GDPR Compliance Checklist & the GDPR Requirements for Software Development

The General Data Protection Regulation became official in May 2018 which significantly impacted software solution providers and application developers. Companies operating in the European Union or desiring to enter this market need to be cautious and take stable steps to comply with the GDPR requirements. But, don’t worry and take it easy! We are going to break down the GDPR compliance checklist and provide you with a practical guide on GDPR-compliant software development. 

By reading this article, you will find complete answers to the following questions:

  • What is GDPR?
  • What is GDPR compliance? 
  • What does it mean to comply with GDPR?
  • What are the four strict requirements that define valid in GDPR?
  • How do I make my database GDPR compliant?
  • Does GDPR only apply to stored data?
  • Which type of data is not covered under GDPR?

Key Points

  • All global or local businesses that seek to enter the EU’s marketplace must meet the GDPR requirements.
  • Security, trust, and transparency should be at the heart of your strategy to become a GDPR-compliant company. 
  • Personal data remains crucial, so users should know what type of data you are collecting and why you are collecting the data.
  • The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation offers to hire a Data Protection Officer in order to manage and maintain security in all sectors at all levels. 
  • The primary question is “what are GDPR requirements”, so we are going to provide helpful information related to the question.

Unique Possibilities That GDPR Offers

The General Data Protection Regulation plan was made by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on Apr 14, 2016. It has been implemented since May 25, 2018, and it could be a challenging concern for software development companies that reside in the European Union. 

All in all, the GDPR requirements put an obligatory regulation law in front of software development companies, concerning users’ personal data protection and data breaches. The GDPR states that all businesses must ask users to agree to personal data collection and processing, and it’s critical for software development companies and mobile application providers to prove their GDPR compliance.

  • The regulation is massive in size and scope, but we are here to help you overcome the regulation process. If you’re not sure how you should act and where to start, get in touch with our GDPR consultants, who provide you with expert advice and do the whole process for you.  

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation is a 261-page document that underlines all the GDPR requirements and principles. It can be time-killing to read all the details. So, here are the most important facts about the regulation law:

Is It Essential for Your Business to Become GDPR Compliant?

According to the GDPR compliance document, all organisations which gather or process EU citizens’ personal data are subject to be compliant with the regulation. Whether you’re running a small business or managing an enterprise, the General Data Protection Regulation is mandatory for all types of companies coming from the United States or other countries. 

One essential fact is that all your contractors such as third-party software development companies or individual developers must adhere to the standards and regulations defined in the GDPR document.

Why is the GDPR Such a Big Deal?

First and foremost, it does matter since it provides privacy and personal data protection for users. The EU wants to give people better control over their data and help them avoid issues with data breaches and data misuse. 

The European Union puts the regulation into action to provide trust for people in using digital services and online tools, such as Google, Facebook, etc. 

What are the main requirements of GDPR? Let’s check the following GDPR requirements list to see the answer. 

1. Social Media Platforms Can Benefit from the GDPR

How do you comply with GDPR requirements? The GDPR applies to companies of any size, including those that provide social media platforms, applications, and related services.

As a social media platform provider, you must use privacy policy statements to tell users how you use their data and browsing history. If there is a data processing plan for better services, you must let users know the fact when they register on your platform. 

Also, there is a must-have requirement to establish a risk-free platform in the case of data protection for effectively managing social media risks.

Follow these steps to proceed if you own or manage a social media platform:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive audit that includes employee information, third-party apps, and users’ data
  2. Appoint a Data Protection Officer
  3. Provide transparent and clear information to users about your platform
  4. Let users choose permissions
  5. Put restrictions on employees in accessing sensitive data and set permission levels

The Primary Facts About Social Media Platforms

The GDPR requirements for social media platforms mean providing security and privacy for users. Keep in mind that the regulation doesn’t mean there is a restriction and punishment for social media platform providers. It means you must take a few steps to provide trust for people who want to register and use your services. 

The major implications related to the GDPR and social media are as follows:

  • Emphasise trust: Providing trust for customers in all marketing activities is an essential factor in making them feel confident and purchase your products and services. Still, many customers don’t trust social media platforms and deprive themselves of the numerous advantages that these platforms offer.
  • Security is crucial: Security is a priority for social media platforms since users are remarkably cautious about data breaches and account privacy. Providing a two-step authentication option and creating a strong approval process are crucial in defending users’ accounts and personal data. 
  • Tell them what you do: There might be a need to process users’ data to offer a better user experience on any platform. It does make sense if you provide better search results according to users’ search history. So, the search history must be tracked, collected, and processed. This is inevitable, but you can explain to users why you need to do so. Privacy statements are one of the most important GDPR requirements when it comes to social media platforms.

2. Fruitful Outcomes Ready for Financial Services

The GDPR compliance adds some requirements to financial services companies. This is applied to banks, financial institutions, and payment service providers. The importance of data protection in the financial services industry is more urgent than in other sectors as people pay much attention to their financial processes.

More importantly, third-party applications and services must consider the regulation and design their processes according to the GDPR requirements. 

Apart from training employees in the case of the GDPR and teaching them the details, financial services can implement some practices consistently to be free of errors related to the GDPR requirements. 

There is a wide range of solutions to undertake the General Data Protection Regulation efforts in the financial services industry as follows:

  • Electronic discovery tools
  • Advanced threat monitoring & protection tools
  • Managed file transfer solutions
  • GDPR compliance frameworks
  • Privacy impact assessment
  • Data classification

Notably, it’s also crucial for organisations that process a large amount of financial data to hire a data protection officer. A DPO’s primary role is to ensure there are no data protection issues and everything is working properly. 

You can keep the following facts in mind to design your GDPR strategy for financial services:

  1. Know all the data you’re collecting and processing
  2. Appoint a Data Protection Officer
  3. Evaluate your data protection requirements 
  4. Track and monitor GDPR compliance
  5. Use secure and reliable data transfer protocols
  6. Instantly report data breaches
  7. Keep your privacy policy updated
  8. Stress on good user experience 
  9. Keep an open eye on third-parties

3. eCommerce Industry is in Need of GDPR Compliance

eCommerce companies must consider a few regulation requirements to be healthy and alive in the EU’s marketplace. If you want to sell products or do marketing in the European Union, GDPR compliance is essential. 

The main purpose of the General Data Protection Regulation for eCommerce companies is to bring clarity, trust, and peace of mind to online buyers and online service users. 

Failure to abide by the GDPR can result in a significant amount of fines and penalties, which makes it crucial for eCommerce companies. The General Data Protection Regulation fines could be up to 4% of annual revenue for eCommerce businesses and software solution providers. 

As an eCommerce company, note the following criteria to stay GDPR-compliant and avoid risks.

  • Ordering, payments, and fulfilment: In general, eCommerce companies use third-party services to manage customer orders and authorise payments. These third-party services and application tools must be double checked to comply with the regulation. There are many third-party apps for orders and payments that might collect users’ data and neglect the GDPR requirements.
  • Sales, marketing, and customer support: As an eCommerce business, you must scrutinise sales and marketing processes to communicate with potential customers without any privacy issues. The data collected and stored by the sales and marketing team may be used by other divisions and can be accessed from different systems. Costumes’ data must be securely stored and maintained. Note that the GDPR requires companies to have a DPO in their company to handle all the processes at maximum efficiency.

Here is an action plan for eCommerce industry companies:

  1. Understand users’ sensitive data and information 
  2. Perform a fundamental gap analysis to check if your business is GDPR compliant or not
  3. Appoint a Data Protection Officer
  4. Review contracts with suppliers, third parties, and customers
  5. Note that data transfer protocols must be safe and secure
  6. Provide a GDPR-compliant privacy policy and update it regularly
  7. Pay heed to transparency and accountability

Misunderstandings of eCommerce GDPR: Note the Essential Facts

The General Data Protection Regulation never puts limitations in front of you, and it doesn’t restrict your online business. The regulation plan is all about security to tell people there is no risk or problem in buying online and using digital services. 

Note that there are a few considerations to being GDPR-compliant within the eCommerce industry:

  • What data do you hold?
  • How is the data stored and processed?
  • Why is the user’s personal data collected and stored?
  • Who will the data be shared with?
  • What are the third-party tools and services?
  • What will the data be used for?
  • What are the security considerations to protect users’ data and keep it secure?
  • Is there a need to hire a data protection officer to maintain everything?

4. How Can the GDPR Requirements Provide Security for the Tech Industry?

With the continuous growth in the technology sector, privacy protection laws come to force tech companies to restructure their policies and procedures. Top tech companies and others like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon are required to become GDPR-compliant in order to offer their services to EU people. 

There are a wide variety of data misuse and data leakage issues in the tech industry because of the massive amount of data that flows between businesses and users. Data breaches, insecure third-party apps and tools, social engineering frauds, and phishing attacks force security experts to take action.

The GDPR requirements focus on identifying and eliminating all these problems at the right time. The tech industry continues to suffer from cybercrimes as cybercriminals continue to design new methodologies to perform cyber attacks and steal users’ information.

Note that the monetary damage of cybercrime is increasing, and it has recently touched the value of more than $4.2 billion. Most of the damage was in the IT industry, and this is the fact that forces cyber security organisations to design new regulations. 

Note that there are a few considerations to being GDPR-compliant within the eCommerce industry:

  • What data do you hold?
  • How is the data stored and processed?
  • Why is the user’s personal data collected and stored?
  • Who will the data be shared with?
  • What are the third-party tools and services?
  • What will the data be used for?
  • What are the security considerations to protect users’ data and keep it secure?
  • Is there a need to hire a data protection officer to maintain everything?

Will Compliance be Burdensome for Tech Companies?

Clearly speaking, No. It couldn’t be out of reach to design all the workflows and processes to be GDPR-compliant. Noncompliance leads to fines and penalties, but you can take a few steps and apply all regulatory considerations to keep up with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Under certain conditions, the GDPR requires tech companies and software service providers to appoint a data protection officer. This is especially important for tech companies as a DOP can inform your company of their data protection issues and monitor your company’s compliance with the GDPR requirements. 

5. Bring Attention to the Healthcare and Medical Industry

Think of a data breach in the healthcare industry. How much does it cost, and what negative consequences will it cause for the medical and healthcare industry?  

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation came into enforcement to prevent data protection issues in the healthcare industry. At the time of the announcement, it was a challenging regulation for software development companies as becoming a GDPR-compliant company needs substantial changes in data management and security policies. 

But, the healthcare industry is one of those sectors that has greatly benefited from GDPR compliance. 

There are 3 types of health data that must be protected:

  • Data related to health
  • Genetic data
  • Biometric data

There are a few steps in the healthcare industry to designing the best strategy and roadmap for complying with the General Data Protection Regulation:

  1. Provide a full audit and gap analysis
  2. Appoint a Data Protection Officer
  3. Create a foolproof privacy policy document
  4. Control strictly how employees access sensitive data
  5. Manage consent and get permission from users about the data you’re collecting and processing
  6. Notify data breaches within 72 hours after the incident
  7. Implement safe and secure data transfer protocols
  8. Always monitor and update your data protection strategy

Notable Challenges for Healthcare Related to the GDPR Requirements 

Cybercrimes have recently surged in the healthcare industry, hitting many organisations and related businesses. Ransomware is one of the most scathing attacks in the healthcare industry and attackers would like to use it since it could be profitable for cybercriminals. Healthcare data is valuable, so attackers choose this tool to make money.

We must understand the important challenges in this sector and provide solutions for them.

  • Adoption of cloud technology
  • Lack of cyber security education
  • Deploying data access and control levels
  • Not having timely updates and instant monitoring 
  • Not having a strict backup plan for valuable data 

How Do Business Owners and Tech Teams Look at the GDPR?

Complying with the GDPR requirements could need a big change in your infrastructure. But it provides trust and safety for your business and customers.

Business Owner Perspective

From a business owner’s perspective, achieving the GDPR requirements could be time-consuming and could incur additional effort and cost to abide by rules. Especially if you are in the IT industry or dealing with users’ data security, controls can restrict your business.

All businesses should come into operation and integrate the GDPR requirements into their company if they want to benefit from the EU’s marketplace.

Tech Team Perspective

Tech teams have to implement the best practices related to GDPR compliance. Encouraging tech experts and software engineers to abide by the General Data Production Regulation is key to making good things happen and turning efforts into fruitful outcomes. The tech team and DevOps engineers must use technologically advanced tools and solutions to protect their users’ data and bring practical solutions into action.

How Businesses Can Grasp GDPR Compliance?

As you’ve learned from the previous sections, staying a GDPR-compliant company takes effort, and it does need some time. But, the process cannot be concerning for business owners if they have a GDPR compliance checklist and work with cyber security professionals. 

The thing is that your business needs to be analysed and audited through dedicated criteria to put the best practices into place and get things done. The sooner you start the process, the better you can perform actions and enter your target market. 

We can help you with that through advanced security solutions. A team of professional and experienced cyber security experts will work on your project to help you take care of your customers and their sensitive data. The Nordic Defender Cyber Security team is ready to provide you with a detailed roadmap and help you pass the GDPR requirements in Scandinavian countries.

Primary GDPR Requirements for Software Development Companies

A defined plan includes all the GDPR requirements for software development companies. Note that a GDPR compliance checklist must outline all the required security and privacy facts, including GDPR database requirements, GDPR compliance data storage, etc. 

It would be better to keep on with a GDPR compliance checklist template to pass the process step by step. 

We pull out all the stops to help your business with the following criteria:

1. Risk Assessment

Regular risk assessments are crucial within the scope of the GDPR. Risk assessments help companies identify and analyse threats and vulnerabilities and take action at the right time if needed. By focusing on risk assessment standards such as ISO 27001, organisations can examine and identify all essential sectors that may be liable to cyber threats and data protection issues.

2. Justifying Lawfulness

According to the GDPR requirements, lawfulness and transparency are the first principles of processing users’ personal data. An organisation must adopt a lawful basis for collecting and processing sensitive data, and the organisation must be transparent and honest with individuals about how they collect users’ data and where it will be used in the future.

3. Core Functionality

The General Data Protection Regulation outlines 7 core principles, enabling companies to achieve better functionality. The list below defines all the criteria required for the lawful handling of users’ personal information.

  • Purpose limitation
  • Fairness, lawfulness, and transparency
  • Data minimisation
  • Storage limitation
  • Accuracy
  • Confidentiality and integrity
  • Accountability  

4. Writing GDPR Privacy Policy 

A GDPR privacy policy is an essential entity to help customers know how you’re dealing with users’ data and why you collect it. Your organisation must write a privacy notice, and it should underline the most important facts obviously without any unclear explanations.

5. Data Security During DevOps

Inherently, the DevOps team emphasises security and safety during the software development process. DevOps engineers make use of the latest technologies to develop at high-security levels and provide trust and safety for software products and online services. Paying attention to data security during DevOps is a critical point in bringing the GDPR compliance checklist alive.

6. Enabling Users to Access All the Information Collected About Them

Collecting users’ data is essential to providing better services and software products. But, the way you collect data and the type of the collected data is the focal point for the General Data Protection Regulation. Enabling users to access the collected data and the ability to erase it improves trust and helps users have full insight into the data protection process. 

Be careful that allowing people to see what you collect is important. Cookies are useful for any online platform, but users should know which type of data you are collecting. Above all, they should have an option to deny such features if they don’t like to share personal data like email or contact information.

7. Signing Data Processing Agreement

Generally, every business uses third parties to process personal data. A data processing agreement is an agreement between a data controller and a third-party data process. Note that it’s required for GDPR compliance and is one of the main GDPR requirements on the checklist. 

8. Getting Ready for Possible Data Breaches

In the case of data breaches, companies should take quick steps to respond to the situation. When a data breach happens in an organisation, unauthorised people access information and sensitive data. So, the GDPR puts mandatory conditions when there are data breaches, and organisations must notify the DPA of a breach within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach. 

9. Minimising the Negative Impacts of Cyber Attacks

By hiring a DPO and integrating all the GDPR requirements into your company’s processes, you can minimise the negative impacts of cyber attacks. A cyber security professional can modify your IT security plan, monitor threats, develop a reliable backup plan, and provide instant solutions in the case of data protection issues. 

10. Stressing on Using Secure Web Protocols

Using outdated web protocols and data transfer practices opens the doors to hackers. Contact us forms give hackers a chance to steal personal data, and you can prevent the issues by implementing SSL certificates. This also applies to data transfer protocols, and all organisations should care about how they transfer users’ personal data.

11. Internal Data Security Policy for Determining How Employees Access Users’ Data

Internal data security policy is as critical as third parties. Employees in an organisation could access users’ personal data, but the access should be controlled at specific levels. There is no need to give access to sensitive data to all employees, and controlling access can help manage risks and prevent threats fundamentally. 

12. Encrypting and Anonymising User Data

Data anonymisation is a method of removing or encrypting personally identified data from a database. The main purpose of doing data anonymisation is to ensure the privacy of individuals who use your services and software tools. It can significantly improve the personal data protection level and prevent companies from the negative effects of data breaches. 

What Nordic Defender Cyber Security Offers

Cyber security is the protection of connected systems from all types of cyber threats. A strong cybersecurity strategy can provide you with the convenience that your sensitive data, systems, and devices are protected against cyber attacks and exploitation. 

Nordic Defender Cyber Security Team, works with you to design a foolproof strategy and level up your hardware and software systems to gain advanced security.

Nordic Defender Cyber Security helps you achieve the following advantages:

  • GDPR-compliance standards
  • Comprehensive cyber security strategy for sensitive data protection
  • Business protection against cyber attacks, including malware, ransomware, social engineering, etc.
  • Protection against data breaches
  • Prevention from unauthorised access to systems and personal data
  • Highly reliable data backup strategy
  • Management of access control

Security Starts Here

The GDPR requirements came to force global and local businesses in Scandinavia and other EU countries to adopt new security practices and integrate the latest technologies into their company. Undoubtedly, the GDPR compliance requirements can be inconvenient for businesses at the first sight. But, it does offer security for both users and business owners if properly implemented. Feel free to contact us if you want a smooth and fast security strategy.

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