GDPR Training for Employees - Improve Staff Awareness & Compliance
GDPR Training

GDPR Training for Employees

GDPR training is a vital component in the quest to protect data. Done right, it can make for an engaging, informative experience that helps to protect people’s data and keep your company or organisation GDPR compliant.

Everyone who handles personal data at your organisation has a responsibility to the protection of that data and is expected to play their part in supporting compliance with the legislation.

Employers need to take GDPR seriously and consider the implications of falling foul of GDPR. In particular, they need to be able to demonstrate they’ve taken steps to train their staff to an acceptable level for their role. However, what is that level? Who needs training? Can you do training in-house?

In this article we’ll take you through the ins and outs of GDPR training for employees and get you clued up on what to look out for when getting your staff trained in GDPR.

What is GDPR Awareness Training?

Since 2018, companies and organisations have had to comply with The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a European data privacy regulation and EU law that was made to give individuals more control over how their data is collected, used, and safeguarded online. Failure to comply with this EU law can result in hefty fines. GDPR training has become very important for companies looking to learn what rules it needs to follow and what actions it needs to take to avoid violating the regulations.

GDPR training is exactly what it sounds like; it is training for employees of companies and organisations, teaching them what to look out for and the best practices when it comes to data protection, so as to not risk staff, and therefore the organisation, breaking the rules unknowingly. After all, it’s up to the employer to ensure staff are aware of the best practices and rules of the General Data Protection Regulation.

As we explore below, every employee who comes into contact with personal data should ideally receive some form of GDPR training, and a beginner-level training course should be a part of their induction.

Do All Employees Require GDPR training?

You may think that only those employees who regularly work in this area, such as IT Specialists or Data Protection Officers, require training to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations. However, any employee in the organisation could be at risk of causing a data breach, with this risk obviously increased if they’re unaware of key facts, such as what constitutes a data breach, or what best practices are when protecting data.

To be GDPR compliant, it is a requirement that companies and organisations show they are acting in accordance with the law throughout the organisation. Article 25  states that companies must have adequate controls to ensure compliance. This is further broken down into two areas:

  • Technical - for example, the systems and processes that are used to store, transmit or process the data
  • Organisational - for example, the people who interact with the data

Whilst there is no law which states GDPR training, specifically, must be given to be compliant with Article 25, it is recommended that staff be trained in GDPR and have some knowledge of how to avoid data breaches, as this helps to show compliance with the need to provide “adequate controls”.

There’s a very good reason why all employees should have some form of training to comply with the legislation. A recent study found that 85% of data breaches involve the human element; employees are a major reason for data security concerns. As the ICO, the organisation responsible for implementing the GDPR in the UK, says, “Data protection is everyone’s responsibility, so you’ll need to provide training to everyone who works for you, including temporary staff and volunteers”.

How Do You Train Your Staff On The GDPR?

So, you know your staff need some form of GDPR training, but how do you do it?

There are a number of options, including:

  • Those in charge of GDPR and data protection at your organisation could create and deliver bespoke in-house training suited to the data protection needs of your organisation depending on the level and regularity of data handling.
  • An expert partner (such as Databasix) could create and deliver bespoke in-house (in-person or online) training suited to the data protection needs of your organisation depending on the level and regularity of data handling. An advantage of this live training is that staff can ask specific questions to those leading the training.
  • Your staff could attend a public (i.e. non-company or organisation specific) training course . These normally take the form of off-site events at a physical location with people from other companies (which can be great for local networking), or online (remote) courses which can help keep the time required to a minimum. Again, an advantage of live training is that staff can ask specific questions to those leading the course.
  • Employees could learn from pre-packaged training materials, or ”on-demand” pre-recorded sessions.

How Do You Choose the Right Training Course, and the Right Training Provider?

So let's assume for a moment that you've decided to save yourself the time, stress and headaches of providing the GDPR training in-house, and have opted outsource to an external training provider. Given that there are so many different data protection and GDPR related courses available, how exactly do you know which course is best for you or your team? How do you know if the quality of the training is going to add value? How do you know if your team are going to learn exactly what they need to learn, as opposed to leaving with more questions than they started with?

Well, thankfully you're in luck. We know it can be such a mine-field that we created a dedicate article to runs you through 9 Things to Consider When Choosing a GDPR Training Course for Employees. We highly recommend you check it out once you've finished reading this article!

What Should GDPR Training for Staff Include?

The ICO says, “Training must be relevant, accurate and up to date”.

Firstly, ‘relevant’ can apply to your specific industry or role. The training required for one industry will no doubt be different to what’s required for another, as different levels or personal data will inevitably be handled. Similarly, while most staff need some form of GDPR training, some employees’ roles in a organisation may require more in-depth training than others, again due to the level and amount of data they may be handling. Furthermore, more in-depth training around specific areas of GDPR such as Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs) and Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs)  may be required to ensure your employees have the most relevant knowledge required for their role.

Thankfully, some training providers, including Databasix, make it easier to demonstrate compliance by offering bespoke and custom coaching, courses and consulting.

Secondly, ‘accurate’ relates to the quality and specificity of the training provided. A vague and broad level of training may not be good enough to ensure staff meet all of the requirements of the GDPR, risking fines. A quality course will provide explanations of the main aspects of data protection such as what constitutes a data breach, as well as be provided by an experienced instructor who knows what they’re talking about.

Thirdly, ‘up to date’. The world of data protection is constantly changing, as new avenues of data breaches open up, and new safeguarding techniques are created. You therefore want your training to be up to date with these developments to ensure your employees are better equipped to meet the GDPR requirements.

Unfortunately, the ICO can’t say exactly what GDPR training needs to include, saying, “Data protection law uses a set of key principles for how personal data should be used and protected rather than a list of what can and can’t be done. This makes sense, as it would be impossible to define all the different ways businesses should be handling data”. However, these three principles are a good starting point when choosing a quality GDPR training provider.

Do You Need To Provide GDPR Refresher Training?

As the ICO says, GDPR training must be “up to date”. GDPR training isn’t just something to learn about once and think you know it all - the world of data protection is constantly changing and evolving, so your staff’s training should be too.

Those in charge of GDPR and data protection at an organisation should regularly stay up to date with these changes, and filter down important information to other staff who need it, but most, if not all, staff will eventually require a more thorough update.

This is where refresher training comes in. Depending on your industry, your staff may require a GDPR refresher as frequently as once a year, or when a major change occurs such as UK government proposals to change data protection law.

Explore our GDPR refresher training to ensure your staff are up to date with GDPR and therefore your organisation remains compliant.

Book Online or Contact Us Today!

Don’t lose sleep over how to get your staff up to scratch on their data protection and GDPR compliance. Databasix offers a wide range of engaging online, in-person, and on demand GDPR Data Protection courses to help you and your team stay GDPR compliant, so book online today or contact us for a friendly, no obligation chat.

The information and remarks provided in this article represent insight and guidance for best practice which is correct or valid or appropriate at time of publication.

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