The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25 May 2018. The regulation was created in order to protect the procedure of processing EU citizens’ personal information. All organizations must ensure that they are compliant with GDPR if they process European Union citizens’ personal data.
The impact of GDPR
From the first day that the regulation came into effect, it had a notable influence on multiple widely known companies. Mostly because many businesses simply were not prepared well enough for the legislation that covers so many elements within the business. The most common areas where companies failed to be fully compliant with GDPR were the lack of consent, and not having an awareness of the type of personal data they process. Additionally, a low-level of security over consumer’s personal data was another area that made numerous firms struggle the most when this legislation was implemented.
When it comes to the biggest fines to date for not being compliant with this regulation, Google, Marriott, and British Airways suffered the most. The three companies received the largest fines of €50 million, €109 million, and €202 million respectively. Basically, any organization that processes EU citizens’ personal data and is not GDPR compliant has a risk of getting punished and can receive fines that can get up to €20 million or 4% of the company’s yearly turnover, whichever is higher.
How are small businesses coping?
Nonetheless, large businesses are not the only ones who run a risk of getting fined in case of not being compliant with the regulation; SMEs can also get penalized for non-compliance.
In fact, the data says that the majority of small businesses are struggling with GDPR-compliance to this date, even though the legislation has been in effect for more than a year.
The main reason for such a tendency might be the fact that most SMEs have a limited budget, which makes it harder to follow all the latest changes in the law while implementing them according to the guidelines. Moreover, in order to be fully compliant with GDPR, it also requires an ongoing effort from the company, meaning continuous resources must be dedicated to compliance.
As a whole, this regulation is not an easy duty for any company, mainly because it covers so many elements of the business.
As an example, organizations that have their own website must ensure that their web design is GDPR compliant. Data audits have to be done, to be sure about the type of personal data that is being gathered online. Besides that, all consent forms have to be clear and concise.
Additionally, firms have to make sure that the level of data security is high enough, in order to minimize the chances of data breaches. Furthermore, employees have to be knowledgeable about this regulation, so that they are ready to report the data breach incidents to their supervisory authority when it’s needed. What is more, the business’s payments systems also have to be secure, whether the payments between the firm and consumer are performed online or with the help of card machines.
What can small business owners do to comply?
Including everything that was mentioned before, there are many more elements of GDPR that every business owner has to go through in order to ensure his organization’s compliance with GDPR.
In addition, the infographic below, created by Market Inspector, teaches you all the most important aspects of this legislation that you should know. It also provides a 10-step guide teaching you how to make any small business complaint in 2020.