A Guide to GDPR Compliance in the UK

GDPR Compliance


GDPR in ukRegardless of the industry that your business occupies, you need to make sure that you are fully compliant with many aspects of UK law. Most crucially, this includes General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR Compliance . Here is a quick guide to GDPR compliance to help your business stay on track. 

What is the GDPR?

GDPR was introduced in 2018 to replace older and outdated data protection laws. As the modern world moves forward, we need to make sure that we can keep up with the many changes that happen online. It is vital that we as individuals are able to protect our personal data. A big part of this comes from having the trust and belief that the companies we choose to buy from are doing everything in their power to protect the data we share with them.

The full GDPR document is extremely long and detailed, but it is important that all businesses have a good understanding of how this set of regulations applies to them. Compliance in this area is a must for any businesses that wish to trade within the UK as the GDPR will apply to them, even if the company itself is based beyond Europe. 

What is Personal Data?

The issue at the heart of GDPR is the management of personal data. This is the data that allows an individual to be identified, either directly or indirectly, and so it obviously needs to be protected. It could be something obvious like their legal name or location data, or it could be something like their IP address or the cookies stored on their computer. 

Under GDPR, it is important to note that there are several categories that could be considered sensitive personal data, and so these need to be protected to a greater extent. This sort of information can include but not be limited to someone’s racial or ethnic origin, political options, religious beliefs, or biometric and health information. 

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All companies that handle business within the UK will need to be either controllers or processors, as outlined by the GDPR. Controllers are to be considered the ones with overall control and the means of processing data. The processors, on the other hand, act on behalf of or on the instructions of the controller, with the controllers having the stricter obligations overall. Should you be at all confused as to the role that your company will play in terms of data protection, it might be worth looking into compliance consulting to ensure that you have the right structures and protections in place.

What are the Key Principles of the GDPR?

Article 5 of the GDPR lays out the seven key principles of the legislation. They are less hard rules that must be obeyed precisely, but are instead a wider framework that is supposed to help companies manage data more effectively. 

The first principle is lawfulness, fairness, and transparency, through which you must be prepared to identify to the GDPR the lawful basis you have for collecting and using personal data. You must ensure that you do not use the data in a way that breaches other laws, and you must be honest and open with people in terms of how you will use their data, without processing it in a way that is misleading to those who have given it to you.

The second is purpose limitation, where you need to be clear about the purposes as to why you are processing data, and make full records of this information. This fits well with the third principle of data minimisation, ensuring that all personal data you process is adequate, relevant, and limited to all you need for your purpose. All personal data should not be incorrect or misleading, and you should understand that this might include keeping personal data updated, in line with the fourth principle of accuracy.

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The fifth principle is storage limitation. You need to ensure that you are not holding your personal data for any longer than you might need it, and you need to be able to justify the reasons why you hold it. The sixth principle is that of security, to ensure that the data you hold is protected to the full standards of the integrity and confidentiality of the principle. Finally, the last principle is accountability, wherein businesses need to take responsibility for what they do with personal data, and have the relevant records in place to be able to demonstrate their compliance.

This is not an area of the law that can be ignored. Most businesses nowadays will have to deal with data protection in some way or another. Make sure that you are familiar with the GDPR and full data protection rules so that you can ensure that you are using personal data within your company responsibly.