The General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) role is to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe. Big companies gather a vast amount of data and process it, so the law regulates how it can be shared and managed and assures customers of their privacy.
However, it’s not only big corporations that should be worried about GDPR compliance; small businesses and startups often neglect these regulations. In fact, even if the amount of processed data is significantly smaller than in the case of big companies, if you manage any customer data as a startup – you need to know the regulations. Companies should assure the customers that their privacy is secured in any business regardless of its size. So what exactly does it mean for startups to be GDPR compliant?
Why should I be GDPR complainant?
It’s evident that once life has moved to the digital, as users, we leave plenty of personal information on the Internet even when we’re just surfing online – by cookies, by sharing our locations, photos, or e-mail addresses. Not to mention the sensitive data that we leave if we shop online and type our credit card numbers when registering our details.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes – as customers, we want to be sure that the data held is not leaked and the assurance that nobody from the outside has access to it. People are more and more afraid to leave their data on the Internet, especially after the affair with Google and Facebook, who were fined a total of 8.8 billion dollars.
What can happen if I neglect the regulations?
For a company or even a fledgling startup, the main motive to pay attention to regulations is the possible legal consequences that might appear in case of lack of compliance. The regulations are of such great importance that if you neglect GDPR, you might pay a fine of up to 20 million Euro or 4% of your global revenue. Additionally, if, after an annual audit, it turns out that you manage the valuable data in a way that violates your customers, you are open to being sued, which will entail even more costs.
To be sure that your startup functions in the way it should, you should consult professionals for help. Institutions like Cartwright King can provide you with law advice regardless of the nature of the business you run. You might not even be aware that you breach the law, and prevention is always better than cure. It’s safer to prevent it instead of dealing with the consequences once a breach has been detected.
Who can be fined?
The data controller and data processor both come under scrutiny and are responsible for GDPR compliance. The data controller is an entity that determines the purpose for which the data is processed. So, if you’ve decided to run a startup – you are a data controller. But it is data processors that are involved in processing the data itself.
Hence, as your data processors are equally responsible for data security, you should list all data processors for each personal data category. It’s exceptionally crucial that you are sure that each outside entity that has contact with your customers’ data provides them with sufficient security.
Is GDPR a good thing for me?
Many startups and SMEs panic when they hear about the GDPR compliance and how much they would have to pay in case of a breach. However, it can be beneficial for startups. Firstly, suppose the company from the very beginning is designing its structure to comply with the regulations. In that case, it can only be beneficial in the future for business growth.
Secondly, business marketing benefits from GDPR compliance, as the rules of ad targeting have changed. Now, startups need to define their target market and obtain permission to send the customers an email with their offer. Even though it might seem like much more effort, the marketing results are better, as customers are happier as they’re not flooded with spam.
The bottom line
If you’re in the middle of the process of setting up a startup, and you still haven’t checked the exact rules of GDPR, it’s high time to do so. What’s more, as the control over privacy on the Internet is continuously increasing, we can be prepared for more upcoming data security regulations.
Finally, GDPR compliance assures that you are trustworthy and makes your company more accountable. If you hire a legal specialist who can help you understand and adjust to the requirements, the only thing you can get from abiding by the law is more benefits for your startup.