Although emails are not specifically referenced in the GDPR, all data contained within them does come under its jurisdiction. To avoid the risk of a breach, as well as to conform to these regulations, it’s important to stay protected.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to points you should consider when sending GDPR compliant emails.
Safeguarding Personal Information
Personally identifiable information, or PII, is data that can be used—either on its own or in combination with other records—to determine an individual’s identity. It is best practice not to provide PII wherever possible, but to use anonymised data instead.
But, we know this isn’t always the case and sometimes you need to share data that could become identifiable, so it must be sent securely. Protected emails that contain PII should also not be allowed to be forwarded to unauthorised participants and you should ensure that any data you do send has been pre-authorised by the owner because consent is a key part of GDPR, which must be respected at all times.
Preventing Unauthorised Access to Data
A data breach places sensitive information at risk of exploitation by criminal activity or other unauthorised purposes. A data breach can be prevented by sending attachments securely, tracking the receipt of documentation, sending only essential information, and by double-checking that data recipients are authorised.
File level encryption is one of the best ways to do this (find out more about this in our previous article here) and there are simple ways to send protected emails without having to download special programs. Try using something like My Protected Mail for free and see how you can send and receive protected emails.
If you do find that your organisation has experienced a data breach, you (or your company’s assigned data protection officer) are duty bound under GDPR to notify affected individuals within 72 hours of awareness of the breach. This provides the opportunity to take corrective measures and prevent further compromise of their information. Of course, your organisation has a responsibility to facilitate and support such action, whilst simultaneously commencing an investigation and completing internal and external reporting.
Protecting Your Brand’s Reputation
Personal data is important to every individual. When we entrust organisations with sensitive information, there is an expectation that this will be respected. Any breach or mismanagement of data reflects negatively on a brand.
That said, if a data-related incident does occur, it is best to be honest about the situation from the start. Not only does the GDPR explicitly require this, but taking swift action helps to protect your brand’s reputation. People understand that even highly secure structures can be compromised, and if your organisation responds quickly, this can help to mitigate the damage. Conversely, a delay or cover-up would be completely unacceptable.
Generating positive PR
If your organisation is shown to be consistently compliant with data protection laws—including GDPR—this gives a positive impression of your information safeguarding processes. It also demonstrates a wider sense of reliability and security and strengthens your brand’s reputation, encouraging potential customers and stakeholders to put their trust in you.
Consider getting help in making you compliant by using My Protected Mail, it works with your exisiting systems and doesn’t require setup or installation! To find out more, visit www.MyProtectedMail.com