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When it comes to protecting your organization from IT security threats and cyberattacks, your staff are one of your biggest vulnerabilities. For data protection and data privacy compliance, it is no different.

Importance of GDPR compliance

On May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was passed by the European Union (EU). It imposes strict data protection obligations on any organization who target and/or collect data of EU citizens.

Organizations worldwide are now taking their data protection responsibilities seriously. However, that still does not prevent lapses in compliance. In 2020 alone, there has been almost €176 million worth of fines issued under the GDPR (Source: Privacy Affairs).

Staff awareness of GDPR 

Most organizations know the importance of appointing a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to ensure that data protection obligations are given the appropriate attention across the business.

Unfortunately, while DPOs can build and manage perfect data protection processes, and can ensure the theory of every data interaction’s compliance, this can all be let down if staff do not observe their obligations. This often stems from a lack of awareness of these regulations, or appreciation of their potential impact on the business.

In 2019, surveys showed that 20% of registered breaches were due to employee negligence, such as improper disposal of data and wrong configuration of databases.

To combat this, the GDPR makes it mandatory that all employees of a company are briefed on relevant data protection laws, the importance of compliance with these laws, and their rights and responsibilities regarding the implementation of these regulations.

You can read more about our Data Protection Officer as a Service, here
Why staff awareness is key to GDPR compliance

GDPR staff awareness training is a must for any organization who is serious about their data protection compliance and who want to avoid the sizeable fines

  • GDPR staff awareness training serves to educate your staff on their responsibilities in implementing the GDPR standards, as well as general data protection and cyber-security.
  • Accountability is a huge part of the GDPR and having your staff trained on the GDPR proves that your company is complying with these standards.
  • It provides an avenue for you to engage with your staff and educate them on the consequences of non-compliance.
  • It allows your company to identify issues they may have with the GDPR compliance and determine ways to fix them.
  • It protects your company from unknowingly breaking the regulations.

Tips for implementing GDPR awareness training

Here are a few tips to help implement a GDPR staff training programme in your company:

Personalize your programme to fit your company   The nature of a company, in terms of workload, the number of staff, and key areas of data management, determine the sort of training programme to implement. Assess these factors before implementing a training programme and find the best mechanisms to communicate with your staff.
Set goals and objectives   Set goals and objectives for employees’ training and help them understand how they can work easily towards them. Not having an end goal in mind before beginning training can make the entire process lack direction and vision.
Create a safe space for your staff to share their views   A good training programme is one that is interactive and engaging to the trainees. They should feel free to ask questions and share their views.
Create easy reference materials for the regulations   A concise breakdown of the GDPR key points should be made available to them for easy reference.
Repeat training often   This could serve either as a refresher course for your staff or inform them of any changes that have been made to the regulations, or to your own data management processes.
Take training sessions seriously   Explain to your staff just how easy a simple mistake can turn into a disaster for the organization. They should know what the stakes are and how easily a breach can occur if they are not careful.

Ultimately, staff awareness is key to GDPR compliance in any organization. No stone should be left unturned in preparing your staff and protecting your company from the wrath of the regulatory bodies – or worse, violating peoples’ privacy rights.

Outsourced Data Privacy Services

Calligo’s data privacy services team is uniquely qualified and experienced in data privacy law, infosecurity and data technology, especially cloud strategy. This allows our team to ensure that every data workflow and interaction is secure and adheres to every privacy requirement, without compromising business activities.

If you’d like to find out more about our GDPR services and how we can create greater awareness of privacy obligations across your organization, click below.