Understanding the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Understand the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its impact on your business. Learn about the expanded definition of personal data, stricter rules for data collection, mandatory security measures, and tips for compliance.

Understanding the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
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GDPR ... it's an acronym that’s given more than a few organizations across the globe sleepless nights!

Well, truth be told, GDPR is just another compliance matter that most organizations will come to terms with. This includes your organization too. But, if you’re still having a hard time figuring out what GDPR is, you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we'll explore GDPR and find out how to comply with it.

Introduction to the GDPR

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a regulation (No. 2016/679) that was passed in 2016 by the EU Council and the European Parliament. It mainly has to do with the protection of client/customer data concerning how it is processed and moved.

Now, what makes GDPR a big deal is that it is not just some recommendation that can be adopted voluntarily. It is a legally binding regulation and therefore, must be obeyed by all concerned parties. The GDPR will force individual member states of the EU to amend their laws regarding data protection, ensuring that everyone follows the same standards.


The regulation is mainly aimed at protecting consumers. So, the law has everything to do with data erasure, rectification, the right of access, the right to be forgotten, data portability, the right to limit processing, and the right to object. To put it simply, GDPR will give citizens of the EU far greater control over how their data is used by companies.

Typically, GDPR is aimed at organizations and services that process vast amounts of data. However, it is also applicable to any organization or business that collects and stores data for commercial purposes. This includes small businesses and even individuals.

Personal data storage and data use have always been an issue. We’ve seen how careless some companies can be when it comes to handling such personal data. GDPR simply aims to prevent such problems in the future. With GDPR and the laws that enforce it, people in the EU will receive more rights and protect their data effectively.

The regulation is quite vast and complex. But here's the most important thing to know: the GDPR protects consumers from data theft. It covers everything from IP addresses and biometric data to email addresses and digital signatures.

How Does GDPR Impact Cybersecurity?

Violating the GDPR means that you can be fined up to 4% of your annual profit or twenty million Euros, whichever is greater. And while you may think that the GDPR doesn’t impact your business because you live outside of the European Union, that's not the case. As long as you work with customers or clients who live in the EU, you will have to make sure you comply.

Here are some things you should know about the GDPR and your cybersecurity strategy.

The Definition of Personal Data Has Changed

With the GDPR, the definition of personal data has changed. ‘Personal data’ already is a very broad term, but most of the time, it’s used to refer to the personal or financial information that could disclose an online person’s identity. However, under the GDPR, the term ‘personal data’ has been greatly expanded.

According to the GDPR, every one of the following now constitutes personal data:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Postal Code
  • Passport
  • Driver’s License
  • Bank Account Numbers and Information
  • Credit and Debit Card Numbers
  • IP Addresses
  • Union Membership Numbers
  • Genetics
  • Biometrics
  • Workplace Information

You must explicitly obtain the consent of any EU member who you are doing business with to obtain any of that information. Furthermore, you must clarify how the information is being used, and also grant the citizen the right to withdraw their consent at any time they desire.

Collecting Personal Data Is Now Much More Restrictive

The GDPR is incredibly restrictive in regards to collecting personal information. You must obtain the explicit consent of the customer or client before you can take any of that information from them, in addition to allowing them to withdraw consent at any time.

But the real reason why personal data collection is now much more restrictive under the GDPR is that ‘obtaining explicit consent’ means that the only way to obtain it is through affirmative and unambiguous language.

In other words, you can’t just send the user a list of terms that they can either choose to agree to or not agree to. Instead, you need to explicitly ask them for each piece of information that you request, and you must also clearly indicate how that information will be used. You will not be allowed to use any personal information from a customer or a client for marketing.

You Must Fully Assess and Report Any and All Security Risks

Under the GDPR, you must constantly monitor and report data breaches within 72 hours of the data breach occurring to a supervising authority.

Examples of specific steps that you can take to monitor your data include performing routine checks on your framework, so you can identify which areas are the most vulnerable to security breaches, whether they be email threads or social media, or website traffic.

You Should Adopt A Multi-Layered Approach To Cybersecurity

While you may believe that you can keep every piece of your office equipment connected to the internet secured and protected with a high-quality firewall, the truth is that firewall software is not an adequate defense on its own.

Instead, you need to adopt a more multi-layered approach to your cybersecurity. Having firewall protection is great, but you will also need to invest in encryption technology, automate your manual processing, and reinforce file transfer safety.

A DPO Will Keep You In Compliance

Under the current rules of the GDPR, data protection can be divided into two halves:

  • The first is the data protection from the controller or a business owner who obtains personal information from the customer.
  • The second is the employees of your business who are responsible for executing directives using that information.

The problem is that the vast majority of business owners and employees don’t know how to comply with the GDPR. This is exactly why many more businesses are hiring a DPO (data protection officer) to educate you and your employees, provide accountability, and ensure that all parameters are followed.

You Should Streamline Data Management Across Endpoints

Last but not least, you should streamline your data management across your endpoints. Having multiple connected devices greatly increases the odds of having your data hacked.

To do this, you need to ensure that all network access endpoints are connected to a consolidated entry dashboard. This will also help IT teams supervise your data flow and control who can and who can’t move through an endpoint, thereby minimizing the risk of outside threats.

Tips for GDPR Compliance

Here are a few best practices for GDPR compliance:

  • Conduct reviews of your policies. Talk to the stakeholders to know where the organization stands on data privacy regulations.
  • Determine where the data is stored, how it’s utilized, and how policies are applied to the data. Also, determine the kind of data that is collected.
  • Hire forensic experts to conduct analyses and identify areas that are likely to face issues, such as security protection and PII.
  • Once you know everything there is to know about the data, verify the security and technical controls.
  • Make sure the data maps are incorporated with intrusion protection systems.
  • Develop a compliance plan that covers internal workflows, IT environments, third-party agreements, security controls, and altering data storage locations.
  • Establish a proper audit and review program to ensure that compliance is achieved continuously.


Hopefully, with the information in this post, you now have a more clear view of how the GDPR works. Obtaining and protecting the specific personal data of your European Union customers will become a much bigger priority, so it’s crucial to have the right security solutions in place to keep that data secure.

As you build your international content, it's important to make sure your translation tools are GDPR-compliant. The Localize platform is Privacy Shield Certified, and it's fully compliant with international data privacy laws like the GDPR.

To learn more about Localize, contact us today!

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