6 Small Business GDPR Hacks

6 Small Business GDPR Hacks

6 Small Business GDPR Hacks. The Independent surveyed small business owners, revealing staggering results. Many confessed ignorance about GDPR, endangering millions of personal records. Half of 1,000 business owners were baffled by data protection rules. Intrigued by this, I’ll delve into key compliance insights from my experience.

Background For Small Business:

In 2023, numerous small businesses encountered scrutiny due to insufficient controls. The regulatory landscape advised businesses to embrace optimal approaches for GDPR compliance. However, the transformation in culture is still pending for many smaller organisations. Consequently, the dynamic of a cat-and-mouse interaction between small businesses and the ICO has proven intriguing to observe.

In 2017, numerous organisations adopted a reactive approach. Opting to observe developments until May 2018. When 2018 arrived, their perspective was to monitor who faced fines initially, assuming that their small size would shield them from penalties. As time progressed and the initial chaos subsided, numerous small to medium enterprises concluded that GDPR was an overblown concern. This rendered the notion of a heavily regulated business environment, demanding accountability and GDPR compliance, obsolete. Astute small business proprietors instead embraced regulations, devising tactics for seamless GDPR compliance that didn’t significantly disrupt their operations.

Having seen over 1.6 million pounds in monetary penalties imposed during 2019, it’s becoming evident to numerous small and medium business proprietors that a shift is occurring. This time, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is directing its attention towards small businesses and their adherence to information governance and data protection practices. This trend is propelled by a significant effort to raise awareness among data subjects about their rights under GDPR. Consequently, instances of complaints or breaches reported by dissatisfied customers or employees are more likely to emerge as a means of holding organisations accountable for their shortcomings.

As a small business, there are several key areas that affect businesses with under 25 employees or staff and under or equivalent to £250k annual turnover. 

6 Small Business GDPR Hacks:

legal Requirements:

  • Register with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Sounds simple but many small businesses have failed to register themselves, opening themselves up to fines as this is a mandatory requirement. The ICO have a checklist online for people to use as a way to determine their obligations so this free resource leaves little margin for error when registering your business. 

Accurate Documentation:

Currently individuals in the UK and EEA have more rights and controls around how businesses big and small use their personal data. A key part of the regulations outlines subjects have the ‘right to be forgotten’ data subjects can withdraw their consent for organisations to use their personal data. So how will you maintain controls to be able to implement this affectively whilst keeping an audit trail of all the actions that were taken and why.

Defined Processes:

  • If you conduct marketing campaigns, identify whether you’re relying on consent to process personal data. Marketing activities are more difficult under the GDPR because the consent needs to be clear, specific and explicit from the data subject in question. Also bear in mind the ePrivacy regulations that are looming overhead

Obligation & Time Scales

Data subjects have the right to access all of their personal information, data, correcting anything that’s inaccurate, or challenging the processing in certain circumstances. They can also request for you to completely erase all their personal data that you may hold. The time frames can be extended in exceptional circumstances. However, from the request date, you have 30 calendar days to respond to the data subject to fall in line with current GDPR law. 

supply Chain Due Diligence

  • As the regulations change so does accountability so you should ensure that all suppliers and contractors are GDPR-compliant by having a defined process to avoid being impacted by any supply chain breaches and consequent penalties. Further to this, the correct documentation needs to be in place in the form of supplier contracts. Such contracts should include stipulations that obligates them to notify and inform you of any breaches that occur.

Responsible Data Protection Officer:

  • Does your core activities involve ‘regular or systematic’ monitoring of data subjects on a large scale, or involve processing large volumes of ‘special category data’? Then you may well need a DPO mandatorily, many are exempt but find out by following the right process. 

As the year comes to an end. Many individuals are eagerly anticipating 2020 and setting various goals and ambitions for their businesses. Recognise the importance of data protection and ensure cost-effective compliance with regulations by understanding your business’s stance. Dedicate time to acquaint yourself with the rules and their effects on your industry. Collaborate with specialists or hire relevant experts to handle the task internally. In any scenario, the path to sustained success lies in proactive measures and readiness. Therefore, taking appropriate actions in the upcoming year to achieve compliance and uphold it is crucial.

GDPR Support Services – https://compliancedirectsolutions.com/data-protection/gap-analysis-compliance-audit/

ICO Guidance – https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/uk-gdpr-guidance-and-resources/data-protection-principles/a-guide-to-the-data-protection-principles/