The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a major update to the EU rules for protecting personal data. It aims to restrict how companies process private information (e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc.) and gives individuals more rights over their data.
Every organisation dealing with personal data will need to comply by 25 May 2018, as that is when the GDPR will start to apply. Fines in cases of non-compliance are increased up to €20 million.
Compliance is especially burdensome for professional accountants serving small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This blog sets out how you can get started and where you can find help. If you would like to know more on how to make your own practice GDPR proof and how to help your clients, please check our publication What do the new EU data protection rules mean for you? .
How to get started?
- Review your existing procedures on handling personal information
- How you collect, store and even erase data will be regulated by the GDPR which introduces burdensome obligations for personal information on your PCs and in your filing cabinets.
- Document how you deal with these obligations in policies and work processes and train your staff accordingly. It is important to go beyond a ‘tick the box’ approach and create a data protection mindset.
- Check if your (IT) suppliers are GDPR compliant
- Keeping personal data online poses further security challenges, so you need to update your existing contracts and scrutinise new ones. Around 75% of cloud service providers are not yet in compliance with the GDPR, as was suggested in a report last September.
- Take extra safeguards if any of the personal data you possess are transferred outside of the EU, such as when stored on servers in 3rd countries.
- Get protected against data breach and cybersecurity risks and make sure you can demonstrate how.
- Inform your SME clients
- When you know how to comply, you can combine this GDPR knowledge with your unique insight into their business and support them in this transition.
- You can help them get their personal data in order and reduce the risk of penalties for non-compliance
Where to get help?
- Make sure you have the necessary expertise to implement the GDPR obligations. Seek outside help if you have insufficient knowledge in-house.
- Look closely at the available guidelines that explain the GDPR requirements from: