How the New EU Data Protection Legislation Will Affect Digital Documents

Posted by Robert Adshead on Nov 23, 2016 11:00:00 AM

44682505_s.jpgThe EU has been working on updates in data protection regulations ever since 2012. The new rules are finally a reality and they’ll come into full effect in 2018. What does the new EU data protection policy mean for entities dealing with digital documents? There are several important specifics to examine.The New EU Data Protection Policy at a Glance

The new directives are built upon the 1995 Data Protection Directive. Under the old regulations, each state was separately responsible for implementing policies. This led to significant differences in data protection across the EU. The law is pan-European and there’s a single supervisory authority that will be responsible for enforcement. In a sense, the decreased administrative burden will benefit companies that deal with personal data.

The new rules are expected to give people more control over their private data and the way it’s being used. The “right to be forgotten” is one of the most prominent new provisions. This provision makes it possible for personal data to be deleted from registers, especially when such data is no longer needed.

Digital Documents and the Data Protection Policy

The new EU data protection regulations will have an impact on the distribution and the use of digital documents. The new regulations do not discriminate between standard and electronic documents. The same rules will apply to both across all of the EU member states. 

Several changes in policies will affect the manner in which electronic documents are created, shared and utilized. For a start, the new regulations update the definition of personal data. The term becomes much more abstract and broader. Documents don’t have to contain strictly personal information, in order to be classified as personal data. The inclusion of an IP in a document, for example, would be sufficient for it to qualify as a personal data entry.

New non-compliance rules will also come into effect. These rules increase the risk of companies getting fined in case their electronic document usage and distribution isn’t 100 percent in line with the new directive.

Tips for Ensuring Compliance

Ensuring compliance with the new EU data protection rules can be challenging. Some organizations will have to introduce serious modifications in the way digital documents are handled and processed by 2018. Ensuring compliance will involve a couple of key steps.

Tracking the transmission of digital documents will be one of the essentials. The use of the right software creates a tracking trail, which will be particularly beneficial in the case of an audit. Policy-based accountability for the employees that deal with electronic documentation will be the second line of defense that will ensure compliance.

Enhancing the security of sensitive documents and restricting access is the next important step. According to the new regulations, the access to files containing personal data should be limited. Authentication and password protection are two of the simplest possibilities for granting adequate access and reducing the vulnerability of such documents.

Companies that make use of cloud services and cloud storage solutions need to be particularly careful in terms of security. Document encryption for all of the cloud-stored data is a must. Access logs will also be required to make auditing easier.

Building privacy to modernize old processes is one of the best ways to ensure compliance with the new regulations. This privacy should involve the introduction of the right technology and staff training. Remember that you don’t have a lot of time, which is why coming up with a strategy is essential. The sooner you figure out the necessary changes, the easier it will be to make them happen.

For more information about document compliance, be sure to visit our compliance and risk mitigation overview here

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