Why PDF is a great GDPR compliance solution

by Brad Selbst, Sales Director

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The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25, 2018. With it comes a heightened level of scrutiny to the rules of customer engagement for brands on both sides of the Atlantic.

GDPR does two things:

  • Establishes a single set of data protection rules across the EU (whereas previously, there was a general privacy directive that allowed each EU member state to come up with their own rules)
  • Gives EU residents much better control over their personal data

To comply with GDPR, you must:

  • Obtain and process personal data fairly
  • Keep and process for specific lawful purposes only.
  • Keep it secure and up to date
  • You can retain it only while needed, then delete
  • Provide copy and update on request by EU residents

All global companies with personal data on any EU residents must follow the GDPR’s data privacy laws. Employees reliant on collecting and processing personal data in this new digital world will most directly experience the complexities of compliance — but they’ll also be the biggest beneficiaries of the transparency.

With GDPR, everyone your company has ever been in communication with (clients, prospects, even your employees) can ask for a full report of every single piece of information you have on them: contracts, emails, documents in general, which they should receive in 30 days or less.

Scalability in GDPR compliance is crucial and by using PDF as your document management system, you can make the process of becoming GDPR compliant natural and fluid. Using some of our top features as examples, we’ll show you how easy it can be to create the document workflows you need to become fully compliant.

Full-text search helps you locate customer records

When a customer requests their information from you, you need to be able to search all your documents for references to that customer quickly and easily. Using full-text search, you can search your whole PDF document management system for mentions of that customer name in record time. In the same way, every PDF document can be scanned for instances of a word, cutting out the need for manual searching.

Metadata also enables you to search more efficiently

The term metadata literally means ‘data about data’. Metadata provides additional information about a file, such as its author, creation data, copyright restrictions, even the application used to create the file.

You can set the metadata in your PDFs to make files easier to search and find. For instance, each person’s profile in your database could have a uniquely identifiable code that’s added to their metadata as a category. This way, once someone requests their information, you can search for the code from that customer, which will pull any documents that hold any data about them in seconds.

Rights management limits access to customer information

You require sign off on a contract from your legal department, but the document includes a customer’s personal information that other departments in the company should not be privy to. To be safe, you can set your document rights management so that only people with a password can access the document yet they can’t edit it, only annotate. You can even grant access to team members for a limited time so they can only access information for, say, eight hours, two weeks or a month. That way, you further limit exposure of sensitive personal data.

Redaction enables you to remove data permanently and properly

Say your customer wants their personal information deleted from your system. A full-text search brings up a contract with their information in it. If you cannot simply delete the whole contract due to reporting needs or compliance, you can use redaction. Redaction is the process of censoring or obscuring part of a document for legal or security purposes.

Using PDF technology, we completely remove the information from the frontend and backend of the document forever. It’s much better than simply placing a black box over the information, since that leaves metadata still accessible. Proper redaction, like the type we offer, fully removes the data you need to excise, leaving no trace of it, only letting viewers know that data was removed in the document in that location.

Foxit Software is actively working with key enterprise companies to create a custom GDPR Solution that can help you reach GDPR compliance in record time. Contact us at 1-866-680-3668 to discuss how we can help you become GDPR compliant.


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