How does GDPR affect small businesses?

Due to technological advancement over the years, more data is shared worldwide than ever before. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the former Data Protection Directive which was introduced in 1995. The core aim of GDPR is to effectively change the laws to protect the privacy of individuals, giving them greater control and rights over their personal data. The GDPR law will affect your small business and any other business which processes the personal data of any EU citizen, including businesses who have less than 250 employees. Whether the data is collected on a spreadsheet, computer, or even a mobile phone, the GDPR rules still need to be closely followed.

Firstly, it is vital to know where your information is coming from. This is because if you have a business where data from an EU citizen is processed, this law applies to you. Additionally, GDPR applies to institutions outside of the European Union which offer products or services inside of the European Union which means your organisation does not have to be based in the EU for this to apply. It is important to consider the plethora of ways that you can officially get consent from your customers to use their personal data. Arguably, the best way undergo this process is to offer the individual genuine choice and control, keeping the requests for consent separate from other terms and conditions, which means the agreement is specific and clear. Predominantly, it is vital to inform each customer how they can withdraw consent from you holding on to their data at any time. This process should be explicitly explained and made simple for the customer because if individuals are unable to have the right to withdraw when they wish, your business does not follow the GDPR regulations and a customer may sue you if they wish.

Next, when working with other suppliers it is important that they are also following GDPR, so your business is not at risk of being impacted with the negative consequences of not following GDPR. There are a multitude of ways you could ensure you are protected, for example, you could create a form that confirms what measures they have in place, followed by a discussion regarding this topic. As data processing registries will become compulsory, your business will have to keep a record of data processing activities, both personal and with outside suppliers.

As it is easy to dwell over the difficulties your small business may have to experience when dealing with the latest alterations of the GDPR laws, the new regulations have the potential to increase the consistency of data protection practices globally, making it safer for small businesses and their customers. As well as this, GDPR is slowly moving the market into a more data driven model which can benefit small businesses at an enterprise level. Increasingly, these regulations encourage firms to unify data onto one platform which means it can be made anonymous if needed and reported on.

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