The GDPR is right on our doorstep, but many startups are still not completely sure about the impact on their business. Law Square, one of Start it @KBC’s partners, helps startups and larger corporations with legal issues, including the protection of personal data. Lawsquare lawyers Leen Van Goethem and Laura Brodahl share 5 tips for startups that don’t quite know what to expect.
The General Data Protection Regulation is created to protect the personal data of European citizens. The regulation will take effect on May 25th, which means companies that use customer data, have just a few days left to be prepared. These 5 tips are the first step towards being GDPR-proof.
Tip 1: Know what you’re doing.
When starting a new business or project, check whether you collect, use and process your (potential) customers’ personal data. That data can be someone’s name and address, but also their favourite snack or the websites they like to visit. If you plan to collect, use and save this data, the GDPR is something you absolutely need to be informed about.
Tip 2: Be safe.
It’s ok to use personal data, but make sure you do it in a responsible way. It’s crucial that you create a safe environment for your data, so hackers can’t get a hold of it. This means using secure IT protection software, but it also implies being extremely careful with paper documents lying around on your desk and in your office.
Tip 3: Be transparent.
If you are using your customers’ personal data, be as open to them as you possibly can. Transparency is not only a legal obligation, it’s also a way to earn their trust. Explain to your customers what their data is used for, without sticking to legal terms and complicated phrasing. Be creative: a good-looking video, an informative visual or a playful cartoon can do wonders.
Tip 4: Use only what you need.
Don’t save personal data that you can’t or won’t use. And if you do decide to use it, don’t hang on to it longer than you strictly need to. When someone is no longer a customer, ask yourself: do I really need to keep this person’s data?
Tip 5: Keep a paper trail.
When you’re updating your data protection policy according to the GDPR, don’t forget to document every step you take. Make sure that you can fully illustrate all the initiatives you took to improve data security. Show that you are motivated and willing to do things right.
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