SMEs already have a lot on their plate. For many small business owners, it can be tricky to navigate data protection rulings and ensure they are being compliant. However, in today’s technology-driven world, it is essential that you are well-informed about what is expected from you when it comes to protecting data.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do it on your own. Nowadays, there are data protection services that can help. In essence, data protection services are designed to help ensure organisations, including SMEs, can comply with the standards like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
While many think otherwise, GDPR applies to small businesses as well. While businesses with less than 250 employees don’t need to follow as many guidelines as massive organisations, they will still be using or storing the personal information of both the customers and employees.
This means they will have to put in place procedures and policies that are designed to protect data that is in their care. They also need to inform the concerned parties where said data will be stored, why, and for how long.
Data Protection Compliance for SMEs
For SMEs, the following are the essential principles of data protection compliance:
From the very beginning, it is important that you are always open and truthful about how you will be using personal data and why. Documents and privacy policies should be written clearly and in a manner that is easy to understand. It should also be accessible to everyone.
Essentially, data minimisation means you will only collect personal data that is necessary and relevant to fulfil your purpose. To do this, you need to first to determine the minimum amount of data you need. You should only have the information/data you need and nothing more.
Whenever you need to store and access a piece of data, you need to identify your purpose for processing it. This can help people understand how their data is used. Awareness can also help them decide if they would willingly share their personal details with you.
Data retention involves only keeping personal data for as long as necessary. The period of time can vary depending on what the data will be used for.You should be able to justify keeping personal data for as long as you do. Ideally, there should be a standard retention period for each type of data.
To ensure good data security, you need to make sure all the necessary measures have been taken to ensure the personal data that is in your care is kept safe. That said you need to take into consideration the safety of the building, the paper documents, and your IT equipment.
It is your responsibility to ensure personal data you have is not misleading. This means you need to keep it accurate and up-to-date. Do periodic audits and checks on the data that is in your care so you can recognise any errors or discrepancies. It is also ideal that you document any of the changes you have made.
As the business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your business remains compliant with the GDPR so data of your employees and customers are protected at all times. This also involves the creation of effective data protection policies, reporting data breaches, and implementing the right security measures.
Data breaches need to be reported right away. You can also minimise the risk of breach significantly by ensuring your staff is properly trained to follow the data protection policies you have set in place and use common sense to ensure personal data is kept safe at all times.