GDPR compliance for software developers and businesses is a hot debate. Did you know that a failure to implement GDPR compliance solutions can culminate in fines of up to 4% of an organization’s global turnover? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is exclusively legislated to guard the privacy of residents’ personal data in the European Union (EU).
If you’re targeting any market segment with a software solution, it’s best to ensure that it’s GDPR-compliant to win consumer trust, safeguard reputation, and avoid hefty fines. But how do you do it? This article highlights the importance of GDPR implementation in development and 11 key steps to make GDPR-compliant software. Keep reading to stay updated.
Why is GDPR Compliance for Your Software or Application Important?
The European Data Protection Board mandated all online and data-driven businesses in the EU to comply with the GDPR regulation as of May 2018. Typically, this enactment mandates businesses to collect and store user data legally, securely, and with consent. While this approach puts greater responsibility of data safety on businesses, knowing how to create a GDPR compliant software comes with various benefits, including:
- Improved trust and credibility
- Easier automation of business processes
- Enhanced data management and understanding
- Better enterprise and individual brand reputation
- An even playground for data privacy in app development
11 Key Steps for GDPR Compliant Software Development
Now that you understand the importance of running your business on GDPR compliant applications, what are the steps to make your software GDPR compliant? Well, here is how to become GDPR compliant in your industry in 11 steps.
Hire a Data Protection Officer (DPO)
Do you perform systematic monitoring of users’ private data regularly? If yes, hiring a qualified data protection officer (DPO) to be the liaison between your team and supervisory authorities sounds like the first prudent step. The DPO will also advise you accordingly on the core obligations of your business with regard to the principles of GDPR.
Alternatively, you can outsource the DPO roles to a trustworthy third party if your budget limits you from hiring in-house. The goal is to ensure that you have someone solely responsible for data privacy when it comes to GDPR software compliance.
The key decision-makers in your organization should be aware that the product design and deployment will most likely change with new data privacy regulations, in this case, GDPR. Start an awareness campaign to enlighten your team about the impacts of this enactment to have an easier time when implementation finally comes into play.
Conduct an Audit
A critical step to ensuring GDPR compliance is checking the type of personal user information stored in your database even before exploring guides on how to get GDPR compliant. You would also want to understand the origin of every data set and who has access to the same—whether third parties are involved or it’s just your internal team.
Conducting a thorough audit will help you get insights into these concerns. Moreover, it will help you determine whether you want to collect some types of data in the first place. Deciding to gather only the bare minimum of individual data will greatly help you foster GDPR compliance.
Article 30 of the GDPR stipulates that businesses should keep electronic records of their processing activities. The provision targets organizations that employ at least 250 people or any company involved in regular or high-risk processing of personal user data.
While this requirement might not be necessary for startups or mid-sized organizations with fewer employees, implementing it now is a proactive measure to ensure that your future data privacy needs are met. Moreover, it will foster a data protection culture within the company in the long run.
Optimize Your Consent Forms
Under the GDPR guidelines, consent forms for seeking permission to use a user’s data for marketing and other business purposes should be either blank or set to a default “NO.” On top of that, you need to mention and ask express permission for all types of data processing that you intend to implement on the gathered information.
Implement HTTPS in Your Application
HTTPS implementation secures all communications between clients and software servers through next-gen encryption achieved by TLS cryptographic protocols. This will help protect the personal data in “Contact Us” forms, including emails, phone numbers, or physical addresses.
However, this approach only works if you have a credible and well-installed SSL certificate from a reputable certification authority. This is because you’ll send this certificate to users who request a secure HTTPS connection to use your software product.
Ready to build a GDPR-compliant software?Reach out to Langate
Be Transparent About Third Parties
Although marketers love third-party cookies for analytics-driven insights, consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the details that information collected and shared in this manner reveals. For instance, location data can reveal a user’s routine, which can be detrimental if it lands in the wrong hands.
If you can’t implement a self-hosted web analytics tool, it will help if you include the names of all third parties with access to the data in your consent forms. However, the latter option might not be a good idea in the long haul.
Avoid Security Questions That Disclose Personal Information
Besides knowing how to develop a GDPR software, you should avoid security questions that prompt users to reveal their personal information before accessing your digital product. Instead, use other verification methods, such as two-factor authentication (2FA), if your goal is to deter cybercriminal activities.
Allow Users to Withdraw Their Consent
The GDPR legislation grants users the right to be forgotten. This means that you should provide a simple opt-out way allowing users to withdraw their consent whenever possible. In other words, focus on giving users a reason to stay on your list instead of forcing them to do so through hidden or missing opt-out options. This is important if you’re going to comply with GDPR regulations.
Review Your Cookie Policies
The concept of granular consent still applies to functional cookies that allow your software product to remember user preferences, such as advertising and analytics. Moving forward, you should remove those cookies from your app.
Alternatively, you can include them based on lawful grounds, such as user consent, legal obligation, or even requirements for executing a contract. For instance, you might need to gather payment information if your product targets contractors.
Delete Unsubscribed User Data
As noted earlier, one of the core GDPR IT comply tips require businesses to obtain consent from users before tracking their behavior and preferences for targeted campaigns. On top of that, you must inform users how the data will be used and stored in your systems.
If users withdraw their consent, it only makes sense to delete their data from the system. Although you might still have an overriding legitimate interest to keep that data, deleting it can save you from unwarranted suits in case of a breach.
As a trusted IT service provider for businesses across all industries, Langate is a leading partner for designing, building, and deploying GDPR apps and software. Our GDPR compliant software development process follows stringent guidelines, requirements, and ethos echoed by EU regulations and other standards, such as the HIPAA.
We have demonstrated GDPR compliance for software development in several projects, including the following two use cases:
Facilitating Effortless and Reliable Document Management
One way to make your app GDPR compliant, or any other software solution is by enhancing seamless and reliable document management across the board. A reputable healthcare service provider covering over 200 facilities spread across 20 states reached out to Langate seeking to build a reliable document management system.
After a 6-month period of robust development, our team delivered a functional document management system that is in sync with the client’s needs, as well as industry regulations. The solution had various features, including file storage, AD SSO and Non-AD User Support, advanced ACLs, as well as custom fields and attributes. Learn more about the use case here.
Overcoming Healthcare Data Integration Challenges
Making software applications GDPR compliant begins with top-quality data integration and validation analysis. The client approached langate to build a next-gen healthcare IT integration solution that addresses the bottlenecks of big data interexchange and enhance industry compliance in the process.
We built a fully functional, custom solution with various capabilities, such as big data management, processing data from multiple sources, adaptable schedule and customization, as well as improved security. Read more about the use case to discover the client’s feedback and how the solution is a game changer.
Wrapping It Up
Being non-compliant to the GDPR requirement isn’t an option, especially if you are going to tap the EU market, expand exponentially, and add happy customers to your list. With that in mind, implement all these steps in this guide to GDPR compliant software development. If you need more clarification about your strategy, conduct a readiness assessment and determine which of the steps highlighted here need to be implemented. Alternatively, contact us for GDPR-compliant app development.