The EU has recently approved two important acts: the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. Both of these largely affect how big tech firms handle user data, and also remind us of another landmark judgment passed around this time four years back.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was first introduced on May 28, 2018, and established data privacy as a fundamental right in the EU and the rest of the world. The impact it had was all-pervasive because it affected all businesses that handle EU citizen data. The GDPR continues to remain a golden standard when it comes to data security.

Before exploring four important GDPR compliance requirements every organization must know, let's take a look at the following topics to get an overview of the regulatory standard.

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR is a security regulation that focuses on data privacy in EU member states and the EU economic area. It is enforced by the European Commission and is a comprehensive document with 99 articles categorized into 11 chapters. The GDPR explores the collection, transmission, and processing of citizen data, and extensively covers the procedure of addressing a data breach. The legislation was passed a few months after the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal, emphasizing the need for a law that prevents such data misuse.

Unlike its predecessor, the Data Privacy Act, which stated that each EU member state has its individual privacy legislation, the GDPR is a common regulation enforced in all member states unanimously along with any organization that deals with the personal or private information of citizens.

Why was it put in place?

The Data Privacy Act of 1998, which was replaced by the GDPR, was an outdated law based on the EU's Data Protection Directive of 1995. Before the GDPR came into effect, most online platforms placed a heavy focus on obtaining personal information from users, stating a very vague and lengthy privacy policy followed by a bunch of check boxes and opt-in buttons.

The increased use of social media apps and users sharing large amounts of personal data online created a need to regulate the information put online. The GDPR was enacted to give citizens more control over their data.

Important terminologies

The GDPR defines certain concepts in its fourth chapter for a better understanding of the regulation. Let's take a look at some of these.

  1. Data subject: Any person who can be identified through both online and offline identifiers that are specific to that person
  2. Personal data: Any information about a data subject
  3. Processing: Any operation or set of operations executed on personal data, including collection, recording, and storage of data
  4. Restriction of processing: Storing data in a way which restricts the need for further processing
  5. Controller: Any legal person or entity that decides the purpose and means of processing personal data; this could also mean a government body where applicable
  6. Processor: Any legal person or entity that processes personal data on behalf of the controller
  7. Recipient: Any person or body to whom the personal data is sent or disclosed irrespective of whether they are a third party, except public authorities
  8. Consent: Freely given indication by the data subject, either through a written statement or affirmative action, that their data can be processed
  9. Personal data breach: A security breach that leads to unlawful handling of personal data that has been processed
  10. Source: Official Journal of the EU

4 must-know GDPR principles for IT compliance

Companies that comply with the GDPR are required to have a transparent data processing procedure that is carried out for a specific purpose. It must give employees and customers rights and privileges over their data as listed in the GDPR. This includes notifying the victims without undue delay after a data breach since it may put their rights and freedoms at risk. While it is essential for organizations to implement all of the GDPR's requirements to ensure employees have control over their information, here are four you simply cannot miss.

  • Right to access: The right to access states that users can obtain a copy of their data being collected and ascertain what data the company has on them.
  • Right to erasure: The right to erasure, or the right to be forgotten, ensures that a user's data is erased by the company if the user does not consent to it being processed. It can be revoked under certain circumstances, like if the processing is required for reasons like compliance, public interest, or exercising the right to freedom of information.
  • Breach notifications: The GDPR requires that data controllers notify the concerned supervisory authorities of a data breach within 72 hours of its occurrence. The controller is also required to document this event for compliance reasons.
  • Non-compliance charges: Non-compliance with the GDPR can result in a fine of up to 20 million euros or 4% of the global turnover of the undertaking, whichever is higher.

Complying with GDPR policies using SIEM

The right to access and the right to erasure mandate that organizations track all employee data being processed to ensure transparency and a smooth compliance process. Data subjects also have a right to know who is processing and has access to their data.

This is where SIEM comes in. A SIEM solution like Log360 can help you:

  • Design audit policies and track changes or modifications made to folders containing confidential data.
  • Create customized reports for access changes or security incidents.
  • Set up instant email and SMS alerts in case of a suspicious modification or activity.
  • Detect data breaches using real-time event correlation to ensure they are reported within 72 hours of occurrence.
  • Document and store all necessary data for compliance and legal reasons.

Get GDPR-compliant with ease. Choose a SIEM solution like Log360 to help you automate the time- and resource-heavy auditing process. Want to learn more? Request a personalized demo with our product experts to get started.

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