Navigating a data breach: step-by-step

By Frank van Vonderen

A data breach is like an unexpected storm in the world of data protection. It can happen to anyone, but rest assured: the GDPR offers an umbrella in this storm. This blog guides you step by step through the process of managing a data breach according to the GDPR, so your organization can quickly become dry and safe again.


Step 1: Detect and document

The first step is to detect and document the breach. This includes determining what has been leaked, how it happened, and who is affected. Accurate documentation is essential, not only for internal purposes but also for any reports to the authorities.

Step 2: Assess the risks

Evaluate the potential impact of the breach on the affected individuals. Is there a risk of harm, such as identity theft or fraud? The severity of the breach determines the next steps.

Step 3: Report the data breach

If the breach likely poses a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, it must be reported to the Data Protection Authority within 72 hours of discovery. Also, do not forget to inform the affected individuals if the breach likely poses a high risk to their rights and freedoms.

Step 4: Take action to limit the breach

Once the breach is identified, take immediate measures to prevent further damage. This can range from strengthening security measures to temporarily taking certain systems offline.

Step 5: Evaluate and improve

After the crisis, it's time for reflection. What caused the breach? How can it be prevented in the future? This is an opportunity to review and improve your data protection policy and procedures.

A data breach is never pleasant, but with the right preparation and knowledge of the GDPR, your organization can meet this challenge. By following these steps, you ensure a quick and effective response, minimize damage, and strengthen the trust bond with your customers and stakeholders.


Need help with a data breach?

Contact Frank van Vonderen.

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