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The 6 Most Common Mistakes that Lead Businesses to UK GDPR Breaches

The GDPR empowers regulators to hand out fines as hefty as €17 million or up to 4 % of the annual revenue. If you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner, it’s essential to have an awareness of the UK GDPR.

Its policies affect all businesses in Europe and beyond. By avoiding the six most prevalent errors that lead to UK GDPR breaches, you can help your company stay UK GDPR compliant.

Continue reading to learn more about these common errors.


1. Playing It Loose With Email

This is one of the most common privacy mistakes that breaches data protection law. It involves sending emails while adding people who shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

You might think, “That won’t happen to me!”

However, unfortunately, history shows that isn’t the case for data. Having a list of recipients that others can view is one of the most prevalent data breaches in enterprises.

Each day, people in the cc group can send millions of emails to other people in the cc (carbon copy) group. Often, nothing happens.

Those on the cc list can see the exact email addresses senders sent the message to, just like those on the list. What’s more, they can see the history of all your emails.

This can cause problems if people do not know other people’s email addresses. If someone reads the email history, they could also get personal information that you shouldn’t share with them.

2. Sharing Job Candidate Data

Wouldn’t it be easier to keep all applicants’ information for as long as possible? This way, you’d have a lot of people who’d be suitable for each job, and you’d just need to get in touch with them.

Yet, this isn’t such a good idea. Many HR departments and headhunters build vast databases of résumés and references. This practice sounds excellent, but it’s one of the top UK GDPR mistakes, and it’s not strictly legal.

There are three types of applicant personal data. They include:

  • Applicant files • References from employers • Resumes

Companies can only keep this information if there’s a legal reason to do so. If this legal ground is no longer valid, you must delete the data. Article 13 of the UK GDPR says firms must tell applicants about how they use their data and for how long, among other things.

3. Assuming the Best

Data processing for marketing purposes is often based on the data subject’s consent. The fact that most other legal grounds don’t apply to people who aren’t yet customers isn’t a surprise.

A lot of businesses are eager to get permission. Yet, not all consent is valuable. Sometimes, consent forms leave out important information when companies are busy making boxes for people to check off.

The UK GDPR doesn’t provide “boilerplate” designs for checkboxes, even though many businesses would like to have them. On the other hand, it provides clear rules about getting permission.

4. Lax or Non-existent GDPR Training

People who work for your company can get their hands on any piece of data. This is possible even if you have the best security measures and a strong Data Processing Agreement in place. One of the primary jobs of a data protection officer (DPO) under the UK GDPR is to make sure that employees learn how to keep their data safe.

However, the UK GDPR doesn’t say how much data protection training firms should do. The data protection officer has a lot of freedom in this case. The law also doesn’t say what kind of data protection training you have to do, whether it’s online, in person, or only written.

It doesn’t say how often you have to do it, either. Still, people tend to forget what they’ve learned if they don’t practise repeatedly.

5. Lack of Third-Party Accountability

Customer data is typically stored in a SaaS CRM, like Salesforce, Pipedrive, or HubSpot. Meanwhile, a third-party provider does the payroll. Another provider sends a newsletter on your behalf using software owned by another company.

In either case, the data controller tells these companies what to do. The data processor then processes the data that comes in.

At times, it’s hard to figure out who’s responsible for doing what. However, the most critical point is that a CRM provider should not make a privacy management policy for its clients.

Here’s the bottom line. Your data controller should issue the instructions for all work.

In other words, the data controller is also in charge of making a privacy policy. The data processor must also list Records of Processing Activities of your service providers.

6. Viewing the ICO as the Enemy

It’s often not welcome when you get a letter from a supervisory authority. The tax authority, courts, banks, and supervisory bodies aren’t the only ones who report bad news.

However, there’s no need to get frustrated when the ICO supervisory authority gets in touch with you. Keep your cool. Above all, don’t be afraid to talk to the ICO and work with them.

Everyone’s Responsible for Preventing UK GDPR Breaches

People often think that their businesses don’t have to follow the UK GDPR guidelines because they don’t believe they need to do so in the first place. However, all companies that collect personal data from people in the UK have to follow the rules set by the UK GDPR, even if they are small businesses. Also, the most prominent global tech giants are subject to UK privacy laws.

Even if you aren’t legally allowed to do business in the UK, these rules apply. When doing business in the UK, you must follow them. Otherwise, you could get hit with a UK GDPR fine.

You must make sure you know each rule of the new UK GDPR law. You must also ensure that you’re checking all critical data privacy boxes.



Don’t Pick and Choose the Rules

Most companies only think about having a data protection officer (DPO) and making sure people give permission. They may also give people the right to delete their personal data.

However, this isn’t all of the UK GDPR. 11 chapters with 99 articles that go over the rules in more detail.

This means you need to read through all the rules and follow them before providing any services or collecting personal data in the UK.

Say What You Mean and Vice Versa

Some businesses get customer data for a specific reason and then use it for marketing that has nothing to do with that goal. This is not allowed by UK GDPR rules.

Suppose your business has gathered customer data to answer a customer question or deal with customer complaints. In that case, you must only use their data for that purpose. The UK GDPR doesn’t allow for gaps in how firms use customer data.

Make sure your marketing team knows this law and complies with it. Don’t use customer data for things that weren’t made clear.

Understanding the Scope of PID

The UK GDPR rules that deal with personal information are critical. Businesses need to know that their customers’ personal data isn’t just their contact information.

It’s also their IDs, BANs (International Bank Account Numbers), and e-mails, and it includes more than that. For businesses to comply with the UK GDPR, they also need to think about unstructured customer data like IP addresses, social media posts, geographic locations, and profile images.

Make sure you read the complete UK GDPR compliance guide before you get or use any kind of personal identification. It’s also critical to make sure you’re using UK GDPR compliant software in all instances.

Handling Consumer Data the Right Way

The right to delete customer data is one of the most essential parts of the UK GDPR. When a customer asks for the deletion of their complete (or master) customer data, businesses must do so.

In the past, companies used to only delete a small amount of customer information while still using their phone numbers for marketing. Because of UK GDPR rules, businesses can no longer use customer data after someone ends their relationship with a company.

It’s Easy to Overlook the Threat From Within

Someone at the company misusing data causes more than one in twelve data breaches. It can happen in two main ways.

The first is when employees misuse information companies have given permission to see. This isn’t always done for the wrong reasons. The employee may have found the info accidentally if the organisation hasn't set up the proper access controls.

Alternatively, the employee could have broken access rules. This can occur in many ways, like when an employee changes a document without following the correct steps.

Data mishandling is the second most common type of privilege abuse. In this case, an employee who isn’t supposed to have access to information copies it, shares it, reads it, or does something else with it.

Firms need to figure out how to process and delete master customer data records all at once. Also, keep proof of what you’re deleting from the master customer database so that you don’t get into legal trouble.

Don’t Go It Alone!

Some businesses don’t hire experienced consultants to help them with UK GDPR compliance. This course of action isn’t beneficial. It’s imperative to get help from a consultant to ensure your company is in compliance.

It can be challenging for a busy decision-maker to understand the depth of UK GDPR guidelines and how much work it takes to meet them. The best thing to do is hire a consultant who has plenty of experience and is good at what they do. Today, you can’t compete with a professional advisor in this regard.

You should also think about hiring providers of UK GDPR compliance data management solutions. They have in-house experts who can help you manage your data and do back-office work.

It’s even better if you can find a UK GDPR expert who can provide both consultative services and capable software solutions. DataGuard can do just that.

Your Partner in Compliance

We hope you’ve found our guide to six common mistakes that lead to UK GDPR breaches informative. If you’re struggling with compliance issues, we can help. Feel free to reach out to us today.

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