The May 25 deadline for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance is fast approaching. If you offer your products or services in the European Union, or even if you merely possess data on residents from the EU in your contact database, the regulations could impact your business.
What U.S. Companies Really Need To Know About GDPR
GDPR is an extremely comprehensive — and complex — set of guidelines designed to offer more privacy protection for EU citizens. There are 99 individual articles governing nearly all aspects of online behavior and the ways that companies collect, store, manage, distribute and maintain data.
It would take hours to read through all 99 articles, and days — if not months — to understand everything contained within the regulation. But with the clock for compliance ticking down fast, you don't have that time to spare. With that in mind, here are the main aspects of GDPR that you need to be familiar with.
It's All About Consent
GDPR aims to take the authority of data collection out of the hands of the collectors and put it into the hands of website visitors. In order to be compliant, users must explicitly provide their consent to have their data collected, and they must be offered a thorough understanding of how that data may be used.
Users Are In Control
EU residents who do provide their consent must also be allowed to manage the data that is being collected. This can include the ability to update and correct data, transfer their data to other companies, and download their data at any given time.
The Right To Be Forgotten
One of the main pillars of GDPR is the "right to be forgotten." This "right" gives EU residents the right to demand that their personal data be erased from your databases and systems. U.S. companies must provide a mechanism for erasing this data in a timely manner.
Yes, GDPR Applies To (Some) U.S. Companies
While GDPR focuses on protecting the personal data of EU citizens, it does have implications for businesses in the United States — even if you don't have any employees or offices within the EU. That's because, under the GDPR, your company is subject to its guidelines if you possess personal data of an individual residing in the EU. If you collect information — either via form submissions or via cookies and visitor profiling — on your site then you could very well be in possession of this data.
As people around the globe become more aware of threats to their personal information and more protective of their own data, measures like GDPR will become more commonplace. We may soon see updates to data protection rules in the U.S. as well.
The key to compliance is understanding what is expected of you, and leveraging tools and technologies to make the job easier while eliminating any burden of risk that may fall on your shoulders.
If you need help making sense of GDPR for your manufacturing website, let us help. Reach out to our team today.