User Information is the key to ensuring a better user experience. B2B and B2C companies require user data to generate leads and optimize the user experience. But due to varying political legislations worldwide on information security, it has become a hassle for many companies to penetrate a foreign market without violating their information security legislation.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the European Union, where the prevalent information privacy legislation is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR is reputed for its stringent guidelines on the privacy of personal data, and so many information security companies and consultants vehemently advocate it for SaaS businesses.
What is GDPR?
GDPR is a European Union (EU) legislation on data privacy for all EU residents. The GDPR harmonizes European data privacy laws, protecting and empowering all EU residents’ data privacy and reshaping how regional organizations approach data privacy. GDPR came about on May 25, 2018. Also, check out more information on GDPR Compliance Guide.
Who is subject to GDPR?
The short answer version of the answer is any entity that wishes to conduct business with EU residents and ask for their sensitive personal data. For example, a medicine delivery app can receive direct information about the patient’s condition through the information on which medicines are being bought. The parent company of that app and any subsidiaries leveraging this data will need to comply with GDPR guidelines before it can be operational in the EU.
But the devil is in the details. Let’s deep dive into the questions you should be asking yourself that will culminate into the central question, ‘Do I need to comply with GDPR?’.
Do I need to be GDPR compliant if I am not based out of the EU?
This is a common question among many organizations. GDPR is made not for EU-based businesses but for EU-based users. You can be based out of anywhere in the world, but to cater to the EU residents, being GDPR compliant is imperative. For example, if you are an India-based app developer catering to EU residents and are not GDPR compliant; then you will be subject to heavy fines.
How does GDPR affect my website and app?
For both websites and apps, GDPR compliance will be necessary if the audience comprises EU residents.
Especially in the case of a website, even if it is not registering user data automatically through cookies if there is even a fillable form on the website which can be filled by an EU data subject, then you will need to comply with GDPR to have their data.
Mobile Apps are also covered under GDPR compliance. Apps must ask for permission to collect personal user data like library access, login credentials access, and user location.
What information is protected under GDPR?
GDPR covers a whole range of personal information, including really sensitive data of the person. GDPR makes the business liable for the protection of this data. Under article 9 in GDPR, the sensitive personal data that is subject to oversight includes basic user information name, age, and gender, along with ethnicity, religious and political inclinations, medical and biometric records, philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, sexual orientation, genetic data, geographic information, IP address, cookie identifiers, health data, payment information, etc.
What are the effects of Brexit on GDPR?
The United Kingdom (UK) still retains its own version of GDPR even after Brexit on February 1, 2020. It is retained under the name “UK GDPR” with almost the same guidelines as the EU’s GDPR. So GDPR compliance (EU Version) will not permit you as UK citizens, but due to the stark similarity, it won’t be hard for you to get UK GDPR as well. A UK Citizen’s data will only be protected under GDPR if they are within the EU borders. However, due to the sovereignty and independence of the UK, they have the authority to keep it under review as it sits alongside an amended 2018 DPA version. After Brexit, the EU now categorizes the UK as a “third country” under GDPR. Thus, any UK-based businesses looking for EU consumers will need to abide by the EU’s GDPR as is prescribed by them for a third country.
Perhaps this can seem like a daunting hurdle for you as a beginner, but every problem is an opportunity in disguise. People from all over the world are becoming more proactive about their data privacy. So the brand value of an organization that is GDPR compliant skyrockets in the eyes of the EU and global residents alike. This can lead to a positive public image, creating strong signals for more sales. As of February 2022, there have been around 1,000 fines for GDPR violations, with the highest fine going up to $56.6 Million, incurred by Google.
If you do not want to levy such a financial liability and want to break into the EU market, then we suggest opting for Scrut as your GDPR compliance guide. We take over all the compliance-related responsibilities from you and get your GDPR certification in no time.
Scrut Automation is an innovative and radically simple governance, risk, and compliance automation platform for growing startups and mid-market enterprises. With Scrut, compliance teams can reduce ~70% of their manual effort in continuously maintaining compliance towards SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and CCPA. Schedule your demo today to see how it works.