General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is legislation that consists of one of the world’s strictest rules for personal data protection. If you’re a US-based business that does business with individuals in the European Union, you need to comply with this regulation. A checklist will be helpful to keep you on track!
GDPR is a European Union data privacy law that mandates organizations to keep data safe. The regulation was implemented in May 2018. Moreover, the data privacy law allows people to have more control over how their data is used. Failure to comply with the law is subject to large fines.
US Companies & GDPR Compliance
It’s easy to think that the GDPR law only applies in Europe. However, it applies to companies outside the EU as well due to its extra-territorial scope.
Any company that collects personal data of people in the EU is required to comply with the GDPR.
However, GDPR also recognizes that some non-EU companies work with EU citizens only an incidental basis. Therefore, based on Recital 23, foreign companies are only required to comply with GDPR if they target EU residents with their marketing.
Collection of Personal Data
There are two categories in personal data under GDPR:
- Data controllers: A data controller is a public authority, individual, agency, or another body that determines the purpose and means of personal data processing. The controller is the one who decides how personal data will be processed.
- Data processor: A data processor is anyone or any organization or agency that processes personal data on behalf of the controller. In this case, they don’t make decisions about how personal data is handled.
GDPR Compliance Checklist for US Companies
If you are a US-based company that deals with EU clients, having a GDPR checklist will help you stay on track with your GDPR compliance. That way, you can prevent large fines that can be detrimental to your finances.
This checklist will help ensure GDPR compliance:
Information Audit for EU Personal Data
Determine what personal data you need to process and whether it belongs to people in the EU. If you find you process EU data information, determine which activities the information is related to, such as offering goods or services to data subjects regardless of whether connected to a payment.
Let Your Clients Know
Evaluate Your Data Processing Activities
Improve Your Protection
When you have determined your data processing activities, it’s time to start implementing data security practices, like end-to-end encryption, that will help limit your exposure to data breaches.
Have a Data Processing Agreement with Your Vendors
You are accountable for your third-party clients should they violate their GDPR obligations. Therefore, a data processing agreement between you and your vendors is crucial. The agreement must detail the rights and responsibilities of each party.
Have a Representative in the European Union
Non-EU organizations must appoint a representative based in one of the EU member states. On the other hand, you won’t need a representative if you only process occasionally, doesn’t include processing, on a large scale, and is unlikely to risk the rights and freedoms of natural persons.
If you need a representative, the representative will act on your behalf and may be addressed by any supervisory authority. Keep in mind that a representative doesn’t affect your responsibility or your liability.
Some of the tasks of the representative include cooperating with the supervisory authorities regarding actions taken to ensure compliance with GDPR.
Have a Plan If There’s a Data Breach
Having a proper plan in place if there’s a data breach is crucial. Hackers are all over the internet and a minor vulnerability can breach your data that will affect your GDPR compliance. Don’t let this happen to you; therefore, you need to have this included in your checklist to ensure you’re prepared should anything go wrong.
Complying with GDPR may seem like another tedious task you need to do. Instead of looking at it that way, consider this an opportunity for you to strengthen your relationship with your customers. Moreover, being GDPR-compliant can prepare you for regulations in other countries like, Japan, Brazil, and South Korea.
Other Tips To Be GDPR-Compliant
Your GPDR compliance must be taken seriously. It’s essential you know all the data you collect and how it flows through your internal systems. You should remember that IP addresses are classified as personal data as well. So, if you’re unsure if the IP addresses you collect are personal data, refer to the supervisory authority in the EU state to be sure.
Another thing to help you be GDPR compliant is to have a Data Register, which is a comprehensive record of how your company is practicing GDPR compliance. The day register should map the flow of data through the company, and the more details are in it, the better. So, in the event of an audit, your data register can be used as proof of compliance. Furthermore, if you suffer a data breach, the data register can be used as proof of progress towards improved data security.
Speaking of data breaches, you should report it immediately, as this is also a mandatory GDPR requirement. Data processors should report data breaches to controllers, and the controllers will be the ones to report to a supervisory authority.
It’s crucial you evaluate your data collection requirements as well. Make sure you are gathering the data you need because when you acquire sensitive data without good reason, this can be an alarm bell for the supervisory authority.
Be GPDR Compliant Today
If you haven’t worked on your GPDR compliance as a US business owner yet, you do business with individuals in the EU; it’s time that you do it before you face big penalties. Use this checklist to help you out.