In this article, we’ll talk about the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is a regulation law, the main point of which is to define the rules that should be followed by each EU company or a vendor that provides services for the EU market and works with personal data of its clients. It requires business organizations to protect the personal data and privacy of the EU residents. The reason why it should not be ignored is that non-compliance will cost companies a lot. This set of regulations affects all stages of software development life cycle. To avoid undesirable expenses and become a GDPR compliant company, each business owner should understand what personal data is and how it should be collected and stored.
Personal Data and Its Importance
The main aim of GDPR authors was to formulate the rules that will regulate how personal data of EU citizens are collected and processed. Therefore, we must deal with the terms first. Personal data is any data that can be used to identify a person, i.e., user information, behavior, interests, geolocation data, etc. The pieces of such info are collected by websites and online applications. In case of data leakage, a malefactor can use these details for criminal purposes.
But if a company that provides services online and collect user’s data can store it in a way that doesn’t allow to identify a real person behind it, such data is not considered as personal. GDPR explains how a company should handle sensitive data of its users.
What Is GDPR?
Various regulators and governing bodies around the world have established certain standards in order to secure personal data and business-critical assets. General Data Protection Regulation Act (GDPR) is one of these regulations, and it protects the personal data of citizens of the EU.
As a company that provides the software development services worldwide, we are responsible to provide GDPR-compliant software, so that clients will be sure in having their personal data secured. When developed software collects, manages, or stores the data of EU citizens, XB Software ensures that it is GDPR-compliant. You can be certain that your privacy rights and user data is protected.
To understand how everything will work in practice, it is important to consider the following special aspects of the GDPR Act:
- GDPR is one of the most comprehensive laws related to user’s privacy. It gathers together many existing EU data regulations;
- If you handle business in EU, you have to make sure that your company is GDPR compliant. This act influences all organizations that provide online services or collect personal data of the EU citizens. If you’re an owner of an online app or website that collects the data on its visitors, you are a subject to these regulations;
- GDPR significantly improves the process of working with personal data, because it pushes business owners to review their policy towards personal data of the users;
- Data minimization helps to decrease infrastructure costs. GDPR limits the use of personal data by business organizations. Therefore, companies are able to optimize the infrastructure and lower the costs;
- The software vendor review process is crucial. GDPR clearly defines the difference between so-called data controllers (organizations that define the details of how personal data should be processed) and data processors (organizations that gather and process personal data). What’s important is that responsibility for GDPR compliance lays on data controllers. It means that it’s required to identify all third-party companies involved in personal data gathering and processing to make sure that they strictly follow all recommendations;
- GDPR requires the high level of transparency and agility. The ability to follow the rules it states leads to the improvement of the organization’s agility needed for fast response to user requests.
GDPR both increases the responsibility of an organization for the personal data and provides some potential for improvements.
The Measures Allowing to Build GDPR Compliant Software
Let’s see what actions can be taken by business owners to reach full GDPR compliance:
- Make sure that the intention to keep your user’s info private is one of your main principles. A user that is applying for your services must be assured that the website or application he is going to use has settings with the high-level privacy. This rule must be met without any actions from the side of a user;
- Privacy concerns should be the core concept of any developed software and must not be considered as optional functionality or plugin. You can’t put your users before the dilemma: functionality or privacy. Software that doesn’t follow the described requirement is considered as illegal;
- You should define what personal data you collect, how you store, and process it. In order to follow this requirement, you can use a separate document or specially designed software. Such tool can be used to keep records on all manipulations with user’s data, responsible employees, access level, and other related information;
- Minimize the amount of personal data in use. Use only the minimal sufficient amount of users’ personal data that is required for running your business. If it’s possible, try to minimize user identification. If you apply for the services of a custom software developer, discuss the possibility of implementing the function of deleting unnecessary user data. These measures will both protect the private info of your users and help you avoid undesirable consequences of data leakage.
Extra Tips That Will Help to Follow the GDPR Rules
In addition to taking measures that will guarantee the GDPR compliance of your software, you should follow some additional rules that determine your workflow and relationships with clients:
- Keep records of every measure that was taken to follow GDPR requirements. It will help you to prove that your company is GDPR-compliant in case of such need. If you spend efforts on following the regulations without documenting anything, all undocumented actions may, in some cases, become a waste of your time and resources. You can hire a certified specialist whose duty will be to track and document all measures related to reaching full GDPR compliance;
- Remember that you have to get permission from users if you’re going to collect and process personal data. Therefore, you should inform them about the details of data processing and its transmission to another country. The description of how everything works should not contain any unclear statements or equivoques;
- If you don’t want to lose reputation or pay for the unforeseen circumstances, the information security must become one of the highest concerns of your company. According to GDPR Act, encryption is one of the key measures that help to follow the requirements. But if a software vendor prefers any other option to be implemented in a custom web application, it’s also acceptable.
It’s pretty easy to understand why business owners in EU are concerned about the set of regulations described in GDPR. It changes the way of how you collect and store personal data. Therefore, it is vital to make your company GDPR compliant. Such measures both protect you from losses and increase customers’ loyalty.