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How to Protect Your Future Direct Marketing with GDPR


The 23rd of May 2018 is fast approaching and the thought of another compliance gives everyone a head ache. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) isn’t one to ignore and a lot of people assume because they have ‘opt out’ options at the bottom of their email/ newsletters they are free from this compliance – but this is far from true!


Organisations inside the EU and trading with EU nations will need to comply with these new regulations – failure to do so will see them face fines up to 4% of their annual global turnover.


Here are 12 steps to help you prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation:

  1. Awareness: Making sure the 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 need to document what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with. Your company may need to organise an information audit.
  3. Communicating privacy information: It’s important to 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 procedure 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 need to 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: It’s important to identify the lawful basis for your processing activity in the GDPR, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it.

7. Consent: This is a very important step – you should review how you seek, record and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes, refresh exiting consent now if they don’t meet the GDPR standards.

8. Children: It’s important to start thinking 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: 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: It’s important to familiarise yourself now with the ICO’s code of practice on Privacy Impact Assessments as well as the latest guidance from the Article 29 working party, 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. It’s important to 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 (i.e. you carry out cross-border processing), you should determine your lead data protection supervisory authority. Article 29 working party guidelines will help you do this.


To learn more about this, visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website.