In less than 9 months, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into full effect. It will introduce tough new privacy requirements for companies in the EU, as well as anyone who handles EU data. The new set of laws imposed by the GDPR will give consumers significantly more control over the ways in which their data is collected, distributed, kept, and destroyed.

Although May 2018 may seem like a far way off, but when you consider the complex changes many organizations will have to undergo in the way they handle personal data, the date is actually approaching pretty quickly.

To successfully prepare for GDPR, companies of all sizes need to establish a solid foundation for meeting compliance before the new laws come into play. We’ve compiled a list of tips you can follow that will help you align your business practices and processes with GDPR regulations. Our list is not exhaustive, but can help businesses put a few preparations into place in advance.

1. Raise Awareness

Businesses handling personal data both in and outside of the EU must begin by developing a full understanding of the GDPR and exactly what it entails. It’s vital to recognize that GDPR applies to organizations everywhere in the world as long as they handle data containing any personal information about EU citizens, no matter where the data is stored. Make it a priority to circulate training videos or documentation containing detailed information on GDPR regulations around your organization so that everyone can begin to understand how it applies to your business processes.

2. Develop a coherent privacy policy

Organizations will need to clearly communicate with customers the purpose for which they are collecting their data under GDPR, so writing privacy policies that are easily understandable should become a top priority. Consumers need to be aware of their rights to disclose or refuse disclosure of personal information and understand the specific purpose for which it will be used. The GDPR also outlines that any information that’s collected for a stated purpose can only be used for that purpose after obtaining consent.

Most companies practice transparency, but it’s important to make sure that privacy policies that contain a lot of fine print must be brought to the forefront and made legible and easy to understand or you could be faced with a fine. The fines for data breaches are huge – In cases of violation, the GDPR gives EU regulators the authority to impose fines of between 2 and 4 percent of a company’s global revenues.

3. Prepare your data breach policy

GDPR is no different than many regulations in that it requires you to inform consumers about data breaches that may affect their personal information – but with one catch – you have to do it within 72 hours. It’s one of the tightest timelines out there in the compliance world and may require that you revise your current data breach policy. Ensure that your insurance policies and internal procedures for incident reporting reflect the new law.

4. Assess existing technology risks

When strict regulations come into play, organizations need to reexamine the solutions they use to send and receive consumer information – it’s important to assess which solutions may need to be upgraded or replaced. If your HR, finance, or other departments are currently using inherently non-secure means of transmitting sensitive data between countries, it’s time to reassess your options. A cloud fax solution, for example, eliminates several of the security risks that come with using traditional fax machines.

Cloud fax software enables employees to send and receive sensitive documents directly from their workstations, which means no more printed documents left lying around potentially falling into the wrong hands or being otherwise misplaced. Full knowledge of your organization’s technology risks can present opportunities to leverage existing solutions that will get rid of any security gaps in your infrastructure and help enable GDPR compliance.

5. Investigate innovative new technologies

GDPR will require companies handling personal data to develop strong data discovery and incident detection processes so that they can keep track of where their information is, and is being sent, at all times. Not everyone has a data controller on staff, and refining these processes doesn’t have to be a complicated task. Consider secure file exchange solutions that automate some of the workload for you.

Solutions with features such as a built-in audit trail function eliminate guesswork by keeping a timestamped record of all files and documents that are transferred, whether inbound or outbound. Not only does can this boost organizational workflow, you’ll have a chronological record of system activities in case you’re ever up for audit. It’s all too common for organizations to transfer consumer’s personal information without the proper safeguards in place, which is why looking into new technologies that can improve your processes is so crucial.

By understanding the GDPR in advance, you’ll get a stronger grasp of its requirements and be well on your way to mitigating any risks associated with how you handle personal data. Looking to boost security when sending and receiving sensitive information? Speak with an expert today to learn about solutions that will help take your organization’s security and compliance to the next level.

The original article can be found here.

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