General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is Europe’s newest framework set to come into force in May 2018.
It is designed to replace local data protection laws.

The primary objective of GDPR is to strengthen security and privacy protection for individuals.

The GDPR applies to all data controllers and processors. 

It primarily focuses on individual data which is defined in two categories of "personal data" and "sensitive personal data".

Personal data will include individual data as well as any information that can be used as an online identifier, e.g. an IP address.
Sensitive personal data casts a wider net and covers data elements such as biometric or genetic data. 

In order to comply with GDPR, enterprises will need to implement a number of security and privacy measures and controls, such as:


  • Assigning a data protection officer
  • Data breach notification within 72 hours
  • Inventory of all personal data processed
  • Data protection by design and by default
  • Data Privacy Impact Assessments



12 steps to take now

1: Awareness

You should make sure that decision makers and key people in your organisation are aware that the law is changing to the GDPR. They need to appreciate the impact this is likely to have.

2: Information you hold

You should document what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with. You may need to organize an information audit.

3: Communicating privacy information

You should review your current privacy notices and put a plan in place for making any necessary changes in time for GDPR implementation.

4: Individuals rights

You should check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights individuals have, including how you would delete personal data or provide data electronically and in a commonly used format.

5: Subject access requests

You should update your procedures and plan how you will handle requests within the new timescales and provide any additional information.

6: Lawful basis for processing personal data

You should identify the lawful basis for your processing activity in the GDPR, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it.

7: Consent

You should review how you seek, record and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes. Refresh existing consents now if they don’t meet the GDPR standard.

8: Children

You should start thinking now about whether you need to put systems in place to verify individuals’ ages and to obtain parental or guardian consent for any data processing activity.

9: Data breaches

You should make sure you have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.

10: Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments

You should familiarize yourself now with the ICO’s code of practice on Privacy Impact Assessments as well, and work out how and when to implement them in your organisation.

11: Data Protection Officers

You should designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within your organisation’s structure and
governance arrangements. You should consider whether you are required to formally designate a Data Protection Officer.

12: International

If your organisation operates in more than one EU member state, you should determine your lead data protection supervisory authority.