GDPR Checklist

The Most Comprehensive EU GDPR Checklist

GDPR ChecklistThis GDPR checklist has been crafted in according to the GDPR compliance. Moreover, this is the only GDPR checklist you will ever need.

Before going through the GDPR checklist, it is important to repeat some basic steps. The first starting point is to know about the general rights that your customers/users will have:

Data subject rights: these are rights of your customers and users under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Data portability: the right of an individual under the GDPR to transfer their data to other data controllers. Essentially, this means that consumers can move from one company to another through quick and efficient data transfer

The right to be forgotten: customers/users can ask you to delete all their data

The right to prevent profiling: this can be through automated decision-making or through other forms of decision-making, that processes personal data of an individual and reaches conclusions about that individuals.

The right to object to processing: your customers can restrict you from processing any category of their data that you have.

The right to rectification and erasure: this refers to editing data and restricting access to certain types of data.

Subject access requests (“SARs”): these are requests that your customer/user can make at any point in time asking you for data that you have on them and how it is used.

Reiterating the Basic GDPR steps

First, take stock of all the data that you are collecting and processing. If you are a controller, ask yourself why you are collecting this data as a guiding principle. If you are a processor, ask yourself: on whose behalf are you collecting this data. This is the most crucial part of our GDPR checklist.

  1. Appoint a DPO:

A Data Protection Officer can be internal or external to your company. If you appoint someone internally, make sure they have autonomy as well as access to the Managing Directors and upper management. This is primarily so that they can carry out their data protection duties and responsibilities independently without undue stress and blockades. Once this is done, sign an agreement with the relevant person. One prerequisite for assigning a Data Protection Officer, according to the legislation, is that it should be someone with a reasonable capacity for the job. That means your DPO should have a comprehensive understanding of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


It is necessary that you appoint a Data Protection Officer DPO:

1.1. If your organization’s core business includes processing massive amounts of personal data as well as monitoring your users or as is known in GDPR lingo: Data Subjects. Personal data is the following types of data:

  • Data that allows for direct identification of information such as a person’s name, surname, phone numbers among others.
  • Pseudonymous data or data that non-directly identifies the information of a Data Subject: which does not allow the direct identification of users but allows the singling out of individual behaviors for example through targeted advertising:  to serve the right ad to the right user at the right moment.

1.2. When your organization deals with a large amount of sensitive data that is one of the following data:

  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Political opinions
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • Genetic data
  • Biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person
  • Data concerning health or a natural person’s sex life and/or sexual orientation

2. Data-mapping:

The second most important part of the GDPR checklist is to make a map of all the data and specify all the departments that touch the data in its collection and processing. The data that is being used needs to be categorized for its legal basis to become clear. The legal basis could be consent, legitimate interest and contractual necessity among others.

To assess where data is traveling through you need to create a mind-map for it to help guide your processes of compliance.

3. You should make sure to document all aspects of your company’s interactions with data. Here are the questions you should be able to answer:

Why was the data gathered in the first place? What is its purpose?

Upon what legal basis are you justifying holding that data? Consent or legal requirements?

3.1. Record of Processing Activities will be under this step.

Think of all the steps in your mind-mapping process. Who has access to the data at each step? Through documenting your processes, you will have a much clearer and a better understanding of your own company’s data collection and management strategies as well as what the compliance process entails for you. One definite piece of documentation that you need to do is a data protection impact assessment (DPIA).

3.2. Vendor Management

How are you protecting that data from breaches? What else is that data being used for? Make sure you have listed all your vendors and your customers/users know that you are sharing their data with other parties.

4. Data Breaches

Be honest and transparent about any data you collect. In the case of a breach, people will disclose any data they gather. Your customers need to be aware of what data you’re storing. Here you can read more about how modern businesses need to think about data:

Security breaches that target the data that your company collects and processes can take place and need to be dealt with along the guidelines provided by the GDPR. The crucial point under the GDPR is to inform your user/customers of the breach. Given the importance the EU has placed on personal data, this does not come as a surprise that the relevant stakeholders be made aware when their data has been touched by, no matter how briefly, by other parties that did not have authorization through consent. In such a case, the relevant Data Protection Regulatory body must be informed within 72 hours of knowing about it at the latest.

The same time limit applies to the data subjects whose data you collect and use. The company must contact all individuals and make them aware that their data has been breached. However, companies do not need to have this measure or practice in place: if the data has been encrypted to the point of being incomprehensible or if the data controller has taken the necessary steps to make sure the breach doesn’t put rights or freedoms at risk. If it would take an unprecedented effort to contact every Data Subject individually then a public announcement would also fulfill this requirement.

5. Data Subject Access Requests:

This is the crucial part of the GDPR checklist since it was not available in previous data protection laws. This is one of the basic rights that the GDPR sets out for consumers. This essentially means that data subjects can at any point ask you about what data has been collected by your organization. These access requests cannot be charged for even if it takes a lot of time for you to deal with them. Moreover, they need to be responded to by the data controller within a month. The legislation also sets out the general principle for when a Data Controller can charge the subject for relevant administrative costs if it can be demonstrated that the request is “manifestly unfounded or excessive”. This way, it balances out the individual rights and the company’s rights as well to receive some protection against abuses of this provision. Here is a basic summary of this article as outlined in the GDPR:

“The data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning him or her are being processed, and, where that is the case, access to the personal data and the following information:

  1. the purposes of the processing;
  2. the categories of personal data concerned;
  3. the recipients or categories of recipient to whom the personal data have been or will be disclosed, in particular recipients in third countries or international organizations;
  4. where possible, the envisaged period for which the personal data will be stored, or, if not possible, the criteria used to determine that period;
  5. the existence of the right to request from the controller rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing of personal data concerning the data subject or to object to such processing;
  6. the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority;
  7. where the personal data are not collected from the data subject, any available information as to their source;
  8. the existence of automated decision-making, including profiling, referred to in Article 22(1) and (4) and, at least in those cases, meaningful information about the logic involved, as well as the significance and the envisaged consequences of such processing for the data subject.”

6. Technical Checklist
As part of GDPR checklist, this checklist will guide you through the technical steps that your organization needs to take.

6.1. Make sure your domain names are secured. You can do this by either renewing them regularly or if you buy them from a third party then you need to make sure that the configured name server that is authoritative is your own and make sure your critical services are secured.

6.2. A lot of companies have Google Apps, Slack, Wordpress that they use in their daily business lives. These services all have default settings that should be improved to increase the security level of your organisation. You also need to ensure that all your services and apps are updated so that new security settings, as well as GDPR compliant settings, are implemented. Here’s one source you can look at for inspiration on making your Google apps more secure:

6.3. As tempting as it might be: Do not share Wifi
Shared workplaces are quite a norm these days which consequently means sharing Wifi networks among companies, guests, students or neighbours may open you up to risks of security breaches, for example, people could gather information that is on your network, and might even allow people to access resources protected by source IP. Make it a habit to change your password periodically.

6.4. Develop and communicate a security breach incident response plan

This will allow whoever is in charge at the time of a breach to communicate accordingly about an incident and will allow the fastest response in technical / communication terms.

6.5. Incentivize finding bugs
You could potentially have an external or internal bug bounty program that will incentivize external hackers as well as internal employees to report vulnerabilities. Once reported these vulnerabilities need to be checked by developers or other inside your development teams with the know how to evaluate any reports you receive

6.6. Educate your Technical and Non-technical employees

Quite often your employees and human capital will be the ones who might make you more vulnerable which is why it is imperative that you make sure they are aware of how hackers or other parties can infiltrate your company. By increasing their level of awareness, you are reducing the risk of them falling into a trap. Usually, companies forget to train their non-technical employees. However, they might be the ones you would want to train even more carefully since they lack the expertise to recognize and deal with such cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities.

6.7. Include using 2-factor authentication in your employee handbook as a rule

This would ensure that all accounts of your employees are safe and in case their password gets stolen, the attacker still cannot have access to their accounts and your company’s information in these accounts. As a CEO/CTO/CSO, your role is to make sure everyone complies with this rule. Using a complex and unique password for every website is great advice, but it can be very difficult to recall passwords

Password managers are a great way to manage these since they will remember everything for you with a master password.

6.8. Encrypt the devices

By encrypting company laptops and phones, you protect your company’s assets. Before doing this, you might want to take stock of all your company assets and perhaps segment the employees into categories of security levels needed in line with their jobs.
Here are some sources you can read on for encryption related procedures:

6.9. Encourage best practices like “locking” devices and strengthening passwords
Whether employees are leaving the desk for a minute or an hour, encourage them to lock their devices and make it a habit. This would protect your company assets from attacks as well as random accidents. Remember your work environment might be secured but at one point or another, you will have external guests or candidates for interviews who could potentially have access to your data sometimes even by a quick glimpse of a screen. Moreover, when your employees are traveling or go to meet-ups, this habit would help them keep company information secure. You can research password managers, pick a good one and suggest it to your employees.

HR Checklist 

This HR checklist is mostly part organizational measure and part technical measure under our GDPR checklist.

  1. Create a data log: consider what data of your employees you process and create a log as part of your Record of Processing Activities (RPA). As is stated previously you need to specify the following to document the data to be compliant:
  • the type of data (e.g. personal, or special personal (which used to be called sensitive))
  • The categories of data (e.g. recruitment information, bank details, performance information, absence details)
  • Who the data concerns (e.g. employees, next of kin, applicants for jobs etc.)
  • Who has provided the data to you (e.g. the applicant/employee themselves, credit reference agencies, recruitment agencies or other employees)
  • Specify your legal basis to process (e.g. to perform the employment contract, complying with a legal requirement or legitimate interests or other. Consent as a legal basis when it comes to HR related tasks will rarely apply. Think of the legal requirements that you need to fulfill as a legal basis to justify collection and processing (for e.g. complying with employment law or assessing the working capacity of an employee).
  • The purpose of processing (e.g. to pay the employee, for tax reporting purposes, to manage performance)
  • Where and how the data will be stored and who will have access to it for e.g. HR software, tax consultant, printed payslip files
  1. Data transfers: update your vendor list and log it separately. You should also include any events of data being transferred, including who data was transferred to, when it was transferred, where they are storing it, and how you transferred the data. If you are transferring any personal data outside of the European Union (EU) you need to specify what protections are in place and also sign the relevant Data Protection Agreement with your partners.
  2. Specify when exactly data will be deleted: here you can segment your Data Subjects into employees, applicants or any other categories that make sense for your case. For instance, for a job applicant, you could make it a part of the policy to delete the data periodically of rejected employees every month/quarter. However, you need to be able to justify this time period.
  3. Do you carry out any automatic decision making or profiling for e.g. electronic recruitment sifting based on academic achievements, psychometric testing or other metrics? Add it to your RPA
  4. Do you need to carry out a data protection impact assessment and when you are likely to need to do so in the future (e.g. due to the fact that you carry out or will carry out high-risk processing or will be introducing new HR technology)
  5. Check your IT infrastructure allows you to be compliant Your IT infrastructure will be highly relevant to two main themes in terms of GDPR compliance – security and employees’ rights. Security issues:
  6. Consider Employee rights: Do your automated decision-making processes allow you to deal with objections and involve a human decision maker if requested?
  7. How will you respond to Data Subject Access Requests: Can you easily search for all data relating to a particular individual? This will make responding to subject access requests from your employees or prospective employees much easier. Can your employees restrict the processing of their data? Or correct errors?
  8.  What processes do you have for an employee to exercise their right of objection? Do you have the responsibility assigned to a relevant person?
  9. How will you achieve the deletion of personal data, across the business, at an employee’s request in relevant situations?
  10. Is exporting data from your system possible? .csv, .pdf, or .txt files are commonly accepted formats. This will allow you to manage the portability or in layman terms, it would allow you to transfer the data to the employee or to a future/former employer at their request.
  11. Update your data protection policies and employment contracts: Once you have made all the necessary changes it is imperative that you also inform all your employees and other stakeholders when necessary.
  • Privacy notice to staff
  • Data protection policy
  • Data breach reporting policy
  • Subject access policy
  • Data retention policy
  1. Ensure staff has the correct training Make sure all your employees receive an adequate level of training for handling personal data, specific to their job role. They must be informed of the correct policies and procedures. Training needs to be refreshed on a regular basis and you need to keep records of the training provided.
  2. Assess and take necessary measures with all your partners that in some way touch your data.

Sales & Marketing Activities related to the GDPR Checklist

This must be new and the toughest part of the GDPR checklist, since it is takes time.

1. Check and audit your mailing lists. Basically, you need to remove anyone from whom you do not have an opt-in and or have not recorded this opt-in. For new subscribers, make sure that the potential subscriber confirms that they want to join your mailing list by sending an automated email to confirm the subscription.

2. Review the way you are collecting personal data. Are you still buying mailing lists? If so, now might be the time to start fresh with a new mailing list which you have obtained from informed customers and have a legal basis for collecting their e-mail addresses. Delete all e-mails that you haven’t obtained with the proper consent or legal basis. Some ways to still acquire users or convert visitors from your website can be done by offering visitors to your website the opportunity to add themselves to your mailing list using a pop-up on your website.

3. When taking consent to make sure you provide a link to your privacy policy to ensure compliance that tells people exactly what you will do with the data.

4. Educate your Sales and Marketing Teams about what is legally possible and the practices that they need to drop for instance: cold emailing/cold calling (where the e-mail address and/or phone number has not been taken through proper consent).

5. Make sure your customer data is part of your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This will help you with allowing users to edit their data, review how exactly it is being used and accessing it in a machine-readable format.

6. Collect data that is necessary for your sales or marketing effort. Ask yourself, which categories of data do you actually need, and which ones can you simply delete. When it comes to signing up forms, only ask for elements you need and will use.

7. If you do not already have it, try out push notifications. Marketers can use push notifications to send a message to subscribers at any time. They are especially helpful in the post GDPR world because they do not process personal data (IP addresses are anonymized) and ask for explicit consent to opt-in and receive notifications.

8. Make sure Privacy statement is updated, easy to read (not a 1000 pages long and without any lingo).

GDPR Checklist for Data Protection Impact Assessment for Projects

According to the GDPR, when an organization is undertaking a new project that has considerable risks when it comes to the freedoms and rights of individuals, in particular, pertaining to data protection. When organisations identify such a risk with a new or existing operation, these are the following steps suggested:

1. Figure out if there’s a need for the DPIA  – conduct an assessment and determine whether the inherent risks of the processing operation require you to undertake a DPIA. In general, these are some high-risk activities that you would probably need to conduct a DPIA for:

Large-scale processing of location data relating to individuals

  • General big data analytics
  • Large-scale processing of HR data with potential for significant effects on employees
  • Video/audio analysis tools
  • Creating large-scale individual profiles
    Analytics with significant effects for individuals
  • Reward programs that generate profiles
  • Fitness wearables and apps

2. Understand and describe the flow of information – create a map of how the information within the particular processing operation is collected, stored, used and deleted.

3. Identify all the risks – document the threats, their scope, vulnerabilities and the possible pertaining threats to the rights and freedoms of individuals whose data you collect and/or process.

4. Assess your privacy solutions – for every risk that you have identified to the personal data, do a cost-benefit analysis and decide on whether you want to accept the risk, reject the risk or accept it but with measures in place to reduce the impact of the threat.

5. Document the DPIA results – Create a report that is signed by the decision-maker. However, where there has been a high risk identified the DPIA report must be submitted to the regulatory data protection authority for consultation.

6. Incorporate the results into your project plan – make sure at every important project milestone that you refer back to your DPIA to ensure that when actions are needed to counter a risk they are actually taken.

Hope you found this comprehensive GDPR checklist useful. As a general principle, you should remember that any obscure collection and processing of data should be questioned. Educating your employees will always prove to be helpful in staying compliant with the GDPR. Is there something you find missing in this GDPR checklist? Work together with us on this checklist!


Image Credit: Pixabay mohamed_hassan-5229782/

GDPR Compliance

The Only Guide - GDPR Compliance to build a Social Media Strategy

The Only Guide – GDPR Compliance to build a Social Media Strategy

If you’re not hiding in a cave, or haven’t decided to skip over press articles, then you must have come across the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR compliance is now incumbent on all of your marketing efforts and other business operations. This article will help you gain an understanding of what GDPR compliance means for your social media strategy.

This past month, you probably observed a number of emails asking for permissions. These are mostly from companies, moving towards GDPR compliance, asking to be on their mailing lists. It’s a small part of what post-GDPR world for Marketing looks like. For advice on Sales, give this guide a read.

The European Union enforced the GDPR in May 2018 although the EU has been working on it for the past couple of years. If your company disregard the GDPR and you put off compliance, you can get fined for up to 20 million euros or 4% in revenue: whichever number is higher. So, what does it mean for your marketing department?

GDPR Compliance and Digital Marketing Platforms

In general, people think social media is just about posting memes, or relationships, or engagement & interactivity. If you want to build your compliant Social Media Strategy don’t care about data privacy or online security, then maybe the recent Congressional Testimony of the CEO Mark Zuckerberg will make you think again.

Soon after the enforcement of the GDPR, compliance became a trending topic in digital marketing. Many marketers are concerned with how GDPR compliance will shape their new campaigns. Another concerning point is how to use the social media tools & platforms effectively. Getting worried about asking for consent from followers, users or connections is totally natural. Thinking about how to store or use data in a gdpr compliant way is the last thing a social media marketer wants to worry about.


·       Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most common tool used by many digital marketers to analyse performance. It collects users’ ID data, does behaviour profiling and has cookies. To be GDPR compliant with this tool, one can either add an overlay to the site which gives users a notification of the usage of cookies & asks for permission for entering the site.

·       Re-targeting Ads and Tracking Pixels

If your website is using re-marketing ads, i.e. Facebook pixel, you should inform the visitors as soon as they enter the site & obtain their consent.  For publishing sponsored content & affiliate links, you need to ask the client if they use tracking pixels or cookies for capturing the personal information & if they do, then get the consent from the visitors.

·       Email Opt-In

To be GDPR compliant with opt-in emails, first, verify if the email service provider is offering GDPR tools. Second, add a checkbox for the visitors to consent to everything, in the subscription form. Put a visible disclaimer, if the newsletter is using tracking pixels to keep an eye on when they open it.

·       Display Ads

If your website runs an ad from a third-party ad server, then your users should consent to the third-party server for using their data for advertising & marketing purposes upon entering the site. You need to inform your visitors if you use the cookies for targeting purposes.

·       Contact Forms

You should get explicit consent with a checkbox before you ask people to submit their information in any contact form.

·       Comments

Before a user leaves a comment they should give consent by a checkbox. You should also inform your users how you will use their information & which information are you going to display publicly.

·       Product Sales Takeaway

When selling products or services to EU residents, you should collect only the necessary information from the customers. You should also let them know how you will use their information. Make sure to get the consent for every purpose of data collection.


How GDPR applies to Social Media Marketing?


There are two main changes which are considered to be the biggest for the social media marketers. First, as a social media marketer you won’t be able to send opt-in emails or letters. Second, you won’t be allowed to drop cookies automatically without clear permission from the prospect. To be able to have a GDPR compliant Strategy, social media strategists are required to:

  • Perform a complete audit of the website to determine the hold of data.
  • Get to know about the information of EU residents they have connected to.
  • Prepare an action plan on how to update the privacy policy for obtaining permission.

There are many social media management tools available for building your Social Media Strategy. Agencies, strategists & managers use them to get support with scheduling, analysing and building campaigns. These tools assist companies/brands to come closer to their users and help them generate leads and establish a strong customer base.

Social Champ – A GDPR compliant tool

Social Champ is one example of a compliant, easy to use social management tool which gives you the power of scheduling, repeating & analysing your content & helps users and brands to increase their audience reach by 75%. You can easily build your Social Media Strategy with it.

Since the users produce the content on social media, it means that GDPR applies to both content and its users. This is because it contains personal information of the users shared.

All the products & services of Social Champ are GDPR equipped. It provides a Data Protection Agreement (DPA) for all the users who are signing-in. According to the GDPR, Social Champ is not a “Data Controller”, but a “Data Processor” organization. This means it “only practices content according to the instructions given by the users through Social Champ’s features.”

The users have the complete right to control, collect, & use their content however they wish to. As a matter of fact, the users are the data controllers (in legal terms) of the content they process through Social Champ. In short, make sure your tools and processes for Social Media Marketing are GDPR compliant.

If you would like to know more about how you can comply with the GDPR, book a demo with us!

Let's bust 10 of the biggest GDPR myths many believe today!

Only 2 weeks left before the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and there is FEAR! And fuelled by it there is paranoia surrounding what needs to be done.  Rumors. Assertions. And crazy ideas. In this blog: we will bust all the ridiculous GDPR Myths we have heard so far.

Myth 1: GDPR is a European Union (EU)  law and only applies to European companies

This particular myth challenges the parameters of the application of the GDPR. It certainly does not apply to only European companies. It applies to ALL companies who in any way collect, receive and process data of people residing in the EU. Moreover, any company that offers goods or services to EU Data Subjects or monitors their behavior in any way has to comply, regardless of the company’s location. It is, in fact, possible that a European company only processes data of American residents. In that case, the GDPR does not actually apply to the company. Essentially, it does not matter where the company is based or originated from, the criteria that should be used to assess whether the GDPR applies or not is “whose data do you touch?”

Myth 2: GDPR was made to punish companies by imposing fines

The principles around which the GDPR is based is not to punish companies but rather to empower people with more control over their data and to ensure responsible collection and processing of data. The potential fines that could be imposed have just been stated over and over again to reiterate the importance of compliance for companies. However, at this point, no one can predict how strictly the authorities will impose these fines, if at all. They will most likely allow companies extension and a lot of leeway if they see efforts being made to comply. Fines will not be imposed for every little non-compliance issue. This is because in essence, the nature of GDPR is empowering rather than punitive.

Myth 3: GDPR is only for the IT departments and senior management

Every time people think of Data Protection they usually immediately jump to the conclusion that it is something for the IT department. However, in the case of the GDPR this is not the case at all. The GDPR is to reform the way companies handle data which is why it applies to and add responsibilities to every department and every person within a company. Processes need to be created but also employees need to be educated about the GDPR. For instance, recording all processing activities will entail the involvement of representatives from all departments of a company.

Myth 4: All breaches no matter how little need to be reported to the Data Protection Authorities

Breaches need to be reported to the relevant Authorities however, this only applies to those breaches where it’s likely to result in a risk to people’s rights and freedoms. So not every breach needs to be reported.

Myth 5: All details need to be provided the minute a breach occurs within a company

If there is a breach within a company, details of it are sometimes not available immediately. Companies themselves need to investigate before they can collect all the necessary information. The GDPR takes this into account and allows 72 hours to report such instances when feasible. Once reported details can also be provided after the allotted 72 hours if needed.

Myth 6: Consent needs to be taken for every activity

The general perception among companies is that consent is at the center of the GDPR. Without consent, no data processing activity can be carried out. This perception is extremely misleading. The GDPR allows for several different ways of justifying a processing activity of which consent is ONLY ONE. Some others can be seen below from the ECOMPLY app where you can just pick one to form the legal basis for an activity:

Myth 7: Under the GDPR, you need to get consent again from all stakeholders!

So having busted the first of the GDPR myths about consent under the GDPR, the second one is specifically about asking for consent under the GDPR. Most companies think this needs to be done from scratch to be GDPR compliant. However, consent obtained under the Data Protection Directive suffices under GDPR standards. Just review the consent and the standard that GDPR sets for it.

Myth 8: New data portability rules apply to all businesses

Data portability requirements apply only when the legal basis of a processing activity is based on consent or contractual necessity.  When the legal basis is legitimate interest or public interest or another provision allowed under the GDPR the requirements don’t apply.

Myth 9: Data center needs to be in the EU!

This is another common misconception. A company’s data center doesn’t have to be in the EU. It can also be in one of the third countries that GDPR allows for. Basically, it cannot be in a country that doesn’t have regulations on data protection. Here’s what we found helpful on this topic.

Myth 10: Biometric data is sensitive data under the GDPR

This is the most understandable misconception that has developed regarding the GDPR. Biometric data that a company collects just like any other data is sensitive only if it is actively used for identification purposes. It is predominantly collected for purposes of identification but if that is not the case then Biometric data doesn’t have to be treated as sensitive data.

Stock Photo - Alarm Clock

How long does GDPR Implementation take?

How long does GDPR Implementation take?

GDPR is here. We hear a lot of companies wondering how long it takes to actually be compliant. This is the omnipresent question that you will find companies, executives and pretty much everyone else asking these days. So we decided to try and answer this question for you. We surveyed about 15 experts to help us answer this question. We’ll now learn how long GDPR implementation takes according to the survey.

The first thing to realize is that compliance is a step by step process and depends on a number of factors like the number of employees and processing activities among others. Here are some basic assumptions that we have made:

1): We are excluding big multinational firms from this survey since they have complex structures and estimating the time for them would require extensive research into these structures.

2): The parameters around the size of the company that we have set for this blog is a small or medium-sized company with 50 to 250 employees in total.

3) We exclude financial, health, recruitment and market research companies since they are more complicated.

However, the experts whom we surveyed were able to tell us from the get-go that the amount of time needed to become GDPR compliant depends on a lot of different factors. Some of these are:

  • Commitment to compliance
  • Number and type of processes
  • Number of vendors
  • Type of data
  • Knowledge
  • Prior Processes
  • Number of employees

Moreover, what everyone needs to understand is that GDPR implementation and its compliance is a step by step process that also requires long-term commitment and integration into the existing structures and processes of the company.

And let’s break down this big term into some basic, simple steps you can consider this as your GDPR implementation guide:

Step 1: Pre-Assessment

So before you start going down the compliance & GDPR implementation path, you need to assess a few things. First, you need to take stock of what your current state of compliance is. Make yourself aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in detail. The pre-assessment depends heavily on the size of your company and the processes you have. The aim is usually to figure out the resource commitment that your company needs to actually comply.

In our survey, the experts we interviewed had different estimations for GDPR compliance implementation. Half of the experts estimated that for a company between 50 and 250 employees, it would take on average 15 hours to complete a pre-assessment.

The important thing to remember here is to set the scope and ensure commitment to your assessment. The extent of prior knowledge you have will also play a determining role in how long pre-assessment will take.

Step 2: Creating Records of Processing Activities


Keeping Records of Processing Activities (RPA) is a stipulation of Article 30 of the GDPR explicitly requiring businesses to document their processing activities and recording the processing purposes, data sharing, and retention. These records need to be made available upon the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). In short, every periodic step that the data is processed through has to be documented for the authorities. If you are confused about the RPA, you can check out this video and get this cleared out.

Records of Processing Activites

This is of course, highly dependent on what the company actually does and its pertaining activities. For instance, a headhunter has sensitive data that they have to document. This could include the candidates’ names, current position, company, date of birth and many others. Every step that this data goes through has to be documented so that if the Data Subject inquires about how their data is used, the headhunter is ready to answer that.

Opinions of the experts whom we surveyed were quite dispersed and estimated that it could take on average 40 hours in this part of GDPR implementation.


Step 3: Evaluate the third parties

This is a critical step in being GDPR compliant and one that needs special attention since outsourcing and having several vendors is such an integral part of most businesses today. Vendor risk management (VRM) from a GDPR perspective is basically to make sure that all the services you use for your business do not violate your data protection regulations and create disruptions for you.

This, according to our experts, could take you on average 30 hours and depends again on the type of work your company does and the number of vendors you have.

GDPR ImplementationStep 4: Data Protection Impact Assessment

Data Protection Impact Assessment refers to estimating the entire risk for the company and it pertaining operations. Essentially, it means that an external person helps the organization to identify, assess and minimize the risk of their processing activities. An overwhelming majority of the experts whom we surveyed were of the opinion that for an external consultant to do that for a client could take from 25 hours on average based on our GDPR implementation survey.


What happens after you become compliant?

If you thought it was a one-time thing, then you were…WRONG.

Because being compliant is a process which changes as your company grows, evolves and modifies its operations. It’s important to think of it as an ever-present goal for your company.

Our experts estimate the number of hours per year that you would need to keep complying would take on average 75 hours. Moreover, some of them were also of the opinion that the company’s Data Protection Officer (DPO) should actually calculate the hours based on the Data Protection Impact Assessment.

To conduct an annual Data Protection Audit, our experts were once again very divided. The average response came to about 10 days a year.

We think that automating your compliance process will actually save you a lot of hassle and will replace the external consultants that you would otherwise have to hire (the cost of which could be on average about 150 euros per hour, according to our experts). So in short, we suggest to really estimate the time you need in your pre-assessment holistically taking into account all your activities.

GDPR checklist or Key takeaways:

1) If someone is cheaper than 100 euros per hour: think if they really want to sell their services or actually want you to be compliant?

2) Automating compliance will definitely make this GDPR compliance 5x faster since it will reduce the need for prior knowledge that you need to collect and assess

3) Having a software will also make compliance easier to manage in the future since you will be able to track your progress and be able to see what still needs to be done

4) Overall the GDPR project takes more than 200 hours if you have done nothing at all

“Execution is key but endangered by overthinking.” (Lisa, Scalable Capital)

Book a Demo with us to learn more about how we can help you comply!

Some of the experts helped us to collect this data and wished to be mentioned here. If you want to connect with the experts, feel free to contact them on LinkedIn:

Christian Schmoll, g3s Rechtsanwälte

Jodi Daniels, Red Clover Advisors

Lisa Gradow, Scalable Capital

Mandy Webster of Data Protection Consulting Limited

Curriculum Vitae

Why should Recruitment Managers care about the GDPR?

Description: How the recruitment process of companies in search for talent is impacted by the GDPR, and what HR teams should be aware of regarding the regulation that aims to protect personal data from individuals in the EU.

With the proximity of the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May, there is a rising awareness that many companies will be impacted in different ways and for many reasons, and the recruitment process in each company is one of them. If you are a recruiter or an HR manager, there are some aspects that you should be aware of. Consider focusing on talent acquisition procedures before costly fines and sanctions reach your business.

Until now, the exploration of personal and sensitive data of potential candidates during talent acquisition is expected and generally accepted, both online in social networks and through other channels such as headhunters and partners’ networks. Everybody shares their photos, experiences, family moments, job/academic history and even opinions online, which means their performance and behavior in past jobs are often shared among companies, without the subject’s knowledge is how potential employers pre-analyze applicants for a job offer.

What does the regulation say?

The GDPR is a broad regulation, but it is very specific regarding the exploration of personal data, despite being publicly available on social networks – without explicit consent and purpose, it might be dangerous.

The arbitrary collection and processing of personal data for companies’ commercial or recruitment purposes should not be assumed by recruiters only because it is publicly available. There must be a legal basis for that collection, analyzing whether it is exposed in a business related platform, if the interest and the purpose for the collection is legitimate and if that data is relevant to the classification and performance of the function related to the job application.

From the company’s side of the recruitment process, it is important to get consent from the candidate, subject of that data, with a clear explanation of the purpose of the collection and processing activities to be performed with it. Also, it is important when taking consent to make it clear for how long that data will be held (ideally until the end of the recruitment process). It should be properly erased as soon as the agreed purpose and time is finalized. Friend requests and acceptance on social networks are not a form of expressing consent.

To make it more clear, there are a number of practices that should be taken into account if you want to make sure your recruitment process is compliant with GDPR:

1 – When reaching out or collecting information from a candidate, ask for consent and record it;

2 – Keep the candidate’s data confidential and secure in your system;

3 – Take good care of who has access to printed CVs. For example, leaving CVs lying on a desk in a shared office is often considered a breach of data protection.

4 – Ask for Data Processing Agreements (DPA) with your hiring, recruiting, training and headhunting companies;

5 – Find out how long can you keep the data (depends on the type of data, purpose and which country you are) for;

6 – Maintain a Records of Processing Activities (RPA) – find out more here.

7 – In the employment contract, ask for consent to use photos and details with fellow company colleagues, and the potential to share outside as well;

8 – When screening a candidate for a background check, make sure you do not violate any personal rights of the candidate;

9 – Use HR software & application tracking systems that are GDPR compliant;

10 – Implement an easy unsubscribe button (opt-out) if you send marketing or job option emails.

11 – After hiring, ask for the written consent from the newly hired to share his or her PII (Personally Identifiable Information) with the company colleagues and if you need to use it anywhere else.

These practices will ensure that your process is compliant with the regulation, but there are other important aspects to be taken care of, such as the appointment of a Data Protection Officer (DPO). We suggest you stay tuned to our posts and look for professional guidance!

Extra: As a social network user, stay aware!

Whether an HR professional or not, today virtually everybody uses social networks. It is important to understand that the GDPR aims to protect the rights of data subjects and diminish the extent of commercial exploration of that data. Religious beliefs, ethnic aspects, political views and health data are sensitive, and the harm caused by the exposure of them can go beyond commercial profiteering.

The GDPR Glossary

This is a commonly used General Data Protection Regulation Glossary. Since GDPR is written by lawyers and we wanted to help you to understand these difficult terms in a more easy way. Below are the most important ones to keep an eye on.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The is a regulation on the protection of individuals within the European Union with regard to the processing and movement of personal data in this era of increased online data sharing. It was adopted on 27 April 2016 and it shall be applied from 25 May 2018.


It is a legal act adopted by the European Union that can be immediately applied in the Member States and does not need further adopting the national law. This means that the GDPR will come into effect in all the Member States of the European Union starting from 25 May 2018.

Personal data

Any data that can help identify an individual. It is also called Personally Identifiable Information.Examples of personal data include name, location, personal identification number, the color of your hair, the list of customers names and their addresses, IT usage data, traffic data, information about education, income, license plate.

Sensitive personal data

Similar to personal data because its main purpose is to help identify an individual, but more dangerous if breached or vulnerable to privacy.Examples of sensitive personal data include religious beliefs, race, political opinions, sexual orientation, physical and mental health conditions, biometric data or genetic data.

Biometric data

Any data that is used to identify a human being by his/her unique characteristics.Fingerprints are one example of biometric data. The GDPR states that the processing of such data is prohibited unless the data subject (user/consumer) has provided the consent and the processing is necessary for specific reasons such as protecting the vital interests of the individual.

Genetic data

Any data that refers to genetic characteristics of a data subject. This data is unique and individual.
Protecting the genetic data is very important, as health insurance companies in possession of genetic data regarding the health of a subject may increase the cost of insurance based on this information.

Data concerning health

Any data that can offer information about the physical and mental state of a data subject.

For example, medical records about a mental disorder such as depression are considered to be data concerning health.

Data subject

An individual to which the data refers to. In simpler terms, it could be a user or consumer.

For example, a student is a data subject, as the university possesses data about him/her which include name, address, nationality, date of birth, etc.

Furthermore, the processing of data may affect employees, managers, contractual partners, suppliers, etc


 All the operations that are performed on the personal data, such as collecting, recording, transferring or storing.

When users create new accounts or do online-shopping using their credit cards, the websites process their personal data.

Encrypted Data

 The protection of personal data that has the purpose of ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of the data and making it unreadable and from those who do not have a special access to this data.

For example, encrypted data may seem like meaningless information unless you are using the correct key to decrypt it.

Data Controller (DC)

The entity who decides which data will be processed and by what means.

Examples of data controllers include individuals, legal persons, government departments or companies. The GDPR creates an obligation to provide information to the data subject regarding any personal data being processed and to allow access to the personal data.

The DC must also inform in the quickest time possible the purpose of the processing, the category of personal data being processed, who the recipient of the personal data was etc.

Data Processor (DP)

 The entity responsible for the processing of personal data on behalf of the Data Controller.

Examples of Data Processor include IT service providers or market research companies.

Only the processors providing sufficient guarantees in regard to the GDPR will be chosen by the Data Controller.

Data Processor
Data Processor

Data recipient 

The entity that receives the data processed by the DP.

These entities can be public ( for example tax offices, governmental agencies etc.) or private ( for example departments regarding their own employees – like marketing, personnel, accounting etc., banks, telecommunications companies etc.)

Data protection agreement 

When a DC appoint a DP, they must create this legal act called data protection agreement ( DPA) in order to determine in a written form all the conditions of the processing such as subjects of processing, duration, purpose, means used etc.

The obligations and rights of the processor have to be clearly determined ( for example the duty of confidentiality or the obligation to take all the technical measures possible to avoid breaches).


Right to erasure

 Also referred to as ‘right to be forgotten’, it secures the individual’s right to have the DC erase without delay their personal data, inform other controllers that the individual has requested the erasure of data and cease further dissemination of the data.

For example, search engines are expected upon a request from the individual to delete the links to certain web pages that are linked to the individual’s name.

Right to the restriction of processing

The right of the individual to have the DC restrict the processing of the data if it is inaccurate, unlawful or the controller doesn’t need the personal data for processing anymore.

If this right is used by the data subject, the DC has the obligation to inform further data controllers processing the data.

Right to data portability

It enables the data subject to obtain any personal data from the controller in a format that is readable by another data controller.

This right may have a higher applicability in the banking industry if a data subject requests to see his/her transactions and to obtain them in a readable format.

Joint controllers

Two or more data controllers decide together which data will be processed and by which means. The process has to be realized in a transparent manner, with regards to the rights of the data subject.

For example, a company which produces certain goods and its authorized dealer can decide to share the personal data of their customers.

Controller representative 

An individual or a legal person who represents the controller in matters regarding the compliance with the GDPR.

Records of processing Activities

 All the processing activities regarding personal data of enterprises with more than 250 persons or with a risk to the rights and freedoms of the data subjects shall be recorded.

For example, if an organization is using either employee data or customer data. They have to record it and present in a documentation form that is called records of processing activity.

Data protection impact assessment 

If the data being processed possesses a risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects, the controller has the obligation to evaluate the risk before starting the processing. The Data Protection Officer may offer assistance in this matter.

If the result of the assessment shows a high risk, the process shall be reviewed every 6 months. For medium risk, the process will be reviewed every 9 months and for low every 12 months.

Privacy Impact assessmentSupervisory authority

A public authority with whom the data controllers and processors are required to cooperate if necessary.

Each State of the EU will designate at least one independent supervisory authority.

In Germany, there are 15 supervisory authorities, responsible for the different regions of the country (for example the Bavarian Data Protection Authority – BayLDA, responsible for the state of Bavaria)

The European Data Protection Board

A body of the European Union established by the GDPR composed of the head of one supervisory authority from each State of the EU.

The main purpose of the Board is to ensure the application of the Regulation.

Personal data breach 

A security issue leading to unlawful access, use, dissemination etc. of personal data.

For example, 3 million encrypted customer credit card records have been stolen from Adobe in 2013 following a data breach.

The DC shall notify the supervisory authority within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach and disclose the nature of the breach, the personal data affected, the likely consequences and the possible measures that can be taken to repair the damage created.

If the breach is considered to be a risk to the rights and freedoms of the individual, the data subject must be notified as well.

In order to avoid such problems, the controller is asked to analyze the risk of potential data breaches and to try to strengthen the security where possible. The risk is evaluated on a scale from 1(low risk) to 3 (high risk).

Data Protection Officer

An individual whose main task is to monitor the compliance of an enterprise with the GDPR and to advise on data protection measures.

A DP Officer shall be designated if the organization is a public authority, carries large-scale monitoring of data subjects or processes data related to criminal convictions.


A process encouraged by the GDPR in which the data cannot be attributed to an individual and cannot help identify him/her without additional information. This method is designed to improve the security of the data and reduce the risk of breaches. The DCs are encouraged to use this process in order to meet the GDPR security requirements.


 An exemption of a law or a rule.

In the context of the European Union Regulations, derogation can mean that a Member State may not implement a new law immediately.


The agreement given by an individual regarding the processing of personal data.

For example, when registering on a website or taking part in an online contest, you have to tick a box saying that you agree that the company may use and process the data you have provided.


 A method that uses the provided personal data to predict behavior in the future.

For example, social media websites use the data an individual has provided in order to offer him/her targeted advertising, based on likes, hobbies, viewed pages etc.

Filing system

A system that is designed to organize the personal data and make it accessible using some specific criteria.

For example, choosing personal data of subjects in one geographical area or of a specific age.

Data transfer

Moving personal data from the 28 EU countries and the three EEA countries (Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland) to a third country. The GDPR allows this process only if the country in matter complies with the conditions of the Regulation. A commission will evaluate the level of data protection in that specific country and approve or disapprove to the data transfer.

Until now the Commission has stated that the following countries provide sufficient data protection:  Andorra, Argentina, Canada (commercial organizations), Faeroe Islands, Guernsey, Israel, Isle of Man, Jersey, New Zealand, Switzerland and Uruguay.

If the UK shall leave the European Union and the EEA, it shall become a third country.


European Economic Area, an area in which free movement of persons, services, goods and capital is allowed.

There are currently 28 EU states which are part of the EEA plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.

Binding Corporate Rules (BCR) 

the set of internal rules used by multinational companies which regulate the transfers of personal data within the group to companies that are not in the EEA and do not provide the level of data protection required.

The BCRs need to be approved by the EU and will then provide sufficient protection guarantee to allow this international transfers to take place.

For example, eBay has adopted a set of Binding Corporate Rules approved by the Luxembourg National Data Commission.


Punishments imposed for not complying with the GDPR. The fines for data breaches can be as high as €20 million or 4% of global gross revenue (whichever is higher).

As a result of these very high penalties, many companies which do not comply with the Regulations or are subject to data breaches may face insolvency.