How can compliance training save companies from GDPR violations?
Compliance training has become an urgent need for companies owing to the introduction of rules such as GDPR.
What is GDPR?
As per this rule, any organization which gathers data from residents of the EU/based there or works on that data has to protect it. For such rules to be applicable, such data-collecting organizations can also belong outside the EU, but must be collecting data from residents of this region.
All such data are considered personal when someone to whom it belongs can be identified or detected from it. If any such personal data has been transferred to another organization based in the EU for law enforcement activities, then it’s not a criminal offense. But if it’s used for such purposes by an organization existing outside the EU, then it can be punishable by law, unless there is an agreement between both countries like a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
So this law has several implications for companies who collect and operate on data collected from EU residents or those living there for employment purposes but have not given the residency status as yet.
Hence, compliance training assumes an important context because now the companies have to be responsible for any kind of disclosure of data. Employees of companies need to be trained in aspects of data protection, as to how they can prevent data breaches from happening.
The real incident of GDPR data breach
The firms have to ensure that they have data protection measures in place so that customers are sure about GDPR compliance enforcement by the former. The data breaches, if any, happen can lead to heavy fines for a company as per the Data Protection Act 2018 of GDPR compliance rules. For example, recently, these rules were violated by the Marriott International Hotel Group in 2019, and they had to pay heavy fines to the tune of £18.4m. The stolen data was quite precious because it included all the credentials of this hotel’s customers’ such as their email addresses, passport numbers, names, etc.
The GDPR rules were applicable in this case because 7 million UK guest records had been affected by this data theft. The UK had not left the EU when these incidents happened. As per the ICO investigation, it was revealed that Marriott had failed to implement the correct systems to prevent such malicious data access from its systems.
How can compliance training help?
The company can maintain records that it trained employees about the adverse consequences of a data breach as per the GDPR rules. Apart from increasing an employee’s awareness about such rules, the company can maintain evidence about its organizational efforts through its training records.
The companies must also provide such training regularly so that any aspects of the new laws are brought to the notice of employees.
The training will differ with regard to the employee’s knowledge regarding GDPR. The employees who are in a senior position in the company need more clarity regarding such rules. However, frontline staff needs practical training because they handle data entry. Such employees need to be trained about their duties to report any kind of data breach.
These are the potential red flags that every business leader needs to be aware of:
No involvement of other departments except the IT
The IT department can not only be held liable for a data breach. All the stakeholders in the company are responsible for it, including officers from HR, marketing, and finance departments. If they are not included in the compliance program, it’s a red flag for a business that any data breach can happen in the future.
No Data protection officer
There is no data protection or privacy committee appointed by a company to supervise all the compliance activities. So, in case any data breach happens, there is no contact point for the customers. Also, the company does not have anyone to be held responsible for such an incident when the local authority does an investigation. Such companies can be victims of data breaches because they can’t advise the employees about their duties through loopholes found by the privacy committee or the DPO.
Compliance Training not implemented for all
Human error is one of the foremost reasons why data loss happens. Such errors can be involuntary, but lead to the loss of the company’s reputation. Hence, compliance training must be made obligatory for all kinds of employees. Cyberattacks have become so rampant that they can happen to anyone’s PC. Employees must know all the ways a hacker can get access to their systems through phishing, malware, etc.