GDPR: Top Five Myths De-bunked Right Here

Ross MacKenzie
Tags: GDPR

There’s a great deal of information available about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its impending implementation (25 May 2018), and it can sometimes be difficult to decipher fact from fiction. Here, we cut through the confusion to bring you the top five myths surrounding GDPR – the EU regulation governing the storage, management and processing of EU citizens’ data.

GDPR won’t affect the UK because of Brexit

Some UK businesses believe it’s a good idea to hold off on investing in the means to achieve GDPR compliance, given the lack of clarity around precisely what Brexit will look like. This is a mistake – UK firms, like in any other EU member state, will need to be compliant with the GDPR by 25 May 2018, or face potentially huge fines.

Being subject to GDPR requirements isn’t restricted to organisations within EU countries. Organisations based outside the EU but storing/managing/processing EU citizens’ data will also need to comply – and the UK government has undertaken to fully implement GDPR May 2018.

Post-Brexit, experts say the UK will either continue to be subject to GDPR, or have a new law that is similar to GDPR. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – the appointed authority for dealing with data breaches – says it will work with the government and provide advice on the continuing application of the GDPR, or any replacement regime.

GDPR compliance is my cloud service provider’s responsibility, not mine

Businesses utilising personal data for business purposes cannot pass the buck to their cloud or security service providers that process or store personal data on their behalf. GDPR doesn’t only affect a business that collects data – a business that handles the data will also have to ensure they are compliant with the new regulations.

Even if a data controller is not storing personal data (i.e., it uses a third party to store such data), the data controller will still be held responsible for compliance with the GDPR. Both controllers and processors share responsibility for meeting GDPR requirements.

If any of a business’s data is hosted off-premises by a third-party, the business must ensure their cloud service provider can deliver the appropriate level of security, produce logs in the event of an incident and produce them as and when they are required.

As a business, we have to employ a Data Protection Officer

The appointment of a Data Protection Officer (DPO) is only required for public bodies and organisations that engage in large-scale systematic monitoring or large-scale processing of sensitive personal data. In fairness, this covers almost every medium to large enterprise.

However, organisations not falling into one of the categories above do not have to appoint a DPO (although it could still be considered good practice to do so!)

There is a technical checklist for GDPR

It’s not that simple! Unfortunately, GDPR doesn’t prescribe specific data protection technologies, but rather process requirements. However, businesses should already be talking to their IT providers about core data security solutions.

Regulators want to catch businesses out

There is an assumption that the regulators will immediately come calling on any business that hasn’t met the GDPR requirements by the 25 May 2018 deadline. That isn’t the case. The ICO is likely to adopt a pragmatic approach to the situation, and accommodate those organisations it can see are putting effort into achieving compliance.

“We’re not going to bang everyone's door down on 26 May, saying ‘give us a cheque for four percent of your annual turnover [the maximum fine for a breach],” Peter Brown, senior technology officer at ICO said recently.

The ICO doesn’t want to see companies incur huge fines, or fail – rather it is positioning GDPR as an opportunity for organisations to assess and improve their data processing operations. However – that doesn’t mean companies can slack off in their compliance efforts in the lead-up to the new regulations!

Cobweb GDPR data hub

The BBC article,"Could new data laws end up bankrupting your company?" (7 July 2017) included a quote from Mark Thompson, a partner in KPMG's privacy advisory practice: “Many businesses have no idea what to do and don't want to grasp the nettle. There’s a lot of misinformation and panic around at the moment, but if businesses don't take responsibility for this at board level they will fail.

At Cobweb, we’re here to ensure businesses can cut through the misinformation and don’t need to panic. We’ve created a GDPR hub where we’re posting relevant information – and have arranged a series of workshops, corporate assessments and clinics to be run by independent GDPR Implementation Consultant, Pierre Westphal.

The first 3-hour workshop take place in London, Wednesday 26 July – register now to book your place!

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