Don't let your start up get caught out by GDPR

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Date: 28 January 2020

A digital lock icon on a circuit board showing that data is protected - data security concept.

There’s a lot to consider when your start up enters the public sphere. You may concern yourself with product reviews and how you are perceived by your customers, and rightly so. But this isn’t the only area that matters. As online operations grow, compliance with data protection rules becomes an increasing priority, and, sadly, it’s one that catches many start ups out.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has become a major concern for any firm with a European presence since its implementation back in May 2018. This legal requirement concerns the handling and processing of sensitive consumer data and was introduced in an attempt to tackle poor data security and privacy practices that can lead to breaches.

Perhaps the trouble for you as a start up is that GDPR can be a more complex matter than it initially seems. The good news is that seeking qualified IT support and advisory services as soon as possible could make compliance simple.

Fail to take that step, though, and even a seemingly GDPR-savvy start up could get tangled up in unexpected technicalities. 

The how, when and where of your data

Knowing what data you’re collecting and where it is stored needs to be your priority under the Regulation - but start ups don’t always succeed at this. After all, you’re just starting out - you may not even know that your data practices don’t comply with GDPR standards.

As such, you should take the time to understand the intricacies of the data you collect, how it is processed and where it is stored. Ultimately, the more complicated your processes, the more risk there is of breaches. So, focus on streamlining your data management to keep your company on the straight and narrow.

Privacy policy mishaps

A comprehensive internet privacy policy is also fundamental, and it’s yet another area that causes issues. The fact is that most small business owners have never written a privacy policy before, and it’s all too easy to get this wrong.

Ultimately, you should focus on key areas including your details, the purposes for which you collect data, user rights, and so on. Updating these policies if anything about your business practices should change (inevitable in new businesses) is also vital.

One outdated statement could see you slipping outside of GDPR without even noticing. 

Reviewing third-party compliance

You should also review the compliance of third parties, including cloud hosting, couriers, and even the IT company you’re trusting with regulation adherence in the first place! These businesses all have access to your data, after all, and you need to know they’re handling it properly.

Fail to take care of this, and a breach will be your legal responsibility. Doing your checks here is especially vital if you work with companies outside Europe, who may not necessarily have the right background and expertise. 

GDPR compliance isn’t as frightening as it seems, but it does have a habit of tripping up new companies. Worse, the fines and reputational damage of failure are sure to cost. Don’t let it happen by avoiding these pitfalls, and getting on top of GDPR from the moment you make your business public. 

Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler

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