What is GDPR and why do businesses need it?

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Data protection is the process of safeguarding important information from corruption, compromise, or loss.

All businesses must properly handle the personal information given to them by individuals, e.g. their customers and employees. In the UK, the main legislation governing the collection, processing and distribution of personal data is the Data Protection Act 2018 (The DPA) which is enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The DPA is the legislation that implements the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The Seven Principles

The GDPR sets out seven principles for the lawful processing of personal data. Processing includes the collection, organisation, structuring, storage, alteration, consultation, use, communication, combination, restriction, erasure, or destruction of personal data. Broadly, the seven principles are:

  1. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
  2. Purpose limitation
  3. Data minimisation
  4. Accuracy
  5. Storage limitation
  6. Integrity and confidentiality (security)
  7. Accountability

Data controllers are responsible for complying with the principles and letter of the regulation. Data Controllers are also accountable for the processing of data and must demonstrate their compliance. This is set out in the new accountability principle.

GDPR and data protection

It is important to understand the spirit of GDPR. The legislation came into existence because of the way personal data had been treated in the past. Many companies treated personal data as a resource they could utilise without regard to the rights of individuals.

For example, some companies sold customers’ email addresses, allowed sensitive data to be seen by unauthorised people, and failed to adequately protect data against hackers.

GDPR gives control of personal data back to the people who own it, and it requires organisations to make data protection a core part of their operations and processes. Yes, this affects big, data-driven organisations but it also has important implications for small businesses. Not every business can stop a determined data thief from taking data from their systems. The industry is littered with examples of complex systems being accessed by ‘hackers’ and data being stolen. However, if your business is exposed to data theft or data loss, the focus will turn to the policies and procedures you had and have in place to protect the data you hold.

AML & Compliance

At AML & Compliance work with existing businesses to review their current approach to data protection. We aim to enhance this where necessary and assist start-up businesses or those which have not fully considered the impact of data protection. Our focus is to ensure that all businesses we work with understand and comply with the requirements of the legislation and therefore protect the data they hold. We ensure the businesses we work with have proportionate and sensible policies to actively demonstrate the efforts taken to control and protect data.

We provide a bespoke service that develops and delivers quality data protection policies and procedures that are proportionate and protect your business. We work with you, if needed, on an ongoing basis to protect your business, staff and clients.

To enquire about our Data protection and GDPR services and how AML & Compliance can work with your business you can call us on 0203 985 8553, email us info@amlandcompliance.co.uk or complete an enquiry form.