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How to Make Your Website GDPR Compliant Using Consent Management

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GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, was adopted by the EU to keep its citizens safe from online threats.

‌Any‌ ‌company or organization that offers either paid or free goods and services to EU residents are required to be GDPR compliant.

For many small businesses that operate digitally, this calls for internal inspection and monitoring.

Even minor infringement of GDPR costs companies a minimum of €10 million. More severe infringements have even worse consequences. If your website is not specifically blocked from EU access, you will have to abide by the GDPR.

Today we will explore the concept of consent management under GDPR compliance. But that’s not all. We’ll also provide important information on keeping your laptop compliant with GDPR guidelines.

How to make your website GDPR compliant using consent management

There are several approaches you can take to make your website GDPR compliant. Consent management is one of the many components that you need to take care of. We will explore consent management in detail later in the article. But before anything else, let’s find out what GDPR is and why it is important for all organizations and businesses.

GDPR

What is GDPR?

GDPR is short for General Data Protection and Regulation. It is an EU law that was implemented in 2018.

The enforcement of GDPR meant a sea change for how websites could function. Now any website open to EU citizens has to take special care to ensure they do not breach the law.

The wide definition of GDPR makes it even more complicated. The official words of the document says the law applies to any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. It includes several different things that website owners need to take care of. Some of the laws deal with spam content and promotional messages.

Other clauses are about more serious illegal activities like illegal trading and schemes. Several clauses also deal with tracking and storing user data. This is where consent management comes into play.

When you open a website in 2022, you are highly likely to come across pop up messages asking permission to store cookies. There are advanced settings that you can access to determine which cookies and trackers the website can use. But most people on the internet do not think twice before clicking accept when such a pop up comes.

While you may not think a lot before clicking accept on a website, it is a crucial component for website owners. If you do not see any pop-up message, it could mean that you have already given permission to the website. In other cases, it could mean the website is not GDPR compliant.

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What consent management entails

Consent management is a simple procedure if you have the tools for it.

For example, Osano can help you manage consent with ease in its all-in-one consent management platform. Consent management has clear guidelines at its core. The core idea is this: if you are tracking someone or storing their data, you need their consent. The pop-up messages confirming your consent serve this very purpose.

There are a few things to keep in mind when developing your consent management plans. Here are some of them:

  • If your website is storing data in any capacity, you need consent from the users.
  • Consent cannot be taken for granted. To translate that more specifically, no website can grant itself permissions by default only for users to disable them. The inverse, however, is true. Websites should by default assume non-consent, and only take consent for granted once it’s explicitly given.
  • The request to grant consent cannot be clubbed in with other text. For example, you cannot have the same pop-up for consent as well as other optional features. In case any such text is used, the request for consent should be highlighted and distinguishable.
  • Users must have the right and option of withdrawing consent at any point. They can take consent back even if they have granted it earlier. Similarly, a user’s scrolling of a website and/or ignoring the consent message does not translate into the user giving consent.

There are several other minutiae that we can go into, but that means regurgitating what the GDPR laws say. Instead, we will focus on the general direction that the law points towards.

The simplest thing to keep in mind is this: unless you get explicit consent, you do not have consent.

Following this simple principle will help you be GDPR compliant.

consent-management

Why privacy matters to modern consumers

At a time when data is more valuable than ever, the average consumer is waking up to their powers for the first time. Now consumers have the option of giving or not giving their data to companies depending on whom they trust.

For large tech conglomerates, data is the biggest asset. They can devise more than one way to legally obtain consent for data collection and tracking.

If you are using a Windows 11 device, for example, you would have already given several permissions to Microsoft.

Being protective about data is a positive trend in today’s world. While it means a few additional steps for website owners, it promotes overall safety and security. Data can be misused in many ways, and spam content is a growing concern. Data protection is one of the primary ways to keep yourself secure in a digital world.

The move from the EU to implement the GDPR law shows that the concern has now reached a legislative stage. There are similar compliance guidelines for the United States, Canada, Australia, and other developed countries as well. Compliance has become an important sector in website management now.

Does your website need consent management?

If you actively run and manage a website, there’s a high chance of it requiring consent management.

Since websites are viewable across the world, your website is likely to fall under EU jurisdiction as well. Moreover, using any third-party toolkit or extension automatically makes it necessary for the website to have consent management.

Only personal websites can do without consent management. But if your website is about a business or organization, there’s no doubt that you also need consent management. Using content management solutions is the best option if you do not want to manage the hassle yourself.

According to the CEO of Sidepost Phi Dang, “…if you are not well-versed with the technicalities, it can be quite challenging to manage consent on your website.”

One of the biggest benefits of using a consent management platform is to ensure that all your compliance requirements are taken care of.

As we mentioned earlier, you will have to pay a hefty fine if caught breaching GDPR guidelines. With a consent management platform, you get the peace of mind to focus on other things. Dynamically managing consent with an in-house team is both time-consuming and expensive.

If your website uses Google Analytics or is hosted on WordPress, it is automatically bound to have consent management. The same goes for any website that has videos embedded from other websites. Since almost all modern websites have these features, all of them require consent management. With so many tools available, managing consent is much simpler than it used to be.

Steps for website GDPR compliance

While a consent management platform does most of the work for you, there are still some things that you need to focus on.

Let’s find out what they are and how you can tune them to make your website GDPR compliant.

a)    Trim down your privacy policy

Do you have a 10-page long privacy policy that no one bothers reading? Does it include clauses and phrases that could have been removed? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you can benefit from trimming your privacy policy.

b)    Make your consent statements clear

As an extension of trimming down the privacy policy, you should also make your consent statements clear and unambiguous. The language of consent policies is often deliberately complicated. Avoid anything like that for a GDPR-compliant website. All it takes is a little attention to the words and phrases used.

c)    Ensure all third-party plugins are also GDPR compliant

Any modern website uses several plugins and extensions. While you can guarantee compliance on your end, you cannot do so on behalf of third-party extensions. Before using any plugins or extensions, make sure it complies with GDPR laws.

d)   Clean your mailing list

The GDPR details several policies on email marketing. If you have run a website for a long time and have a mailing list, you are likely to have several invalid email ids as well. Regularly monitor your mailing list to get rid of all such addresses. Alternatively, you can use an email-marketing tool that does it for you.

Conclusion

We hope this guide helps you in making your website GDPR compliant using the right consent management tools and methods.

Privacy in the modern world is a luxury and every web user wants it for themselves.

As a responsible business or organization, it is your responsibility to ensure your visitors’ data stays confidential.

Author bio

Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as a Content Manager with a Fortune 1 retail giant. She is passionate about writing and helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted and compelling content. She loves to read, travel, and experiment with different cuisines in her free time. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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