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5 critical elements for a sustained commitment to data protection. Reflections and directions.

May 2024

by Adela Nuță

On May 25th, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) celebrates its entry into application, and in 2024, it marks its sixth anniversary.

The scale and complexity of data privacy and security-based discussions have increased in intensity since the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (more widely known by its acronym, GDPR), in May 2018. The regulation’s entry into force initiated a significant paradigm shift for numerous organizations and how personal data is managed. This pivotal legislation has all the ingredients to be considered an event that has been fundamentally reshaping the data privacy field, and the business landscape, at large.

The sixth anniversary of the entry into force of GDPR is the perfect moment for organizations to reassess their trajectory of discovering and adapting practices in the field, a retrospective analysis that will allow personal data controllers to assess the effectiveness and timeliness of the measures adopted. At the same time, it is a good time to extract valuable insight, best practice and the most valuable lessons which will define the trajectory for the ongoing management of personal data in a dynamic and constantly evolving context.

As we confidently look towards the future, here are five key principles that have crystallized and emerged from our extensive experience with GDPR and that we consider essential benchmarks for organizations in the continuous refinement of their data protection compliance processes:

  1. Integrated compliance culture: Creating and maintaining a robust compliance culture is fundamental to transforming GDPR from a legal requirement into an integrated component of the organizational culture. This involves expressing a firm commitment to data protection from the organization’s leadership and disseminating this commitment at all levels, which enhances the trust of clients and partners and strengthens relationships with data subjects.
  2. Transparency as core policy: GDPR has reinforced the need for transparency in data collection and usage processes, establishing it as a central pillar of organizational culture. Data controllers who engaged in transparent and open communication regarding data processing activities have noticed an increased acceptance and trust from clients and business partners. It is essential that these practices not only comply but are also continuously refined to align with the evolving data subjects’ expectations as well as regulatory requirements. Transparency must become the new “trend” in data protection!
  3. Proactivity, not reactivity: While establishing a solid GDPR compliance framework is an critical first step, genuine diligence is demonstrated by ongoing enhancement and adaptability to emerging technologies and security challenges. Organizations must always be prepared for potential security breaches and have well-established response plans, adopting and implementing advanced security technologies, such as data encryption and secure processing channels, which are a priority necessity, along with conducting regular risk assessments and audits designed to identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities.
  4. Continuous Education: Education is not merely a one-time requirement or time-bound process but an enduring requirement extending beyond the initial implementation stage of GDPR. Employees at all levels of an organization should be periodically trained and tested on data protection topics, as constant information and awareness are pivotal to maintaining compliance and improving internal workflows.
  5. Adaptability and Innovation: GDPR should not be seen merely as an obstacle to innovation, but rather as catalyst for identifying new responsible and flexible data processing methods. Organizations that have successfully integrated confidentiality requirements with the development of new products and services have discovered that they can deliver significant value and differentiate themselves in a competitive market, thus gaining the ability to respond to new challenges and opportunities.

GDPR should be regarded as a continuous journey of compliance and adaptation/adjustment, not merely a final destination. Each compliance step taken in adherence to the regulation is one towards shaping the future and an opportunity to set, and ensure, excellence standards in privacy protection, too.

To raise awareness on data protection aspects and to help companies understand the relevant concepts, risks and benefit connected to such, BACIU PARTNERS professional contribute expert views of complex or hot topics.

To learn more about our Data Privacy and Personal Data Protection practice click HERE.

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