The Company needs to gather and use certain information about individuals, these include customers, suppliers, business contacts, employees and other people the company has a relationship with or may need to contact.
This policy describes how this personal data must be collected, handled and stored to meet the company’s data protection standards and to comply with the law including the EU General Data Protection Regulations.
2. Why this policy exists
This data protection policy ensures the Company:
• Complies with data protection law and follows good practice
• Protects the rights of staff, customers and partners
• Is open about how it stores and processes individual’s data
• Protects itself from the risks of a data breach
3. Data protection law
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) describe how organisations must collect, handle and store personal information.
The rules apply regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials.
To comply with the law, personal data must be collected and used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed unlawfully.
Under the GDPR, the data protection principles set out the main responsibilities for organisations.
Article 5 of the GDPR requires that personal data shall be:
a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
b) collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;
c) adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
d) accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;
e) kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures
required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals; and
f) processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.
4. Policy scope
This policy applies to all staff, partners, contractors, suppliers and other people working on behalf of the company.
It applies to all data that the company holds relating to identifiable individuals, even if that information technically fails outside the GDPR.
GDPR defines personal data as ‘any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person’ but extends this to also include location data, genetic data and online identifiers such as IP addresses and mobile phone IDs. This means all of these pieces of information are regarded as personal and deserving of the full protection of the rules.
5. Data controller & data processor
The Company is both a Data Controller and a Data Processor. Article 4 of the GDPR defines data controllers and data processors as below:
• ‘controller’ means the natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data; where the purposes and means of such processing are determined by Union or Member State law, the controller or the specific criteria for its nomination may be provided for by Union or Member State law;
• ‘processor’ means a natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes personal data on behalf of the controller.
Where we act as the data processor for our customers we will ensure that the Data Controller remains the principal party for responsibilities such as collecting consent, managing consent-revoking, enabling right to access, etc. A data subject who wishes to revoke consent for his or her personal data therefore will contact the data controller to initiate the request.
We will ensure that as the Data Processor we will:
• Only process personal data on instructions from the controller and inform the controller if we believe said instruction infringes on the GDPR.
• Obtain written permission from the controller before engaging a subcontractor and assume full liability for failures of subcontractors to meet the GDPR.
• Upon request, delete or return all personal data to the controller at the end of service contract.
• Enable and contribute to compliance audits conducted by the controller or a representative of the controller.
• Take reasonable steps to secure data, such as encryption, backup and disaster recovery, and regular security testing
• Notify data controllers without undue delay upon learning of data breaches.
• Restrict personal data transfer to a third country only if legal safeguards are obtained.
6. Data protection risks
This policy helps protect the Company from data security risks including:
Breaches of confidentiality – For instance information being given out inappropriately.
Failing to offer choice – For instance, in appropriate circumstances giving individuals the right to choose whether the Company continues to hold their data.
Reputational Damage – For instance, the company could suffer if hackers successfully gained access to personal or sensitive data.
Everyone who works for or with the Company has some responsibility for ensuring that data is collected, stored and handled appropriately.
Each team that handles personal data must ensure that it is handled and processed in line with this policy and data protection legislation.
However, these people have key areas of responsibility:
• The Director is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the Company meets its legal obligations and are responsible for:
o Keeping the Company updated about data protection responsibilities, risks and issues.
o Arranging data protection training and advice for people covered by this policy.
o Handling data protection questions from staff and anyone else covered by this policy.
o Dealing with requests from individuals to see data the Company holds about them (also called subject access requests).
o Checking and approving any contracts or agreements with third parties that may handle the company’s data.
• The IT Consultant is responsible for:
o Ensuring all systems, services and equipment used for storing data meet acceptable security standards.
o Performing regular checks and scans to ensure security hardware and software is functioning properly.
o Evaluating any third-party services, the company is considering using to store or process data. For instance, cloud computing services.
8. General staff guidelines
The only people able to access data covered by this policy should be those who need it for their work.
Data should not be shared informally. When access to confidential information is required, employees should request it from their line managers.
The Company will provide training for all employees to help them understand their responsibilities when handling data.
Employees should keep all data secure, by taking sensible precautions and following the guidelines below.
In particular, strong passwords must be used, and they should never be shared.
Personal data should not be disclosed to unauthorised people, either within the company or externally.
Data should be regularly reviewed and updated if it is found to be out of date. If no longer required, it should be deleted and disposed of.
Employees should request help from their line manager if they are unsure about any aspect of data protection.
9. Data Storage
These rules describe how and where data should be safely stored. Questions about storing data safely can be directed to the IT Consultant.
Where data is stored on paper, it should be kept in s secure place where unauthorised people cannot see it.
These guidelines also apply to data that is usually stored electronically but has been printed out for some reason:
• When not required, the paper or files should be kept in a locked drawer or filing cabinet.
• Employees should make sure paper and printouts are not left where unauthorised people could see them, like on a printer.
• Data printouts should be shredded and disposed of securely when no longer required.
When data is stored electronically, it must be protected from unauthorised access, accidental deletion and malicious hacking attempts:
• Data should be protected by strong passwords that are changed regularly and never shared between employees.
• If data is stored on removable media (like a CD, DVD or Memory Stick), these should be kept locked away securely when not being used.
• Data should only be stored on designated drives and servers, and should only be uploaded to approved cloud computing services.
• Servers containing personal data should be sited in a secure location, away from general office space.
• Data should be backed up frequently. Those backups should be tested regularly, in line with the company’s standard backup procedures.
• Data should never be saved directly on laptops or other mobile devices like tablets or smartphones.
• All servers and computers containing data should be protected by approved security software and a firewall.
10. Data use
Personal data is of no value to the Company unless the business can make use of it. However, it is when personal data is accessed and used that it can be at the greatest risk of loss, corruption or theft:
• When working with personal data, employees should ensure that the screens of their computers are always locked when left unattended.
• Personal data should not be shared informally. In particular, it should never be sent by e-mail, as this form of communication is not secure.
• Data must be encrypted before being transferred electronically. The IT Consultant can explain how to send data to authorised external contracts.
• Personal data should never be transferred outside of the European Economic Area unless there is a legal or contractual reason to do so.
• Employees should not save copies of personal data to their own computers. Always access and update the central copy of any data.
11. Data accuracy
The law requires the Company to take reasonable steps to ensure data is kept accurate and up to date.
The more important it is that the personal data is accurate, the greater the effort the company should put into ensuring its accuracy.
It is the responsibility of all employees who work with data to take reasonable steps to ensure it is kept as accurate and up to date as possible.
• Data will be held in a few places as necessary. Staff should not create any unnecessary additional data sets.
• Staff should take every opportunity to ensure that data is updated. For instance, by confirming a customer’s details when they call.
• The Company will make it easy for data subjects to update the information it holds about them. For instance, via the company website.
• Data should be updated as inaccuracies are discovered. For instance, if a customer can no longer be reached on their stored telephone number, it should be removed from the database.
12. Subject access requests
All individuals who are the subject of personal data held by the Company are entitled to:
• Ask what information the company holds about them and why.
• Ask how to gain access to it.
• Be informed how to keep it up to date.
• Be informed how the company is meeting its data protection obligations.
If, an individual, contacts the company requesting this information, this is called a subject access request.
Subject access requests from individuals should be made by e-mail addressed to Tracey Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org
The data controller will always verify the identity of anyone making a subject access request before handing over any information.
13. Disclosing data for other reasons
In certain circumstances, the legislation allows personal data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the data subject. Under these circumstances, the company will disclose requested data, However, the data controller will ensure the request is legitimate, seeking assistance where necessary.
14. Providing information
The Company aims to ensure that individuals are aware that their data is being processed and they understand:
• How the data is being used
• How to exercise their rights
15. Data retention and deletion
Included at Appendix A the Data Retention and Deletion Schedule which is intended to cover the lifecycle of records and information from creation through to destruction or permanent preservation.
Records intended for destruction under the Schedule may be destroyed in accordance with the provisions of the Schedule. Backup copies stored on alternative media (server/microfilm/paper) should also be destroyed. This is vital to ensure compliance with the requirements of Data Protection law and Freedom of Information legislation.
Effective implementation of this schedule will safeguard the Company’s records and consequently help the Company manage and reduce operational, reputational, financial and litigation risks.
Very few types of records have specified time periods for retention in law or in official government guidance. Where such advice exists, it is included in this Schedule. Where advice does not exist, it is up to us to decide how long we wish to retain records.
Records identified in this schedule as ‘permanent’ may be selected for permanent preservation, the remainder should be destroyed as specified in the Schedule.
Disposal & destruction
Physical records requiring disposal should be treated as ‘confidential waste’ and disposed of securely. The Company will obtain certificates of destruction where an external service provider is used. The use of on-site shredding should be restricted to small numbers of individual documents only.
Electronic records – Where records are held electronically the files themselves should be deleted. Allowance should be made for the backup cycle in the timescales so that the date after which the records cannot be recovered is known and recorded.
We shall not keep local copies of files on backup media or USB drives for longer than a period.
The disposal of all records should be recorded by keeping a log of the records disposed of, the data and method of disposal. For electronic records this should also include the date when the record can no longer be recovered from backup storage.
A breach of this procedure is a breach of Data Protection Policy. Breaches of Policy will be investigated and may result in disciplinary action. Serious breaches of Policy may be considered gross misconduct and result in dismissal without notice, or legal action being taken against you. Breaches will be dealt with accordingly under the Company’s disciplinary Policy.
The Schedule will be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that we are complying with the latest legal advice. The Schedule will be timetabled for review bi-annually or reviewed when the Company becomes aware of legislative changes that make it necessary for our approach to retention to be altered.
Where the Company is the Data Processor on behalf of our clients the retention and deletion of data will be carried out in accordance with the instructions of the Data Controller, unless legislation prevents it.