The introduction of the new data protection rules, GDPR, is less than 6 months away. It seems that many businesses have started taking action in preparation for the implementation in May 2018. 

For those who have not looked at the GDPR, a good starting point is to determine if you are a data controller or a data processor.

What is the difference between a data processor or a data controller?

  • A controller determines the purposes and means of processing personal data.
  • A processor is responsible for processing personal data on behalf of a controller.

The GDPR introduces new legal obligations on data processors, including a requirement to keep records of personal data and processing activities. Data processors will have legal liability if it is responsible for a data breach.     

Data controllers must ensure that they have written contracts in place with data processors and that it complies with GDPR. The ICO website has a checklist to assist you with the basic contents of such a contract. 

Apart from the agreed contractual obligations between controllers and processors, the GDPR adds further responsibilities for data processors, which include:

  • not to use a sub-processor without the prior written authorisation of the data controller;
  • to ensure the security of its processing;
  • to keep records of processing activities;
  • to notify any personal data breaches to the data controller;
  • to employ a data protection officer.

The ICO has issued a GDPR self-assessment checklist for data controllers and data processors which is designed to assess an organisations' level of compliance with the GDPR. 

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