09 March 2018

Last week during a GDPR related meeting with one of our clients, he told us: honestly, I have the feeling that this GDPR project is all about paperwork. Although it is not entirely true, we totally agree with our client that a huge part of the compliance project is drafting and adopting several documents. In this article we summarized the 5 basic types of documents that you must have in order to achieve GDPR-compliance.

1. Records of data processing activities

It is clear from the GDPR that both data controllers and data processors shall maintain a record of processing activities which contains certain information (eg. categories of processed data, data transfers to third countries etc.)

The content of the controllers’ and processors’ records is different: for example, while the records of a controller contain the data detention periods, it is obviously not an element of the processors’ records as he is not the one who establishes these periods.

If during the review of your processing activities you were identified both as a controller and a processor, we have great news for you: you need to maintain two records. For example, the haulier is a controller in relation with his own employees (record 1) but is a processor in relation with the data of his client’s customers (record 2).

2. Internal data protection and data processing policy

The GDPR sets forth that controllers shall implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the GDPR compliance which include the adoption of data protection policies.

Thus, it is kind of obligatory to adopt an internal data protection policy which describes all data processing activities, the liabilities and tasks in relation with the data protection in the organization, the measurements made in relation with data security, the rights of the data subjects and how to handle their requests.

3. Information „packages”

One of the most important goal of the GDPR was to ensure that data subjects are well informed, they understand what happens with their personal data and they have effective rights in relation with the processing of their data.

You as a controller are expected to provide all the necessary information to the data subject and help them to enforce their rights. Hence, you shall implement different information “packages” (as known as privacy policies) among others to your employees and to your private person customers. Further, if you receive personal data through your webpage, you will need to have and publish a webpage privacy policy, too.

4. Data breach incident records

Considering all the information security measures you implemented in order to be GDPR-compliant, you should not experience any data breach incidents at all. However, unfortunately even the best practices cannot exclude the possibility of an incident.

Thus, on a “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” basis you will need to have a data breach incident records. This documents the data breaches, their effects and the actions you have taken to mitigate the risks.

5. Data processing contracts

Regardless that you are a controller or a processor (or both if different contexts) you will need to conclude a (data processing) contract with the other party (processor or controller)

This contract among others clearly sets forth the responsibilities of both parties in relation with the certain processing activities. It is important to mention that the contact shall be in writing (including electronic form).

If you are a processor it is your interest to act in accordance with the data processing contract as otherwise you may be considered as a controller which clearly increases your liabilities.

To sum up the above: GDPR is not only about paperwork but it is clearly a very important and big part of your compliance project. Indeed, if the supervisory authority knocks on your door that he wants to investigate your processing activities, first thing he will tell you is: show me your data protection related documents.