What's the Penalty for Failing to Comply with GDPR Regulations?

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By Alex McDowell, freelance writer.

As a business owner, complying with laws and regulations is absolutely essential. Failing to do so can have serious consequences for your business; you could see severe reputational damage or even face legal and financial penalties.

GDPR regulations are strict laws in place in Europe that dictate how businesses can collect, manage, and store data. Let’s take a closer look at what GDPR is all about and discuss the penalties businesses could face if they fail to comply.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It is a set of laws first established and rolled out in 2018 by the European Union, and the framework affects all businesses within the EU and those outside it if they are dealing with EU-based customers.

Data privacy and protection are big issues. People are taking internet security more seriously than ever before, and there are now various ways of protecting yourself and taking control of your PII on the internet.

The GDPR was introduced to offer consumers more protection and to safeguard their data more effectively. The law is extremely complex and is regularly reviewed and updated. However, there are key points in the framework that remain constant, and it is essential that all businesses are aware of what these are.

GDPR: Key Points

Firstly, all visitors to a website must be notified if that website plans to collect their data. Not only that, but they must also give explicit consent for the website to collect their data. When the law first rolled out, you will have no doubt noticed lots of pop-up windows appearing on your favourite websites, this was to ensure they were complying with new GDPR rules.

GDPR laws also stipulate that businesses must anonymise customer data that could be used to identify customers. Furthermore, businesses can only store data that is relevant and regularly used, they can’t store data on the off-chance it might be useful further down the line.

Finally, businesses must immediately notify all customers if a data breach has occurred, and businesses can expect their data management processes to undergo regular audits.

The above is only a simplified version of GDPR. In reality, the law is far more complicated and can be very tricky for businesses to adhere to. However, doing so is crucial. Failing to comply with GDPR can have serious consequences. Let’s find out more.

What Happens if You Fail to Comply with GDPR?

If your business fails to comply with GDPR, you may get away with an initial warning. However, if you continue to fail compliance measures or if your infringement was extremely serious, there are various sanctions and penalties you could face.

You could be banned from collecting and processing user data for a specific period of time. In today’s data-driven world, this is something all businesses will be desperate to avoid. Losing access to data can quickly see you fall behind your competitors.

In other cases, authorities may impose a fine instead. These can be substantial, up to €20 million or 4% of a company’s annual global turnover. Famously, Meta was fined €390 million for breaching GDPR rules earlier this year.

Conclusion

It is absolutely imperative that all businesses comply with GDPR regulations or they could be in serious trouble.

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