated through the use of (GDPR software) solutions, as well as consultants specializing in outsourced GDPR compliance for businesses.

For example, your business may benefit from GDPR compliance software that functions as a consent management platform when collecting data about consumers online. Many of the top consent management platforms can also integrate with your marketing stack to optimize the data you're able to collect, and how that data can be leveraged for marketing campaigns in GDPR-compliant ways.

Other popular software solutions for GDPR compliance may include tools to encrypt emails, communication and other digital assets containing sensitive data, as well as data-syncing and analytics tools that were built with GDPR compliance in mind. These tools can help you transition your existing marketing and analytics processes to new GDPR-compliant approaches that offer value while helping your business adapt to shifting (data privacy compliance) demands.

Tips for (Managing Data Protection) and GDPR Compliance

As you make plans to bring your business into GDPR compliance, here are some tips to help you navigate this transition and ensure ongoing compliance in the future:

    • Update your privacy policy. Your privacy policy outlines how you collect and manage data—meaning it automatically reflects whether you're invested in GDPR compliance. An updated privacy policy must explain how your organization processes data within the legal limits of GDPR and other data privacy regulations. You should also indicate how long you retain collected data, and how customers can change their consent and file complaints about your data management practices.
    • Audit your personal data collection practices. Audits are crucial to monitoring your data collection and management practices over time, and ensuring that these practices continue to align with both GDPR requirements and your own company policies.
    • Educate your workforce on the importance of GDPR, and how to ensure compliance. From IT to marketing to company leaders, your entire organization needs to be aligned on the importance of GDPR compliance, as well as the processes required to ensure compliance.
    • Work with a GDPR consultant to ensure ongoing (data protection security) and GDPR compliance. While the bulk of the work involved in GDPR compliance involves transforming and transitioning your existing assets and data practices to GDPR-compliant methods, ongoing support and monitoring are essential to keep your business compliant over time—and to identify and remediate instances of data management that violate these protocols.

While the task of bringing your business into GDPR compliance may seem overwhelming, you can leverage a number of tools and resources to simplify this process and make it cost-effective for any organization. For more help with transitioning to GDPR-compliant operations, seek out the help of a GDPR consultant.