on April 07, 2021 Visitor Management

Is Your Visitor Management Process GDPR-Compliant?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most important data privacy regulation change in the European Union (EU) in the 21st century. The legislation is also one of the most complex data laws ever implemented, anywhere.

Its recent implementation has had a significant impact on businesses that collect personal data. If conducting any business in an EU member state, you are legally obliged to ensure all of your processes – including your visitor management system (VMS) – are GDPR compliant.

Is Your Visitor Management Process GDPR-Compliant? Here’s how you can stay on the right side of EU laws and avoid the consequences of non-compliance.

What is GDPR Compliance? 

GDPR is a data protection regulation law that came into effect on May 25th, 2018. The legislation applies to all businesses serving any of the 27 EU member states. GDPR is also applicable to companies serving the three members of the European Economic Area (EEA), which are not part of the EU: Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

European legislators introduced GDPR to uphold the right to privacy, outlined in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights: 

“One of the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to protect individuals’ fundamental rights and freedoms, particularly their right to protection of their personal data.”

Note that the GDPR no longer applies to the UK, now that it has officially left the EU. GDPR is also not applicable to companies in Switzerland. However, in both cases, you must still comply with local data laws.  

The Dangers of Not Complying with GDPR

Compliance with GDPR is vital, and the consequences of violating these regulations are significant. If you are found guilty of GDPR non-compliance, you will fall under one of two different penalty tiers. 

In the first tier, which is for less severe penalties, a business will incur a maximum of €10 million fine or 2% of a business’s global revenue for the previous tax year. The higher of the two amounts will be paid. 

If the infringement qualifies for the second tier, a business could receive a fine of up to €20 million or 4% of its global turnover for the previous tax year. Again, whichever is greater. 

In addition to the default penalties, you are also liable for extra charges that others might press against you. Those who are victims of your data non-compliance have the right to seek compensation, which will be decided in a court of law. 

What Are the GDPR Requirements for Visitor Management Systems?

If you’re still using outdated visitor management strategies, chances are, you could unknowingly breach the GDPR regulations. 

Here are the requirements you need to know about your VMS. 

Visitor Consent 

Before collecting any data whatsoever, you must obtain permission from your visitors. The conditions for what is consensual are mentioned on the official GDPR website: 

“Consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. In order to obtain freely given consent, it must be given on a voluntary basis.”

To get consent per legislative language, your VMS should allow users to opt in or out of data collection.

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Defined Purpose

Following GDPR regulations, you must have a legal reason to gather information about others. 

As mentioned in the SwipedOn GDPR eBook, your VMS gives you the legal basis for collecting specific data. For example, you might need it for: 

  • Data security protocols (e.g., company non-disclosure agreements)
  • Health and safety (e.g., potential office evacuations)
  • Physical security procedures (e.g., reducing the spread of contagious diseases)

Any data that a business collects must fall within your mandate, and it can only be used for its intended purpose. 

Transparency 

Consent alone will not guarantee that your organization is allowed to collect visitor data. It must also be clear how you plan to use the gathered information. 

Besides giving notice when you plan to collect data, that data must also not be used unethically. Implementing a digital visitor agreement can guarantee this. 

Visitor agreements should be easy to read and outline how the information will be used. Visitors should also be sent a digital copy of the agreement so they know their rights.

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Data Access and Security

When data is collected under GDPR regulations, it can only be stored for as long as the information is needed. Afterwards, the data must be deleted. You must also make sure that data is only accessible to those who need it. 

Traditional visitor management methods put organizations at a considerable risk of violating both of these stipulations. A visitor book for signing in and out could be stored for an excessive amount of time, thereby violating GDPR regulations. Visitor data could also end up falling into the hands of individuals who should not see it. In both cases, a business could face substantial fines if not careful. 

Digital visitor management solutions are an easy way to avoid these problems and guarantee data security. A VMS allows organizations to delete data as soon as it is no longer needed, encrypt and secure data so it can only be accessed by authorized individuals, and centralizes the storage of sensitive data. Extra layers of security can also be added, such as passwords. 

Staying Compliant with GDPR Regulations 

GDPR compliance is essential. Violating the regulations can cost your business—big time. If you’re using offline visitor management processes, chances are you’re not fully GDPR compliant. 

The easiest way to guarantee compliance is by using a VMS with built-in features. By creating agreements, allowing users to opt out of data collection, and using shield-encrypted software, businesses can ensure they stay on the ‘good side’ of official regulations. 

If you want to learn more about how SwipedOn’s VMS can help your organization remain GDPR compliant, sign up for our free 14-day trial to get started. 

If you enjoyed this article and think it could provide value to others, please do share it on social media 🚀  

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Hadleigh Ford

Hadleigh is our CEO and Founder at SwipedOn.