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  30 min read

The Importance of GDPR Compliance in Visitor Management

May 13, 2022

As a business, it is essential to be aware of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how it affects your visitor management process. The introduction of the GDPR has a significant impact on company operations.  

Your business needs to understand its responsibilities under this regulation in full. This article explores the Regulations and how GDPR-compliant software ties into visitor management. 

What Is GDPR Compliance? 

The GDPR is a set of rules passed in the European Union (EU) for companies that collect and process the personal data of EU citizens. GDPR compliance defines how data is collected and stored, acceptable use, and ownership. The regulations aim to give people back control over their personal information. 

This set of regulations took effect on May 25, 2018, with a two-year transition period that has now passed. Any company that collects or processes EU citizen data must comply with the new regulations or face stiff penalties. 

The regulations apply to any company that does business with EU residents regardless of where the organization is based. If you conduct business globally, you need to make sure your business is GDPR compliant. 

The Complete GDPR Compliance Checklist 

 

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GDPR_Compl_Check_Supervisors.                     GDPR_Compl_Check_Privacy

GDPR_Compl_Check_RiskAssess             GDPR_Compl_Check_Education

Transparent Data Collection 

Transparency is the core value of the General Data Protection Regulation. Visitors, customers, clients, and employees whose information you capture must be aware of their data Whats, Whys, and Hows: 

  • What data you are collecting 
  • Why it is being collected 
  • How that data will be used 

In the interest of transparency, this information must be communicated clearly, with no complex or misleading phrasing. The information must be in plain sight at every data collection point.  

Organizations cannot assume consent. For example, a website must inform the user if they intend to use cookies and cannot use them until they consent. Also, forms cannot pre-check consent – such as agreeing to subscribe to a newsletter – the individual must actively select it. 

For newsletter and email list signups, a double-opt-in approach is needed. Simply collecting consent on a form is insufficient to add a visitor to your email list. You must then send a follow-up email with a link the visitor uses to confirm consent. Once they agree to the follow-up consent email, you can add users to the list. If you have a pre-existing list, you must send out an email to obtain consent to continue using this list. 

There are age restrictions on who can agree to GDPR. Anyone under the age of 16 cannot lawfully consent to data protection. If there is potential that you may be collecting data from minors, you need to have an age verification process. Collecting their personal data requires parental consent. 

Additionally, everyone has the right to withdraw their consent at any time. Information on how to withdraw consent must be clear and easily accessible. 

Understand Your Data 

It is crucial to understand all elements of the data you are collecting, storing, and using. This knowledge allows you to control your data better and remain GDPR compliant. As a bonus, it also improves organization and helps make your data more actionable. The core elements include: 

  • The Data – What data you actually collect, such as names and contact information 
  • Data Source – Where it is collected, ex., Form fill & page 
  • Reason – Why you collected the data and how you will use it 
  • Consent – You must collect and store proof in a manner you can easily access 
  • Data Processing – How data is processed and where it is stored 
  • Data Disposal – Condition around what, when, and how you remove data 

Data Evaluation & Impact Assessment 

Businesses must only collect the personal data they need and have good reason to collect. In addition to following GDPR guidelines, this also helps to reduce ‘data bloat’. The supervisory authorities which monitor GDPR compliance pay especially close attention to sensitive data. 

All data is explored through IPIA and DPIA impact assessments. Any sensitive personal data collected for which you do not have a compelling reason to use can lead to non-compliance fines. Some examples of sensitive personal data include: 

  • Data of, or involving, minors 
  • Religious or ethnic identities 
  • Health and medical information 
  • Sexual orientation  
  • Location tracking  

Create a Data Register 

It is essential to figure out who your supervisors are, both internally and externally. In-house, you must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) responsible for overseeing your organization's GDPR compliance. In most cases, only large-scale data monitoring or special data categories need to hire a DPO.  

Next, you must know your Data Protection Association (DPA). This is the authority that your organization deals with externally. Your DPA is the one who issues fines for non-compliance. Knowledge about your DPA helps identify whom to contact in case of a breach to avoid fines and to know any special regulations to follow. 

The basic function of reporting data breaches is as follows: 

  1. The Processor identifies a breach and reports it to the Controller(s) 
  2. The Controller(s) notifies the DPA 
  3. Upon notification, the DPA reviews the breach 

Processors and Controllers must complete all reporting within 72 hours of the breach. 

Privacy Policy 

If you collect personal data, your website must have a Privacy Policy page that is easy to discover and access. All information must be accurate and kept up to date. The Policy must include information explaining what data you collect and its intended use. It is best practice to have a legal professional draft your Privacy Policy. 

Risk Assessment (Ongoing) 

Risk assessment is an ongoing process to review potential risks and plan for remediation. Solutions for potential risks must be in place to help reduce vulnerabilities and improve responsiveness. You can manage risk scoring and solutions internally or hire an outside service. 

Education (Ongoing) 

As with risk assessment, GDPR education is never complete. It is the responsibility of every business to ensure its employees and decision-makers are educated on General Data Protection Regulations and updates. 

How GDPR Affects Compliance Regulations with US Companies 

GDPR can affect compliance regulations in the US in three ways.  

  1. A Higher Standard

GDPR raised the bar for all companies' "good" privacy practices. It is enforced regardless of the company's location. If you're in the US, your company may have to make significant changes to comply with GDPR if it has not already done so. 

  1. The Partner Effect

Compliance isn't just for those who serve customers in the EU. If some of your partners or vendors are in or do business in the EU, you must be GDPR compliant. For example, if your email marketing provider has EU customers, it is likely subject to GDPR requirements. 

  1. Protection for International Transfers

There are rules concerning international data transfers. In general, businesses cannot transfer personal data outside the EU. That is unless adequate safeguards are in place to protect the data. For example, companies can use standard contractual clauses issued by the European Commission or adopt Binding Corporate Rules regardless of the business’ location. 

Why GDPR Matters to Visitor Management Systems 

In our connected world, organizations need to manage customer data in a way that isn't invasive or unwarranted. GDPR affects how visitor management systems gather, use, and store personal data. 

GDPR visitor management solutions need consent from customers to use their personal data. This includes storing, sharing, and selling it. As a result, compliant companies must update their privacy policies and procedures.  

GDPR gives customers rights to how companies can use their personal information. For example, businesses need customer consent to sell or pass customer data to a third party. Your company must adopt better security measures to protect data against leaks and hacks. Compliant GDPR logbooks are a necessary consideration for cloud-based VMS.

Improve Facility Compliance to Industry Standards >

Compliance Checklist for Visitor Management Solutions 

Various organizations have different visitor management solutions:  

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Paper sign-in books

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Basic hardware systems 

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Sophisticated, cloud-based software solutions 

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Digital signing of non-disclosure agreements, visitor agreements, and other documents

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Photo capture

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Reporting and analytics

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Pre-registration of guests with appointment scheduling or email confirmation

The security measures and their compliance features vary widely. When choosing a visitor management system for your organization, you must consider the key compliance factors. 

Consent 

To minimize liability, ensure your visitor management sign-in process meets all applicable regulations. Special consent is necessary when capturing and storing biometric information, such as facial recognition. You must capture clear consent from visitors before collecting or sharing their data. Provide complete details on how and why their data is collected and managed and the legal basis. 

Transparency 

GDPR requires transparency when collecting and using personal data, including visitor data. Your visitor management system must allow visitors to print out their personal information. As well as access to details on what the company does with that information. 

Data Access and Data Security 

You must provide access controls so only authorized personnel can access visitor data. Visitor management systems need robust security measures to ensure that your data is secure. Encrypted databases and HTTPS web transfers protect visitor data from unauthorized access. The platform should allow users to access and request the deletion of personal data. 

How to Ensure Visitor Management System Compliance 

Your business benefits from adhering to the GDPR guidelines. Below are some ways to ensure a compliant visitor management system. 

Ensure You Have Access Control 

Have access control for sensitive information to keep data safe from unauthorized parties. You can set up different access levels so that only the right people can get into the various areas of your business premises. 

Decode Information from All Visitors 

Request that your visitors fill in the necessary information before entering the building. The data they need to provide includes their name, address, phone number, and other details needed for proper authorization. 

Set Up Alerts for Unauthorized Access 

Program your system to send alerts when unauthorized access is detected. Use custom watchlists to deny entry to flagged individuals or send escorts to VIPs.

Learn how to get more out of your visitor management platform with The Ultimate Guide to Visitor Management 

Learn More About GDPR Compliant Software 

Data security and privacy are critical to the success of companies operating in the European Union. With GDPR, you must understand what data you collect, store, and how long you keep it. 

Book a demo to learn what iLobby's compliant visitor management solutions can do for you. 

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