New Delhi (India), September 9: In an era where technology reigns supreme, India’s ongoing journey towards data protection regulation serves as a powerful testament to the nation’s unwavering commitment to forging a formidable data privacy fortress.
Here, at the crossroads of innovation and accountability, we find ourselves faced with the imperative of constructing not merely privacy governance programs but fortified bastions of trust, especially for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs).
In this ever-evolving digital landscape, where data is the currency of the future, the foundation of transparent and sustainable organizations, particularly for SMBs, is intricately woven with the threads of data privacy and security.
In the corridors of India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, a monumental shift is underway. The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, stands poised to enact a seismic transformation in the way personal data is handled, not only within the nation’s borders but reverberating across the global stage.
Under this bill, personal data can only be processed for lawful purposes with the consent of the individual concerned. However, there are exceptions, such as voluntary data sharing by individuals or data processing by the State for permits, licenses, benefits, and services. Data fiduciaries will bear the responsibility of ensuring data accuracy, security, and prompt deletion when its purpose is fulfilled.
The bill empowers individuals with certain rights, including the right to access information, request corrections and deletions, and seek grievance redressal. However, the central government may grant exemptions to government agencies for reasons such as safeguarding the state, public order, and preventing offenses.
The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, is expected to cast a wide net, affecting various facets of organizational operations. These include legal, IT, human resources, sales and marketing, procurement, finance, and information security departments. Given the substantial volume of personal data handled in India, organizations in these sectors must establish robust data privacy and protection measures to align with the new legislation.
While there is a grace period for industry alignment, the exact transition timeline is yet to be determined, pending consultations with stakeholders.
This period will be crucial for creating awareness about individuals’ rights and allowing MSMEs to adapt to the new rules. Once the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act is in effect, individuals will have the ability to file complaints through the designated channels.
Key Action Items for SMBs
1. Awareness and Sensitization
To navigate the changing landscape of data protection, business owners must be well-informed about the Digital Personal Data Protection Act and its implications. This education will require coordinated efforts from the government, industry bodies, and consulting firms to create awareness and foster sensitivity among SMBs.
2. As-Is-State Assessment
Each company must conduct a comprehensive assessment of their current data handling practices. This assessment should cover all personally identifiable data collected from employees, contractors, vendors, and other stakeholders, whether stored digitally or on paper. Evaluating data collection, storage, retrieval, and consent-seeking processes is vital.
3. Augment Internal Systems and Technology
Aligning with the DPDP Act, businesses will need to reassess their internal technology systems and processes. This may involve investing in new data security tools and data management technologies to enhance their data protection measures. Business rules, policies, and procedures will also need to be redefined in light of the new regulations.
4. Regular Audits
Periodic audits will be imperative to ensure ongoing compliance with the DPDP Act. These audits will help organizations identify and rectify any potential data privacy gaps or non-compliance issues promptly.
To sum it up, as India forges ahead with its digital personal data protection framework through the 2023 bill, it’s a pivotal moment for businesses, especially Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMBs). In this digital age, the road to success is paved with data protection.
Understanding the scope and significance of this legislation is the first step. Recognizing how it touches various sectors, particularly SMBs, is crucial. These changes are not just about obeying the law; they are about weaving a fabric of trust with customers.
In this era where data privacy takes center stage, businesses that adapt and invest in robust data protection practices will not only thrive but also contribute to a safer, more secure digital landscape for all.
So, let’s take the initiative, stay informed, and embrace the digital future with confidence and responsibility.
AUTHOR – JUBIN MISHRA
The author, Jubin Mishra holds an extensive understanding of the Business requirements of India’s small, medium and family-owned businesses. His strategies and insights are helping middle-market companies embrace digital, navigate through emerging regulatory compliance, create sustainable growth paths, and unlock value. As a partner at Blue Helion, Jubin acts as an advisor, mentor, and member of the CXO and Founder’s core teams and also helps define and operationalise the transformation agenda. Here, he leverages his extensive experience of business operating models of SMB to help build and augment internal systems and processes to be compliant with regulatory changes, including the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, of 2023.