You have your checklist checked, introduced new procedures and even appointed your Data Protection Officer (DPO). But what about Employee Awareness? As an important part of GDPR compliance, your staff is expected to know its role in making full compliance a reality, underlining the importance of initiating an Employee Awareness Programme.
It would be tempting to see an employee GDPR training programme as a simple gesture of engagement, designed to help your personnel feel part of the dramatic data protection changes that are taking place.
But in fact, the role that each employee plays in achieving the highest possible data security level is significant. Symantec states in their State of Privacy Report that a huge majority (88%) of European consumers consider a company’s record in data security most important when choosing to do business.
So every company needs to ensure its personnel are properly informed of the importance they have.
If anything highlights this fact, it is the degree to which simple human error impacts data breach statistics. According to the 2017 Breach Level Index, accidental data loss accounted for 1.9 billion of the total 2.6 billion records stolen or lost over the year – a 580% increase on 2016.
Accidental data loss is defined as unintended security breaches, such as improper data disposal and database misconfiguration. With statistics clearly showing the risk uninformed employees can pose, investing in an effective Employee Awareness training programme is a vital part of any company’s overall GDPR compliance drive.
Employee Awareness Programmes Are Part of GDPR Compliance
As with several other areas of GDPR readiness, businesses across the UK and Ireland have been slow to adopt Employee Awareness Programmes. In their 2017 GDPR Report, IT Governance discovered that less than 10% of organisations had provided GDPR awareness training at that time, but that 53% of organizations were planning to.
However, providing these training programmes and initiatives are a critical part of GDPR compliance. In fact, Article 39 of the GDPR points out that Data Protection Officers (DPOs) are expected to “inform and advise the controller or the processor and the employees who carry out processing of their obligations”, as well as monitoring regulatory compliance and managing internal data protection activities.
What An Employee Awareness Programme Should Involve
- Offer Clarity – This stands for the consequences of an employee’s actions as well as the responsibilities that they have. In general, workers operate more effectively when they clearly understand the purpose of their task. So, by explaining the hows and the whys of their data protection role, alertness (not just awareness) increases dramatically.
- Identify Areas To Improve – Employee awareness programmes should be focused on finding vulnerable areas of the business organization, and on satisfying your key business objectives. The areas can relate to cost-efficiency, internal file storage, database protection, and in even enhancing your brand’s reputation.
- Engage Your Employees – Training programmes and tutorials are often considered necessary but boring. If an initiative cannot hold participants’ attention, then it seriously compromises its effectiveness. So, it is extremely important that your programme engages so as to encourage the highest increase in awareness possible. Achieving this is easier if you understand what your staff respond to well, so it’s a good idea to include interactive activities, games and reward systems.
- Offer Regular Refresher Programmes – Building employee awareness is an ongoing process, so it’s a good idea to include refresher or update courses as part of the overall programme. This will help to reinforce awareness, improve understanding and bring new recruits onboard.
Dedicated Employee Awareness Training programmes are available to help your personnel get to grips with GDPR. Kefron offers one of the most detailed, in partnership with Olive Media, ensuring participants get the full picture necessary to help achieve compliance. For more details, visit the Kefron website.