Home » GDPR Compliance and (E)U: How Technical Writing Can Improve Data Security

GDPR Compliance and (E)U: How Technical Writing Can Improve Data Security

    a picture of the EU flag, representing the importance of using technical documentation to achieve GDPR compliance

    Data privacy continues to be a global issue. Industries around the world are trying to figure out the best way to tackle the constant battle of cyberthreats and data breaches. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, could be a future solution, or an indicator for what not to do when it comes to data protection. Either way, the European Union’s current approach to protecting users’ personal data may shape the future of our digital economy. So, let’s see what the General Data Protection Regulation is all about!

    What is GDPR?

    General Data Protection Regulations is a European Union (EU) legislation enacted in 2018 to protect users’ personal data. It is a series of strict guidelines that regulate how companies can collect, process, and share consumer data. Equally important, this law also gives users more control over how their data will be used by companies. Both EU and non-EU-based businesses must adhere to the GDPR, regardless of their size or industry. With the rise of cyberattacks and data breaches, the implementation of GDPR is a way to consolidate and establish a more uniform data security framework, enhancing privacy protection.

    What is GDPR compliance?

    GDPR compliance is standardizing data protection by mandating all organizations be held accountable for safeguarding the personal data of EU citizens. This involves collecting information legally under strict conditions and respecting the consumer’s rights to do what they please with their data. Thus, the GDPR, promotes transparency and disclosure, reducing data breaches and building trust between consumers and businesses.

    GDPR compliance requires businesses to lawfully prove why they want to use your data, and demonstrate how they will keep your data safe and secure. Below are some types of personal and sensitive data protected by GDPR:

    • Identity information such as name, address, and ID numbers
    • Web data such as location, IP address, and cookie data
    • Biometric data
    • Health and genetic data
    • Political opinions
    • Racial or ethnic data
    • Sexual orientation

    What are the GDPR Compliance Requirements?

    EU GDPR requires companies to change the way they handle private data, yet many businesses may have a clear understanding of the requirements and procedures to ensure compliance. Because the GDPR is a comprehensive data privacy law, it is important to know its general principles and what it involves.

    The GDPR compliance requirements related to processing personal data:

    • Authorization – If organizations want to use your information, they must get your consent. Companies must clearly and lawfully state how their data, if permitted, will be gathered, stored, traded, or destroyed. Also, consumers will have total access to review their data on the company’s site and have the ability of removing any data they see fit.
    • Data Processing – According to the GDPR, data processing must be transparent and should be done fairly. All processing documentation must be written in an accessible fashion for users to understand. Furthermore, companies are only allowed to collect data they need; data processing is rooted in a specific purpose and cannot stray from that original objective. Additionally, data must be accurate at all times; any outdated or incorrect information should be corrected or removed. Companies are also responsible for safely handling the transfer of data across borders. Finally, once companies achieve their goal, they cannot keep the data, especially if it links to other users. 
    • Security Accountability – All personal data must be processed securely. A data protection impact assessment process is required to help reduce any risks to the security and privacy of the data companies have in their possession. In the case of a cyberattack or data breach, consumers must be notified about the status of their data, and organizations must report the security breach and any unlawful damages to the appropriate authority, within 72 hours of detection. 
    • Hiring a Personnel – The GDPR specifies that organizations that process large volumes of data must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to oversee and ensure GDPR compliance.
    • Protection by design and by default – For every new project, companies must integrate all data security measures at every stage of the development process of new products or services to secure personal data.
    • The right to be forgotten – The GDPR states that users have the right to request their data be deleted, and companies must oblige.
    • Restrict Processing – Consumers have the right to ask companies to stop processing their data.

    Management GDPR Requirements:

    GDPR requires organizations that process large scales of data to assign the proper personnel for their needs. This may be a data controller, a data processor, or, as previously mentioned, a Data Protection Officer (DPO).

    • Data Controller – Responsible for stating how personal data will be processed, the reason why the data is being processed, and enforcing all those involved to comply
    • Data Processor – Manages the personal data records of users
    • Data Protection Officer – Oversees a company’s data protection strategy and its implementation to ensure GDPR compliance

    What are the fines and penalties for non-compliance with GDPR?

    Businesses that fail to comply with GDPR face a fine of up to 4% of their annual global sales. As for penalties, European regulators may conduct audits, issue warnings for non-compliance, order for the rectification of data, suspend data transfers to other countries, and implement other appropriate disciplinary actions.

    How does GDPR Apply to US-based companies?

    The same privacy and data protection laws EU citizens must abide by apply to U.S. businesses, too. Under the GDPR, non-European countries or businesses that provide a service or market goods to EU citizens in any capacity are subject to regulation. On a global scale, this requirement greatly impacts the business market, because many countries around the world, including the U.S., produces goods or offers services to EU citizens. Thus, U.S. businesses that use, collect, or process personal data from EU citizens must comply with the GDPR.

    The United States has yet to pass an expansive data protection law like the GDPR, however, the state of California has passed a privacy law called the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). This CPRA only applies to commercial companies, and, like the GDPR, was formed so that Californian consumers can have more control over how their data is used.

    Conclusion

    The EU’s creation of the GDPR to unify its data privacy laws may be a solution for all industries trying to figure out the best way to secure personal data. As countries around the world feel the effects of GDPR compliance, these fairly new regulations may push other countries to create legislation of their own that continues the growth of our digital economy while protecting users’ personal data.

    How can EDC help?

    If you conduct business in the EU, or plan to start a company there, EDC can help your business create & maintain professionally written documentation that adheres to GDPR. EDC can tailor-make compliance documents for your business from a detailed data protection policy, to privacy policies, to GDPR templates, and more. All your policies and procedures will be written in plain yet concise language to ensure your business remains compliant and regulators clearly understand every detail of your operational activities. If you are aiming to avoid penalties and stay on top of the ever-changing compliance landscape, EDC’s compliance technical writers will be dedicated to producing accurate and up-to-date documentation that will help you pass any audit. Whether it involves cybersecurity, quality management, workplace safety, or more, with Essential Data, your business will have good governance practices in GDPR compliance.

    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 sales@edc.us

    Written by Kimberly Jones

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