If you have a business in the European Union (EU), or a company providing services to European customers, then you are familiar with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The data security standards were created to protect the personal data of European Union citizens. As the world faces the all-too-common threat of data breaches and cyberattacks. The EU efforts to improve data protection have made an impact on a global scale. While these regulations favor EU citizens, they directly affect the global data market; the EU wants all companies to comply. However, many businesses are struggling to keep up with the new GDPR framework, especially as the guidelines continuously evolve in today’s digital landscape. To ensure that EU and non-EU-based companies remain compliant, they should employ the help and assistance of compliance technical writers.
What is a Compliance Technical Writer?
Compliance technical writers are responsible for producing high-quality documentation that meets compliance regulations as well as risk and security standards according to the industry they work in. They ensure an organization remains compliant so that business operations can continue to run efficiently. Their responsibilities consist of developing, writing, editing, and managing a wide range of documents, such as policies, SOPs, manuals, job aids, and more. These technical communicators may consult or work closely with relevant authorities to remain current on all regulatory agency requirements in their chosen industry. They may also provide solutions or strategies to management to support great compliance outcomes.
When it comes to data protection, a compliance technical writer has the training and ability to handle the demands of the GDPR. The governing principles of processing personal data are the foundation of technical writing, which is to clearly explain complex information and present it to a target audience, utilizing accessible, easy to comprehend, and plain language. A tech-savvy technical writer with a legal background is likely to have a flair for describing complex processes, and is thus the perfect person to have on staff to guide you through the GDPR regulations.
Let us explore the potential advantages of having a technical writer tackle the GDPR for your business
How Tech Writers Increase Compliance
Under the GDPR, all companies that collect or process EU citizens’ personal data on a large scale must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO). It is the job of the DPO to make sure everyone in a company complies with GDPR requirements. Therefore, having technical writers working alongside a DPO can improve communication, increasing business compliance.
- Feedback – DPO is responsible for handling any questions or comments from consumers about how their data is being processed, as well as GDPR-related concerns. Tech writers can help create a knowledge base, online help systems, email surveys, and questionnaires, which increase employee engagement, productivity, and customer satisfaction while also reducing operational issues. The more feedback tech writers receive, the more they can improve compliance documentation, which in turn makes a DPO’s job easier.
- Education – DPOs must educate the organization and its employees about GDPR compliance. The very basis of technical writing is informing someone on how to do something, and thus tech writers can customize effective employee development plans to improve knowledge of GDPR compliance in the workplace.
- Training – According to the GDPR, DPOs need to implement privacy awareness training. Documentation writers can create eLearning programs, training workshops, and manuals to help employees to improve their knowledge of GDPR compliance and processing operations. Also, tech writers can streamline any existing training materials for consistency and clarity.
- Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) – A comprehensive evaluation and description on how to identify, analyze, and minimize the data protection risks of a new project. DPIA is a living document made up of policies, processes, procedures, mitigation strategies, data processing terms, and more. Technical writers are trained to manage these high volumes of technical documentation. In fact, they have the skills to work with a variety of software and automated tools that can make document creation quick, simple, and time-saving. Most importantly, these technologies are compliant with many regulatory agencies. Being able to facilitate faster and more thorough evaluation will give companies a better understanding of their performance and improve overall compliance practices.
- GDPR Audits – To ensure a high level of data protection, one of the GDPR requirements is conducting audits to assess if businesses involved with the EU are meeting all the GDPR obligations and being accountable for how they collect personal data from EU consumers. A technical writer can produce professionally written audit documentation, which makes it easier for businesses to prove their compliance if any legal action is taken against them. Also, audits are valuable information that help employees examine and determine their progress at a company. A technical writer will know the appropriate style guide, organizational methods, and documentation formats to express the daily operations of your business for an audit.
How Compliance Technical Writers Manage GDPR Documentation
The golden key to GDPR compliance is documentation. With clear and concise documents, businesses can build trust with consumers through transparency regarding how their personal data is used, stored, processed, and accessed. Yet, for many businesses, having to produce large quantities of documents about constantly evolving compliance regulations can be overwhelming. Hiring technical writers, however, can ease that burden. Compliance technical writers can implement Document Management Systems (DMSs) to improve the workflow of information among employees and GDPR authorities. With these systems in place, businesses can manage, store, and track every digital document in one place. Staff will have the ability to organize and control documents across departments, making it easier for them to process personal data and adhere to GDPR compliance. Furthermore, DMSs provide strong security measures such as document encryption, user access management, and data retention. A DMS ensures that businesses comply with regulations, allowing them to focus on other business objectives in the EU.
Many businesses are non-compliant because they simply do not have all the required GDPR documents to be fully compliant in their industry. While these exact documents will vary according to the types of business, consulting with legal experts can clarify what documents are needed to be fully GDPR compliant. Below are some of the common documents needed to ensure GDPR compliance:
- Data Breach Notification Form to Data Subjects/the Supervisory Authority
- Data Breach Register
- DPIA Register
- Employee Privacy Notice
- Non-EU Data Transfers & Documented Safeguarding Measures
- Parental/Guardian Consent Form
- Data Breach Response and Notification Procedure
- Personal Data Protection Policy
- Data Retention & Erasure Policy
- Privacy Notice
- Data Retention Schedule
- Supplier Data Processing Agreement
- Data Subject Consent Form
In today’s rapidly growing market, compliance with the GDPR is essential for every business. With the help and guidance of a compliance technical writer, businesses and their employees will understand the regulatory requirements, therefore executing better GDPR practices, avoiding penalties and fines, and improving business operations.
How EDC Can Help
EDC has professionally trained compliance technical writers that can develop a GDPR Compliance Plan that will fit your company’s needs, improving access to personal data, diminishing litigation & financial risk, and, most importantly, protecting sensitive information. With the appropriate GDPR planning, EDC helps you face and navigate any new challenge your business may encounter and make sure your business is always compliant.
Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Kimberly Jones