“Accept all cookies.”
“We don’t sell your information.”
These pop-up messages can be found on nearly every website lately — and for good reason. Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about what these policies actually mean when it comes to their personal data.
According to a 2019 study by Pew Research, 79% of Americans are concerned about how their data is being used by companies, and 70% of Americans believe their personal data is less secure now than it was five years ago. As these concerns grow stronger year after year, more policies are being implemented to protect consumer data.
One of the most important regulations in consumer data protection is known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR increases consumer security and confidence at a time when internet users are inquiring into why their data is being collected and what it is being used for.
If you are new to GDPR compliance regulations, keep scrolling to learn:
- How GDPR impacts businesses globally
- Why GDPR compliance is essential for good business practice
- What you need to know to ensure your website is GDPR compliant
What is GDPR Compliance?
GDPR is the strictest internet privacy and consumer security law in the world. Although it originated and passed in the European Union (EU) in 2018, its regulations are applicable to any business that targets or collects online data from anyone in the EU.
GDPR is not an ethical debate, but rather, a moral position that companies take in order to remain transparent with their customers and responsible with customers’ personal data.
The 7 key principles of GDPR compliance are as follows:
- Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency
- Purpose limitation
- Data minimization
- Storage limitation
- Integrity and confidentiality (security)
These seven principles offer a framework that companies can draw upon to provide good data protection practices and ensure the security of consumer data.
Why GDPR Matters for American Businesses
If a company is found to be in breach of GDPR compliance regulations, they can face expensive fines, with some penalties calling for tens of millions of euros in penalty fees.
You may be thinking, “This doesn’t apply to my business or my website — we only do business in the United States.” The common misconception here, as well as the limitation, is that while you may only conduct business in the United States, you cannot control if/ when an internet user visits your website from another country. Additionally, if you sell goods or services that you eventually plan to sell in the EU, you will need good GDPR compliance practices in place from the start of those sales, or your company risks violations.
Although GDPR originates from the EU, you should know that there are already GDPR laws in place in the United States. Since there are no federal laws governing GDPR in the U.S., only state laws, at Conway Marketing, we err on the side of caution and adhere to the strictest state standards to ensure compliance with national and international laws.
GDPR is less about more regulations and red tape and is more about protecting consumers and respecting their privacy. The regulations laid out in GDPR are not outlandish — they are simply guidelines for proper website user data governance.
What Does GDPR Mean for Website Owners & Builders?
GDPR asks website owners and builders to be very transparent about what cookies or data trackers they are using.
For website owners, this means working with your development team to determine what data is required to collect from website visitors.
For website builders, such as those on our team at Conway Marketing Group, there are some additional steps that are required to ensure that GDPR compliant websites have the right plug-ins, permissions, and updates.
To ensure websites are GDPR compliant, there are several things web development teams must do, including, but not limited to:
- Establish what information is being collected and why
- Document the data that is being collected
- Clarify how that data will be used to achieve website or brand goals
- Establish how the user can view/edit/delete their information if/ when it is collected
- Establish a protocol for potential data breaches
- Incorporate the appropriate legal documents (i.e., Privacy Policies, Terms of Service, etc.)
Once these processes have been identified and implemented into a website, users are asked for explicit permission to collect and use their data. Before any data collecting methods are used (forms, analytics, etc.), it is imperative that users are made aware of the data collection methods in use and explicitly authorize the website to collect their information. If users opt-out of any data collection, their information is not saved, and the business cannot use their data/ customer analytics.
Why the Right Marketing Partner is More Important than Ever
GDPR compliance is still a new concept, but a curveball that is to be expected in the industry. The ever-changing landscape of the internet highlights the importance of having the right marketing partner on your side.
At Conway Marketing Group, we’re always thinking a few steps ahead. We create GDPR-compliant websites because we know that, even though there aren’t any federal regulations on GDPR today, there likely will be someday. Additionally, we wholeheartedly agree with the principles laid out in GDPR compliance, as they set the ideal standard for customer data integrity.
Work with Us | Conway Marketing Group
Have questions or concerns about GDPR compliance? We understand and want to help. With how quickly consumer data protection laws can be implemented via federal and state law, we want to help you stay ahead of the competition.
Our team is dedicated to helping you stay informed. You can feel confident knowing we build and maintain websites that are in compliance with international and national laws.
Contact us to learn more about GDPR and how Conway Marketing Group can help ensure you’re staying ahead of compliance regulations while still accomplishing your website and marketing goals.