Introduced in May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) marked arguably the most comprehensive data regulation reform in the last decades. The GDPR affected the ways organizations implement their external data protection strategies and internal data management and processing.

In this post, we explain what GDPR is, what data it protects, and how to ensure GDPR compliance in your organization using specific technologies and procedures. We pay attention to the nuances that managed service providers (MSPs) should consider when implementing their data protection approach.

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What Is GDPR?

GDPR is a unified data protection compliance standard for the EU Member States and the UK (the UK version is slightly modified to correlate with local laws). The importance of this regulatory document is hard to overestimate as the General Data Protection Regulation is created to provide residents and visitors in the UK and EU with additional transparency regarding their personal data. The other point of GDPR is the modernization and consolidation of data protection rules within the European Union. 

What Data Is Protected by GDPR?

Before proceeding with the checklists, concepts and technologies for GDPR compliance, check what data should be protected according to that document. GDPR works for:

  • Personal biographical information (PBI): This includes names, addresses, birth dates, email addresses, and social security numbers. Appearance details, for instance, eye color, hair color weight, or height also fall into this category 
  • Financial data: Tax codes, student loans, salary, etc.
  • Web data: IP addresses, browser history, retained cookies
  • Biometrics, genetics and other health info: Long-derm disease data, health insurance numbers and requests, among others
  • Private data: Political views, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc. The info on geographic tracking by Google Maps, for instance, is considered private data as well.

In case your organization processes, transfers, stores, or interacts with such data of EU and UK residents in any way, compliance with GDPR is mandatory. Bear in mind that in such conditions, your organization must comply with the requirements even if registered and operating outside of the United Kingdom and European Union.

How to comply with GDPR: Critical technologies for MSPs

GDPR compliance requires organizations to implement data protection and management approaches. Here are the technologies that MSPs should use to ensure maintaining regulatory demands.

Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Identity and Access Management suppose ensuring that access to the required data and apps inside an organization is granted to the right employees. Relevant and well-developed IAM approaches allow organizations to be confident that their staff recognizes and processes sensitive information correctly. 

Moreover, IAM practices suppose creating logs that help to monitor access to the protected data. Identity and access management practices also cover measures preventing bad actors from getting unauthorized access to systems, apps, and databases, such as two-factor authentication. 

Data encryption

Encryption is a mandatory security measure these days when data threats to individuals and organizations are at every corner of the digital space. To gain maximum protection for data, you should encrypt everything in sight, including data on the hosts, in the cloud, databases, and endpoint workloads. Encryption is required to prevent unauthorized usage of sensitive data in case of a breach and successful theft of information. 

Data protection requirements set the need to encrypt client data both in flight (while transferring the data to the storage) and at rest (while storing the data on-premises or in the cloud). In case your team members use laptops or desktop PCs, those devices probably store personal data and require full hard drive encryption. 

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

This technology ensures the protection of the info frequently kept on personal mobile devices (for example, tablets). Your clients and employees use their own electronic gadgets to access corporate mailboxes, file exchange systems, collaboration and team management platforms, and other applications or destinations potentially involving sensitive data. 

MDM technologies enable MSPs to monitor and control corporate data as well as clients’ information and critical apps from mobile gadgets. For example, in case a client or an employee loses the device due to theft, MDM solutions can still enable an organization to delete the critical data from the gadget’s memory remotely. 

Email security

Specialists prioritize protection from spam and phishing attacks when focusing on email security. Potentially dangerous messages are regular threats that email security should neutralize. Still, external security is what the security system should provide too. 

When an email security system can detect and prevent unauthorized actions with emails by rogue staff members or bad outsiders, that system becomes an element of protection from insider threats. Without email security, providers can leave big amounts of clients’ information exposed. 

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Data Loss Prevention has a lot in common with outgoing email security measures. DLP solutions set protection from massive data theft by either an employee, a hacker or a criminal. Additionally, DLP technologies can control data transfer inside the organization’s infrastructure, for example, preventing employees from recording sensitive data from the main server to an external flash drive or laptop. 

A data loss prevention solution is like a police service for data traffic. DLP ensures that the data won’t be transferred to the wrong places, which is critical to protect customer data, trade secrets, financial info, intellectual property, or other sensitive information pieces.

Data backup, recovery, and customizable retention

IT specialists in organizations of different sizes tend to treat the creation of an efficient and reliable backup strategy as something less critical than other protection measures. Nevertheless, in the current reality of constantly evolving online threats, a security breach is not a probability but a matter of time. 

Most probably, malware will bypass your security layers and cause data loss or theft sooner than later. Therefore, implementing an MSP backup strategy is as important as involving solutions for malware prevention. 

MSP compliance with GDPR: Procedure checklist

Using the technologies called to protect IT infrastructures, prevent data loss and enable recovery, organizations can set processes to ensure compliance with GDPR. Consider the following security procedures to increase the efficiency of involved technologies and avoid non-compliance fines and legal issues. 

Assign a data protection officer (DPO)

GDPR compliance requires that organizations working with personal data and having more than 10-15 employees hire a Data Protection Officer (DPO). The area of a DPO’s responsibility is assistance with sensitive data maintenance and monitoring. Additionally, data protection officers help with processing big amounts of data belonging to secured categories. 

Design and assess data privacy

Keep in mind privacy protection when designing privacy processes. Apply the designed processes to every new product or service by default and right after the release. Additionally, all processes related to data collection, processing and storage should be audited and assessed to ensure breach prevention both inside and outside the organization.  

Ensure data governance

Data governance is about the processes, technologies and specialists involved in the proper management of critical data through the organization’s infrastructure. An organization should keep the current data supply chain elements documented. Keep data flows and inventories mapped and viewed throughout the entire data lifecycle: from retrieval or generation and exposure. 

Maintaining documentation relevant enables continuous data governance and provides knowledge about: 

  • The exact data collected 
  • The purposes of data collection
  • The ways to use that data
  • The storage destinations
  • The security measures applied
  • The access control policies
  • The ways to expose the data on demand or upon the retention period expires

Get explicit consent from clients

GDPR requires organizations to remain transparent about data collection and provide clients with additional control over their personal info. That means a client should give their explicit consent for personal data collection, retention, processing and disposal before the organization actually starts collecting that data. 

Personal data must have an expiration date, and clients must be able to request data deletion at any moment. A client’s request override the rights of an organization controlling the data.

Keep compliance auditing and recording

An organization that controls personal data must maintain not only compliance with GDPR regulations but also prove that compliance. Auditing of privacy maintenance measures and detailed recording of controlled, processed, and transferred data is the solution. With the detailed records, your organization knows the data it controls and can provide regulatory officials with appropriate reports whenever necessary.

State obligations in case of data breach

The last but not least critical point of the GDPR compliance checklist for an organization is to notify regulatory authorities and a customer under threat after a data breach occurs. An organization has 72 hours to send the appropriate notifications. 


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the document regulating data protection and privacy. GDPR compliance is mandatory for any organization interacting with the personal data of individuals in the EU and UK. GDPR requirements apply even if an organization is registered and operating outside the European Union and the United Kingdom. 

The list of technologies helping to maintain compliance with GDPR includes:

  • Inventory and access management (IAM)
  • Mobile device management (MDM)
  • Data encryption
  • Data loss prevention (DLP)
  • Email security 
  • Data backup, recovery and retention control

Ensuring the efficiency of personal data protection approaches, an organization can set the following security procedures:

  • Hire a responsible specialist (Data Protection Officer)
  • Thoroughly design and assess data privacy 
  • Ensure data governance
  • Get explicit consent from customers
  • Regularly provide compliance recording and audit
  • Know and maintain obligations when a data breach happens

Mariia Lvovych
Outreach Manager

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GDPR Compliance Checklist: Technologies and Security Procedures Essential for MSPs