The European data protection regulation aims to provide a strict framework for processing personal data and give persons better control over their data. To this end, several new measures have been introduced, including giving individuals new rights and increasing the responsibility of organizations processing personal data. This is known as data controller accountability. This principle is one of the pillars of the General Data Protection Regulation. It implies that the controller ensures compliance with data protection regulations and can demonstrate actions taken and their effectiveness.
Being responsible for compliance means being proactive and well-organized in the approach adopted to protect personal data. To achieve this, the data controller must implement appropriate and effective measures. Article 241 of the GDPR states that these measures must be relevant to the processing’s nature, scope, context, and purposes. The risks that the processing is likely to generate for the rights and freedoms of individuals must also be considered when defining these measures.
A global compliance management system can help create concrete and practical compliance and plan the assessments and controls to be carried out. The procedures must be exhaustive and proportionate according to the processing activities.
A suitable and effective GDPR compliance program is essential for protecting personal data and legal compliance.
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The first essential step in setting up a GDPR compliance program is to fully assess your company’s current data protection situation. This involves identifying the personal data collected, how it is used, stored, processed, and the processes in place to ensure its security. This makes it possible to determine the level of compliance, identify gaps concerning the regulations, and define an action plan to achieve an appropriate level of compliance.
Raising awareness and training staff
GDPR compliance can only be achieved if staff know how to protect personal data. It is essential to set up regular training courses to inform employees about good data protection practices and make them aware of the risks associated with privacy breaches.
Data processing policies and procedures
Establishing clear policies and procedures for data processing is essential. This includes defining the legal basis for data processing, retention periods, the rights of data subjects2, technical and organizational security measures, and procedures in the event of a data breach.
Managing processors and suppliers
Organizations should carefully review contracts with their processors and suppliers to ensure that they also comply with the requirements of GDPR. They should ensure that they only use processors that offer sufficient guarantees in terms of technical and organizational measures and that they keep documentation to prove this compliance.
Conduct Data protection impact assessment
The DPIA3 is a process for assessing the risks associated with the processing of personal data. It is essential for processing operations likely to generate high risks for the rights and freedoms of individuals. The DPIA makes it possible to identify these risks and implement appropriate measures to mitigate them.
Consent and individuals’ rights
The GDPR requires individuals’ consent to be free, informed, specific, and unambiguous. It is, therefore, essential to review and, if necessary, update the processes for collecting consent from users to ensure that they meet the requirements of the GDPR. In addition, individuals have rights regarding their data, such as the right of access, rectification, erasure, restriction, and portability, which must be considered in the compliance program.
DPIA, record of processing activities, Privacy by design …
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The GDPR requires Privacy by design and default. This means that companies must incorporate data protection measures into the design of their products, services, or IT systems, and by default, privacy settings must be set at the highest level, leaving users the option of adjusting them according to their preferences.
Keeping the necessary documentation
Documenting all the steps involved in implementing the GDPR compliance program is essential. Documentation enables compliance to be demonstrated in the event of an audit.
This includes, in particular:
Record of processing activities
Necessary contracts, including subcontracting contracts
Documents relating to the security measures put in place
Documentation relating to personal data breaches
Data protection impact assessments carried out
Strategy followed for compliance with the principle of limited retention
Mechanisms for managing the rights of individuals
Processes for complying with “data protection by design and by default” obligations, etc.
Assessing and updating the program regularly
A GDPR compliance program is not static but must evolve with the changes made. The measures must be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in legislation, projects, and processing operations.
By following these steps, companies can create a comprehensive GDPR compliance program adapted to their organization and capable of meeting the regulatory requirements for protecting personal data.