Start-ups and Data Privacy Compliance

Start-ups and Data Privacy Compliance

Article by Tsaaro

7 min read

Start-ups and Data Privacy Compliance

While the burden of compliance is a motivating factor, start-ups are increasingly moving towards a minimalistic and responsible data lifecycle. Branding privacy as a feature gives the new companies an edge over their competitors by building consumer trust. It is therefore important that start-ups design the development of their business processes and infrastructure compliant with privacy norms.

Where does the challenge lie?

Access to global markets using innovative technologies is one of the biggest pluses for start-ups. But harnessing user data to their advantage comes with a reasonable burden of managing privacy compliance across jurisdictions. Any start-up must first ensure the following internal checks:

  • Security risks and potential breaches: it is important to ensure that the website or application being used by a start-up secured against cyber security vulnerabilities.
  • Assessment and prioritisation of customer and employee data: knowing your data assets, data flows and contractual commitments.
  • Developing an internal privacy policy: related to handling of personal information in the form of employee data, sales and marketing data or data processed on behalf of customers.
  • Regulatory and legal compliance: The law governing use of technology and data is as dynamic as the tech industry is, keeping pace with the changing laws is crucial to managing the risks of non-compliance.

What are some data security solutions start-ups can use?

Securing the digital infrastructure:

  • A third party performed penetration test will uncover the critical security issues of digital systems, how these vulnerabilities were exploited – as well as steps required to fix them.

Integration of privacy in the organisation:

  • Employee training: perform basic security, privacy and compliance awareness and training with employees, including general security practices at the minimum.

Appointment of a DPO can help ensure legal compliance in the following ways:

  • Identification of legal basis of processing.
  • Strategizing with risks in mind: categorizing data and deciding the retention period and permissions accordingly.
  • Define and implement a data retention plan; ideally, the plan should automatically dispose of data when no longer necessary.
  • Maintaining a data breach register and similar records.
  • Keep both internal and external data processing activity records.
  • Ensuring data subject’s rights by proper treatment of data, obtaining permissions where necessary etc. This becomes even more pertinent to start-ups as a large segment of the online user base consists of young people who like likely to be under-age.

Application security

  • It is important to establish a Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) which incorporates security and privacy, early on. This could be as simple as having security and privacy reviews done by a privacy expert as a section in any of the tech specs or product requirement Documents.

Contractual approach to privacy:

  • Start-ups can ensure that their terms of privacy are better understood by both the customers and the negotiating parties through clear privacy statements, notices and policies.

Implementation of practical data privacy solutions with appropriate expert guidance can help start-ups stay afloat both monetarily and data-wise. The principles governing responsible use of data remain similar across jurisdictions, given that start-ups deal with multiple legal systems by virtue of the pervasiveness of internet, compliance may be cumbersome without expert implementation of the same.

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