Fleet industry warned to scrutinise supply chain or risk GDPR breaches

Fleet Operations, the UK independent provider of outsourced fleet management services, warns that many businesses within the fleet industry remain underprepared for the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The GDPR comes into force on 25th May 2018 and requires businesses to comply with a new set of rules designed to safeguard personal data.

One of the most significant changes means that organisations will now take responsibility for data protection breaches at any point within the supply chain. This puts fleet suppliers and operators at particularly high risk due to the large amount of personal data transactions that occur within the fleet supply chain.

And Brian Hardwick, Head of Operations at Fleet Operations, believes too few companies have got to grips with the full extent of their new responsibilities under the GDPR.

He said: "From our experience, it appears many organisations still have not assessed the full impact of the GDPR and taken the requisite action to ensure they will be compliant. There exists a perception that this is a minor adjustment when, in fact, businesses need to assess their entire supply chain to ensure each link is secure.

"As a starting point, it is vital for organisations to map all data flows across the business, which means documenting all data coming in and going out, as well as the various organisations or individuals that process information at each point in the supply chain. Contracts must now be in place between the data controller and data processor in each of these data transactions covering all the requisite details outlined by the GDPR."

The consequences for failing to comply with the GDPR are high, with the maximum fine for infringements set at 20 million Euros or 4% of turnover, whichever is greater.

In this context, Hardwick insists it is the responsibility of everyone within an organisation to minimise the potential for breaches.

He added: "It is not sufficient for an organisation to simply hand all responsibility for the GDPR to a designated data controller – everyone should bear some of the burden. There are obvious data streams, such as payroll, but there are less obvious ones that include everyday emails. In this context, a breach could occur due to something as simple as copying someone into an email thread that contains data they do not have consent to view.

"That's why it is important to communicate the new regulation – and the steps you are taking to address it – very clearly to all staff and put data protection at the centre of your organisational culture."

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