GDPR Compliance Checklist for Software 2023 : Aalpha
We are living in a technological era that has us surrounded by multiple software programs. As of the 21 stcentury, we have software programs that cater to most of our day-to-day activities. For example, there are programs that can help you do shopping virtually, monitor your heartbeat, make your house smart via intelligent gadgets, or even monitor the number of steps you put in per day. However, using these software programs to carry out these tasks comes with one primary concern, data privacy.
Due to this reason, about four years ago, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) surfaced. Since they were adopted by the EU, every person in the app development industry has to strictly comply with these regulations or face a fine of around 20 million euros. But how can you ensure that you are GDPR compliant?
Are you under GDPR?
Before we move on to the GDPR compliance checklist, you should first identify whether or not you are under these regulations. To figure this out, you can utilize the following criteria:
- Does your app have a comment section?
- Does your app cater to EU citizens?
- Does your app have a subscription plan function?
- Can users use third-party apps to log into your app/website?
If your answer to any one or more of these questions is yes, then congratulations, you are definitely liable to the GDPR privacy regulations.
How can you achieve GDPR Compliance?
Consider whether or not you require all the Information that you collect
If you want to make your software GDPR compliant, then your first step should be to check on the type of personal information your software stores. After confirming the type of Information catered to by your software program, ask yourself this question: Is all this Information necessary?
If you are looking for a software program that offers a privacy-conscious future, you should focus on collecting only the information you require. Remember that less Information equals more efficient data handling criteria.
Encrypt Personal Data
Encrypting data scrambles it and makes it useless to individuals trying to access the Information without granted access. However, to access and make sense of the data, individuals with access permission have to have a decryption key to decrypt the data.
Any cyber security expert will tell you that information breaches are virtually inevitable.
On the 15 thof July, a hack attack on Ashley Madison (a dating website) led to around 25 Giga Bytes of personal Information falling into the hands of the hacker.
The Information, which includes addresses, emails, and names, was in plain text format in the database. Therefore, after accessing the data, hackers were able to track and manipulate individuals using the website easily. Additionally, the negligence portrayed by Ashley Madison developers led to multiple blackmails to the users of the website, which ultimately led to the following:
- Broken marriages
- And ruined careers
Therefore, as this example portrays, data breaches breed bad outcomes. And therefore, you should pay attention to crucial factors such as the encryption of data.
Consider the use of HTTP
Various “contact us” online forms mostly ask you to input your data, for example, your home address, email, phone number, and much more. Therefore, if you send and store this data in plain text format, then you are generally giving this data to hackers.
Therefore, if your software has a contact us online form, ensure you utilize encryption to secure your clients’ data.
Moreover, for more security, you should also utilize the HTTPS protocol, a version of the HTTP protocol that is more secure.
HTTPS effectively encrypts every piece of Information sent between the server and client using the TLS/SSL cryptographic protocol. Whenever users request an HTTPS connection to your software, it sends them your app SSL cert, which contains the necessary keys to start a secure connection.
Therefore, you must get your SSL cert from credible certification authorities. Moreover, after receiving your certificate, ensure you install it right.
Additionally, ensure your SSL cert is not susceptible to protocol vulnerabilities.
Implement a Granular Opt-In
As an application owner, it is essential to regularly contact your customers for marketing purposes. However, during the contacting process, it is vital for you to ask your customers for explicit consent regarding every type of Information that you handle.
What that means is that if you are looking to send promotional materials to your clients via their email, or phone, then the consent form for this process should bear at least three opt-in check boxes:
- One for post
- Another for email
- And the last one for the telephone
Your clients can then choose to check either or all of these check boxes to specify how they wish to get your promotional messages.
Moreover, you should also have an “I agree” checkbox.
If all you require to carry out marketing is the user’s email, then you can use marketing consent. However, if you are utilizing segmentation/targeting and personalization, you will require legitimate interest consent and marketing consent to profile and collect any additional demographic or behavioral data.
Specify Third Parties
Some software programs require you to pass client information through third parties. If your application requires you to do this, then you should accurately and clearly state these third parties in the consent form.
However, this should be a no-go zone when it comes to providing third parties with permission to access your client’s personal information. Your client’s personal Information is crucial to the success of your app. Moreover, it is confidential. Therefore, you should not share this Information with third parties.
Additionally, according to a report by over 300 experts, most users do not like having their personal info around third parties. Therefore, instead of going through the hassle of consent and putting your client-app trust in jeopardy, you should try working with self-hosted websites or app analytics platforms. These platforms ensure that only you get to collect, store and process your client’s data.
Ensure the Terms and Condition Section is Visible
GDPR privacy regulations don’t allow app owners to hide the terms and conditions section. Therefore, if you are under these regulations, you should ensure that the terms and conditions section is visible to your user. According to GDPR, users should first acknowledge that they have gone through the app’s terms and conditions before they utilize it.
Do not use Security Questions that disclose the Personal Information of your Clients
During the sign-up process for your app, you might opt to utilize security questions. If such can be the case, then according to GDPR, you should not use security questions that disclose your client’s personal information. Avoid asking questions that expose the customer’s:
When developing a software application, the privacy of your customer’s data should be most important. Remember that security attracts customers and helps make your app more efficient. Therefore, complying with GDPR doesn’t just get you out of a twenty million euro fine; it also helps make your app more efficient.
To know more connect with Aalpha: software development company & get consultation from experts!
Originally published at https://www.aalpha.net on January 6, 2023.