What Does GDPR Mean to an IT Manager, CTO, or Systems Admin?

The EU's new data protection regulation will have a major impact on IT
March 10, 2017

Effective May 25, 2018

What's happening? General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes effective in the European Union

GDPR means a life-changing way to how you will carry out your daily job—it is a continuous process, not a one-time task. You will not become GDPR compliant and then wait for an audit. You must constantly think and work within the legal framework of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Regardless of your role within IT, I recommend you become knowledgeable about GDPR as soon as you possibly can. This regulation will affect Chief Technology Officers to System Admins and all levels of seniority in between.

It will become as much part of your working life as having a cup of coffee is, and should be embraced. Think about your own personal data and how it can be used to identify you and how you would like it to be used.

I cannot emphasize enough how important GDPR is, although there seems to be little emphasis placed on it in the general news.

By preparing for GDPR now, you can anticipate its effects instead of being surprised.

What do I need to consider now as a CTO?

In my first GDPR article, I listed the eight rights individuals have over how their personal data is used under GDPR. I will detail these further in my next article, but here I will answer some of the questions you should consider now in relation to those rights:

If we do not use personal data to contact or profile customers, does the GDPR apply to us?

Yes—personal data is a broad definition that will become even broader under GDPR. The regulation defines personal data as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person/individual”.

Some examples of personal data that may identify you include: human resource personnel records, CCTV images, social media accounts, website and newsletter registrations, access control systems such as cardkey systems into your office, gym membership details, an IP address, and location services on your cell phone.

Who is responsible for ensuring that we work within the General Data Protection Regulation?

Company-wide data controllers and processors are ultimately responsible, but it’s our own responsibility to work in manner that facilitates compliance. Additionally, a data protection officer must be designated in certain circumstances.

A controller is defined as an entity that, alone or jointly with others, determines how and why personal data is processed.

This role is similar to a data controller as we know it under the existing EU Data Protection Directives, but the scope of what it controls has expanded under GDPR. In addition, processors now have responsibilities, too, although legally the controller has ultimate responsibility to ensure processors follow the rules.

A processor is defined as any person who processes data on behalf of the data controller (apart from a person directly employed by the controller). Examples include third-party companies, such as marketing firms and cloud hosting companies.

A data protection officer (DPO) may need to be designated or employed by the company and will be seen as the leading authority on GDPR compliance within the organization. Briefly, a DPO is required when processing of data is carried out by a public authority or body, or where data is processed in a regular and systematic method on a large scale, or when large scale processing of specialized data such as criminal convictions Is undertaken.

I am employed by a company based outside the EU and my HR records and payroll are all processed from the parent company. Do they still need to comply with GDPR?

In all probability, yes. If a controller or processor is not established in the EU but offers services or sells goods in the EU or processes data that identifies individuals in the EU, it will need to be compliant. It is the responsibility of the data controller to ensure they comply.

So, what do I do next?

Stay tuned for my next article, which will give you the top 10 steps to get started with GDPR.

I will break it down into manageable, practical steps that you can plan for now and be ready for May 2018.  

I will also share some HelpSystems solutions you can use to prepare for GDPR. The regulation’s heavy fines are a serious matter, but we can help you take a proactive approach to GDPR and reduce the worry.

Ready to Get Started?

Contact the GDPR professionals at HelpSystems for a free 30-minute consultation. We’ll help you determine what you need to do next to get ready for GDPR. 

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