Companies have a significant responsibility to process personally identifiable information securely and in accordance with applicable laws. In cross-border business actions, data is often exchanged across national borders. This increases the complexity of data protection, as the relevant data protection laws of all countries (jurisdictions) involved must be taken into account. Violation of regulations can result in financial penalties and have a lasting impact on trust in the integrity of the company.
Knowing the Regulatory Framework
In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation provides the legal framework for data protection. This regulation applies directly in all member states and, due to its extraterritorial application, to all companies worldwide that process personally identifiable information of individuals from member states. It defines how personally identifiable information may be processed and what rights the data subjects are entitled to.
In some areas, the regulation leaves scope for national, supplementary data protection regulations. Therefore, all companies must comply with both the General Data Protection Regulation and the national data protection laws of the member states in which they operate.
Data protection laws with extraterritorial effect also apply to companies based in the European Union that process data from persons outside the Union. This ensures the protection of the rights of data subjects, regardless of the location of the company processing the data.
Using Information and Communication Systems
The General Data Protection Regulation sets out specific requirements for the documentation that companies must create and maintain. Creating compliant documentation is one of the major challenges in data protection.
Companies can use various systems for documentation, including paper-based, electronic or a combination of both. Regardless of the system chosen, companies must have a reliable system to securely store and quickly access data protection policies and related documents. This enables quick action in the event of violations and inquiries from authorities.
In some areas, whistleblower systems are also required to enable employees to report data protection violations anonymously. Such systems must have functions that ensure the protection of those reporting. These include anonymity, confidentiality and the ability to securely collect and provide evidence.
Meeting Compliance Requirements
For companies, data protection is a continuous process with technical and organizational challenges. An important component is the appointment of an internal or external data protection officer as the central contact point for data protection issues in the company. This person supports the fulfillment of data protection requirements, in particular in identifying and minimizing potential risks in data processing.
Software and consulting services can provide valuable support in operational data protection. They make it easier to create and manage data protection documentation. With regular training courses and audits, experts ensure that companies are informed about the latest developments and that processes are regularly updated.
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