GDPR Online Business Compliance

GDPR for the Solopreneur

Congratulations! You have launched your website and are on your way to building your dreambut do you have all of the pieces in place to be successful and legally protected while you do so?  

One very commonly overlooked necessity when launching a website is including a privacy policy on your site. In recent years, both business-owners and consumers have become ultra-focused on data protection and data privacy, giving birth to the most comprehensive data privacy regulations ever enacted: the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Isn’t the GDPR only for businesses in the EU?

While you may initially assume you don’t need to pay attention to the GDPR requirements if you are not based in the European Union, it’s not quite that simple. The law surrounding these guidelines reaches anyone or any website that collects even so much as an IP address from someone who resides in the EU, even if you are geographically nowhere near Europe and you aren’t seeking out EU clients or customers.

So, what does that mean? Basically, if someone in the EU visits your website and you have analytic tracking software that collects their IP address or they join your email list and submit data to you that way, you are required to comply with this law.

What happens if I don’t have a GDPR-compliant privacy policy?

If you do not have a GDPR-compliant privacy policy for your website and you unknowingly violate the data privacy rights of an EU citizen who joins your email list or otherwise transfers data to you, you may face penalties under this law.

Fines for violations can be as high 20 million euros and investigations are prompted by complaints. This means that even if you think you are a small fish in a big ocean, all it takes to prompt a GDPR investigation into your business is a complaint fromONE EU citizen to the regulatory body.

What’s in a privacy policy?

A privacy policy is essentially a statement which explains the ways you and your business gather, use, share, and manage data collected from consumers. To be GDRP-compliant, there are a few basic questions every privacy policy should answer including:

  • What information is being collected?
  • How you are using the collected information?  
  • Whether or not you will share or sell the information you collect with third parties?
  • What rights does the website visitor have?

What do I need to do to be GDPR-compliant?

So now that you know you don’t want to mess around with this EU data protection law, what can you do to make sure your business is compliant?

  • Think about the types of personal information your website collects.
  • Do you collect information like names, email addresses, physical addresses, and the location of website visitors and computer IP addresses? If so, do you knowwhy you collect all of the types of personal information your website collects? If there is no logical purpose behind the collection of one or more of the types of information your website collects, you should reconsider collecting it at all. Remember, the reach of regulations like the EU’s GDPR extends well beyond geographical barriers.

  • Utilize an opt-in form.
  • It is legally permissible for a website to collect and store personal information, as long as there is a legitimate reason for doing so and the website users gives their consent for the website to collect information. By asking website visitors to “opt-in” by clicking a box acknowledging the privacy policy, you are keeping your consumers happy, and yourself and your business safe.

  • Remember that it doesn’t end here.
  • Rules and regulations in this area are rapidly evolving. You should ensure that you stay knowledgeable about developments in the rules enforced by your local regulators and update your privacy policy accordingly.

    While this is a good overview of privacy policies, if even just the idea of writing a privacy policy makes you shudder, you can easily customize our GDPR-compliant privacy policy with just a few tweaks for your business, copy, paste, and you’re ready for whoever comes your way!