The way in which organizations handle data has changed enormously in recent years, so it’s important that businesses have an in-depth understanding of the Data Protection Act and the new GDPR legislation.
Staff responsible for handling data should understand how these laws relate to their role and their industry as a whole, as failure to adhere to the law when it comes to protecting sensitive and confidential information could have a catastrophic impact on a business. Here’s what companies need to know about managing data in the workplace.
What Is GDPR And The Data Protection Act?
The General Data Protection Regulation, also known as GDPR, was brought in across the EU in 2018 and increases the obligations an employer has in relation to the data they collect, use and protect. As an employer, companies need to be transparent about how they’re using and safeguarding data both in and outside of the organization, as well as being accountable for the processing of that data.
Certain organizations, such as public authorities and government firms, may also need to appoint a Data Protection Officer to process special category data. There are eight core principles to the Data Protection Act, which ensure that everyone responsible for handling data is working to the same strict guidelines.
Each Person Must Make Sure Data Is:
- Used lawfully
- Used for limited and specifically stated purposes
- Used in a way that is not deemed to be excessive
- Kept only for an amount of time that is absolutely necessary
- Handled according to the data protection rights
- Kept safe and secure
- Not transferred outside of the EEA without adequate protection
Employees should know how to correctly follow this act, but they also need to understand how the law is enforced and the consequences of a data breach. This will ensure that employees are prepared for the repercussions of a data breach and will hopefully lessen the chances of one occurring.
Tips For Protecting Data
The first question any business needs to ask themselves when faced with data is “Do we need this?”. It’s a simple strategy but one that is highly effective in ensuring that companies aren’t storing data unnecessarily or for longer than they need to.
If the data is needed, making it anonymous where possible is a way to protect the information or you can uniquely encrypt each record which makes it more difficult for would-be hackers to access the data, even if they do manage to get into the system.
If your business relies on databases heavily, the key to securing any data is through regular backups that will help to prevent vulnerable information from being lost or becoming leaked. Backups should take place at least once a month but ideally on a weekly basis.
Another way to protect data from being shared accidentally is to have a dedicated server for sensitive business materials, which can only be accessed with a password and requires another password for the information to be downloaded.
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