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As the compliance date of 25 May 2018 draws near, it's vital to consider whether or not your business needs to align with the General Data Protection Legislation.

As the GDPR is golden standard for data protection legislation globally, POPIA compliance may not be enough, depending on your data handling commitments as an organisation.

Two main groups will be affected by GDPR: ‘controllers’ of data, and ‘processors’ of data.

Controllers of data are those who state how and why personal data is processed. These include online businesses, charities and even the government – basically any entity that collects any element of personal data.

Processors of data are those entities who actually process the data, such as IT companies.

According to the GDPR legislation, even if controllers and processors are not based in the European Union, GDPR compliance is still mandatory, as the data they are collecting and/or processing belongs to EU residents.

So, how do you know that this means you?

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you must comply with the GDPR:

1. Is your business established in the European Union?

This includes having an agent operating within the European Union.

2. Do you offer goods and services to people in the European Union?

This legislature includes online retailers. For instance, if your e-commerce site contains pricing in Euros, or redirects from .eu to . co.za websites, this counts as offering goods and services in EU.

3. Do you monitor the behaviour of people in the European Union?

These individuals do not necessarily have to be EU citizens - it applies to any and all residents of the EU.

4. Is your organisation a processor for a controller who must comply to the GDPR?

It is the onus of the controller to ensure that their data processor adheres to regulations, whilst processors themselves must ensure that they comply to the legislation that determines how they record their processing activity. If a processor is involved in any sort of data breach, they will be liable under GDPR legislation.

5. Does your organisation have a processor within the EU?

If you responded yes to any - or all - of these questions, compliance to the GDPR is mandatory for your business.

According to Ross Saunders, the Director of Global Technology Services at Cura Software Solutions, failure to comply comes at a hefty price.

“The fines issued for non-compliance will be enforced by local regulatory bodies. These potential fines are divided into two levels. The first is up to €10 million or 2% of the company’s global annual turnover of the previous financial year, whichever is higher. The second is up to €20 million or 4% of the company’s global annual turnover of the previous financial year, whichever amount is higher. The potential fines are considerable and more than enough incentive for companies to ensure compliance with the regulation.”

For more on GDPR and how to prepare, don't miss our webinar designed to address implementation challenges.