Guide: Data Privacy

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation: A Comprehensive Guide to the GDPR

The value of data security grows in tandem with the quantity of data created and saved. Thus, to function efficiently, any business must establish data protection strategies to guarantee the security of its records.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the main digital data protection law of the European Union. Its mandate affects enterprises and people within the EU as well as international organizations with a consumer or user base in the EU. It also applies to organizations that offer goods or services across all its member states.

This article will discuss what you need to know about the GDPR including:

This is part of our Data Privacy Guide.

What is the General Data Protection Regulation?

While this most likely is not the first time you have heard about the GDPR, most still know little about what it entails. So, let’s start by defining the GDPR.


The GDPR is one of the world’s strictest privacy and security laws. It imposes requirements on organizations that target or gather information about individuals residing in the EU. Europe implemented this data protection law, effective from May 25, 2018. If someone violates the GDPR’s privacy and security regulations, they could face fines of up to 20 million euros.


This law highlights the European initiative and emphasis on data privacy and security.


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A Short History of EU Data Privacy and GDPR

Tracing its roots back to the Right to Privacy as stipulated in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, the European Union has sought to safeguard the protection and preservation of this right through a comprehensive data protection regulation. This effort culminated into what is known as the GDPR today.


With the development of technology and the creation of the Internet, the EU realized the necessity of new safeguards. Thus, in 1995, it passed the European Data Protection Directive, which established baseline data privacy and security criteria and serves as the basis for enacting laws in each member state.


However, the Internet was already changing and becoming the data vacuum it is today. As a result, the European Union’s data protection body declared that the 1995 regulation needed to be updated and called for a comprehensive approach to personal information and data protection.


As a result, the European Parliament approved the GDPR Act in April 2016, and it went into effect on May 25, 2018. 

The General Data Protection Regulation Requirements

The General Data Protection Regulation defines data protection and privacy rules. The new GDPR establishes guidelines for how businesses must handle customers’ personal information.


The GDPR outlines organizations’ obligations to preserve the privacy and security of personal data, gives data subjects certain rights, and provides the assigned Data Protection Officer DPO with the authority to request proof of responsibility and check for data protection compliance.


Here are the ten key requirements for maintaining compliance with the GDPR.

1. Lawful, Fair, and Transparent Processing

Data-handling companies must be lawful, fair, and transparent. All processing must be legal and justified. 


Fair means firms accept accountability and do not process data illegally. Transparency requires organizations to educate data subjects about how their data is utilized.

2. Limitations on Purpose, Data, and Storage

Companies must limit the amount of data they process, collect only relevant data, and delete personal data after processing.

3. Ensure Data Subject Rights

The right to know what information a firm has about its consumers and what it does with that information has been granted to data subjects by the GDPR governing body. A data subject also has the right to request a correction, object to processing, file a complaint, or even request that their data gets removed.

What Rights do EU Citizens Have Under GDPR?

The GDPR gives data subjects various rights to make specific requests and ensure that their personal information is only used for the original, lawful purpose for which it was collected.


The following list are the rights EU citizens have from engaging with a GDPR organization:


  • Right to Access
  • Right to be Forgotten
  • Right for Data Portability
  • Right to Information
  • Right to Object
  • Right to Object to Automated Processing
  • Right to Rectification
  • Right to Withdraw Consent

4. Consent

When a corporation wants to treat personal data beyond the original purpose, the data subject must give unequivocal consent. This consent must be documented, and the data subject can withdraw it at any time.


GDPR also demands parental consent for processing children’s data if they are under 16.

5. Personal Data Breaches

All affected companies are required to keep a Personal Data Breach Register. If the company’s data is breached they must also notify the regulator and the data subject within 72 hours of discovering the breach.

6. Privacy by Design

When designing new systems and processes, businesses should include organizational and technical safeguards to secure personal data; in other words, privacy and protection concerns should be considered by design.

7. Data Protection Impact Assessment

When starting or changing a project or product, the organization must complete a Data Protection Impact Assessment to estimate the impact of the changes or recent actions. An example, is when the processing of personal data is changed significantly, a Data Protection Impact Assessment is necessary.

8. Data Transfers

Regarding data transfers, if a third party processes personal data, the controller is responsible for protecting it and following GDPR. This stipulation means that a controller and processor must secure personal data when moved outside the company, to a third party, or another company unit.

9. Data Protection Officer

All organizations subject to the GDPR must designate a Data Protection Officer (DPO) if it processes a considerable amount of personal data. When appointed, the DPO counsels the business about how to comply with EU GDPR.

10. Awareness and Training

Businesses must educate their staff on the regulation’s most important provisions and provide ongoing training to remind workers of their duties in protecting personal information and promptly reporting data breaches to comply with the GDPR.

What is Considered Personal Data Under the European GDPR?

Any information relating to a person that can be used to directly or indirectly identify an individual is considered personal data. Moreover, email addresses and names are identified as personal data. Political viewpoints, browser cookies, ethnicity, gender, biometric data, and location details can also be defined as personal data. The term can also apply to pseudonymous data if it is relatively simple to identify a person from the pseudonym.

How to Implement EU GDPR Compliance in an Organization?

It can be difficult for organizations to get ready for a large security compliance change. Interdepartmental cooperation and technological solutions that automate and evaluate business requirements, including policy compliance, data security, and mandated reporting, are the most effective methods for achieving GDPR compliance.


With that, the business should include the following in every GDPR compliance strategy:

Increase Awareness Across the Company

First, raise GDPR awareness across your company. Develop and monitor best practices, train breach scenarios and causes, and create a security culture throughout the organization. Make sure staff understand the implications of the new legislation and feel comfortable flagging alerts if they have concerns.

Designate a Data Protection Officer

The GDPR lists specific organizations that are required to formally name a DPO, including public authorities and private organizations whose core business activities involve:


  • Processing operations that call for routine, systematic monitoring of personal information on a large scale.
  • Processing sensitive data or data about criminal convictions or offenses on a large scale.
  • Other circumstances may also necessitate the appointment of DPOs under EU or member-state law.

Establish a Data Inventory

An organization must completely comprehend the data it collects and processes to understand information processing, storage, and transfer concerns.


After creating a complete inventory of data types, each data set should be linked end-to-end throughout the organization’s IT infrastructure to determine all physical and virtual data storage locations. Distribute these lists to internal departments and stakeholders to identify all data categories and storage locations.

Analyze Gaps and Evaluate Risks

Then, you will need to take an inventory of the data and procedures you use and evaluate them in light of the obligations laid out in the GDPR. Make sure to include the external suppliers and merchants.

Create a Roadmap to Achieve Compliance

After identifying potential GDPR compliance gaps, your firm should build a roadmap describing the required processes and system modifications. Some of these changes may involve tightening existing controls or developing new ones.

Track and Report on Progress and Compliance

As established, GDPR requirements require “privacy by design,” which requires IT professionals to design compliance into future data-capturing, processing, or storing company operations. The data protection officer should collaborate with business, and IT teams to ensure compliant operating systems and data management workflows.


The GDPR, which strengthens data protection requirements when handling personal data and establishes restrictions on what organizations can do with personal data, can be regarded as the world’s strictest set of data protection laws.


Ultimately, businesses that demonstrate a genuine concern for customer privacy can look to the GDPR as the gold standard for data privacy compliance. Satori can help businesses met their GDPR requirements quickly and easily. 


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Last updated on

September 28, 2022

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