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6/30/2017
03:15 PM
Jai Vijayan
Jai Vijayan
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8 Things Every Security Pro Should Know About GDPR

Organizations that handle personal data on EU citizens will soon need to comply with new privacy rules. Are you ready?
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Image Source: symbiot via Shutterstock

In just under one year, the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will formally begin being enforced.

The statute requires any company, or entity, that handles personal data belonging to EU residents to comply with a broad set of requirements for protecting the privacy of that data. Significantly, GDPR vests EU residents with considerable control over their personal data, how it is used, and how it is made available to others. Under the statute, data subjects are the ultimate owners of their personal data, not the organizations that collect or use the data.

Companies that fail to comply with GDPR requirements can be fined between 2% and 4% of their annual global revenues or up to €20 million - which at current rates works out to just under $22.4 million USD - whichever is higher. 

Enforcement of GDPR begins May 25, 2018. It replaces Data Protection Directive 95/46 EC, a 1995 statute governing the processing and protection of private data by companies within the EU. One of its biggest benefits for covered entities is that GDPR establishes a common data protection and privacy standard for all member nations within the EU. Organizations within the EU and elsewhere will still need to deal with data protection authorities in each of the 28 member countries. But they will no longer be subject to myriad different requirements from each member nation. 

The statute was written for EU companies. But any organization, anywhere in the world that collects or processes personal data belonging to EU residents is subject to GDPR requirements. 

Surprisingly, given the specific and stringent nature of GDPR, a vast majority of U.S. companies covered under the statute do not appear to be in any particular hurry to comply with its requirements. A Spiceworks survey of 779 IT professionals from the United States, the U.K, and the EU showed that only 5% of entities in the US have started to prepare for it. While nearly one-third of all organizations in the EU are concerned about potential GDPR-related fines, barely 10% of U.S. companies appear worried that they could end up being on the wrong side of the law. 

Here's what you need to know about GDPR and what to prepare for, according to EUGDPR.org and others. 

 

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio
 

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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
7/3/2017 | 6:32:33 AM
Taking data stewardship for granted
Speaking as someone who works with data-privacy issues for a living, I think it's important and commendable how Jai breaks these factors down.

For people like us who work with these developments, relatively things like knowing that GDPR applies regardless of your organization's relationship to the data, conducting assessments, having to comply with various access, transfer, removal, and informed-consent measures as pertaining to the relationship between individuals and their data, and having an officer specifically appointed to data protection when it comes to certain kinds of sensitive data and/or certain kinds of organizations, seem at least semi-obvious. But these things are easily forgotten or otherwise not considered when you're simply trying to operate an enterprise.

It is so important for people who work in this field to understand that their clients and colleagues may not intuit compliance or best-practice factors -- and likewise important for us to stay abreast of everything and not take anything for granted.

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