3 Tips to Stay Ahead of Changing Data Privacy Laws
Keeping on top of constant regulatory changes can sometimes feel like a losing battle; however there are some strategies companies can implement to ensure they stay compliant.
We are currently witnessing an unprecedented level of data privacy laws being enacted (e.g. CCPA and LGPD) or revised (such as PIPEDA or APPI) around the world. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) marks the most important change in data privacy regulation in the last 20 years and has created a far-reaching ripple effect. For companies it can be very difficult to keep up to date with the growing number and increasingly complex regulations, in order to avoid hefty fines and brand damage. The challenges include keeping policies up to date with new and changing regulations, training employees on these policies, reducing policy redundancy and inaccuracy as well as meeting specific demands related to legal compliance.
Let’s check what can companies do to keep up and stay ahead of the changing data privacy landscape:
Understand the core of privacy regulations
Data privacy laws are evolving at a dizzying pace and focusing on the foundation of what these laws aim to achieve will produce the best returns for organizations. Ensuring legal compliance should be a key part of every company’s strategy and objectives. Simply put, nowadays it is no longer optional to protect customers’ data and trust. Specifically, many data protection regulations share important things in common, like: protecting the rights of individuals to access and control their personal information, collecting it with consent and being transparent about its use, and defending it against unauthorized disclosures. The majority of the data privacy laws have an extraterritorial reach, meaning they apply to organizations that collect and process the personal data of individuals residing in the country, regardless of the company location. Given the variety of data protection regulations around the world, organizations should approach privacy in a more holistic way.
Keep a legal counsel
In order to stay up-to-date with data privacy laws, organizations should do regular audits, while to stay ahead, they should have trusted legal guidance concerning region, industry, and technology. Failing to comply with one or some regulatory acts can have multiple negative consequences, including penalties and reputational risks. In order to be compliant, monitoring all data privacy legislation is highly recommended for companies.
Depending on the size and the industry, businesses should either consult a data security or privacy attorney or keep an in-house counsel or full-time privacy manager to analyze the laws that apply to them and provide suggested actions for staying compliant. The biggest concern with regards to changing privacy laws is probably for SMBs that don’t have their own legal counsel that keeps them up-to-date. Hiring an attorney or a privacy consultant can be an effective measure, the latter being a good solution for companies looking for cost-effective solutions. The advantage law firms and in-house counsels have is their access to tools that offer near real-time reports about regulations. The role of Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) and Data Protection Officer (DPO) is also on the rise, these employees being responsible for developing and implementing the privacy strategy within an organization.
Create strong privacy foundations
In order to stay ahead of changing privacy laws, companies should create a strong privacy foundation and have a well thought-out policy. New policies and rules need to be aligned throughout an organization’s many levels; however by institutionalizing data privacy as a core value, it will be easier to react to changing regulations and specific legal obligations because the infrastructure, personnel, and awareness will already be in place. Once created, policies should also be up-to-date, by having a dedicated staff member or team in charge of ensuring its accuracy and consistency with regulatory changes.
Several data protection laws include the Privacy by Design and Default principle, that refers to embedding information security in all processes, systems, products or services from the start and ensuring that personal data is processed with the highest privacy protection.
Companies should also consider using software solutions that help them to keep up with compliance requirements and automate policy-related processes.