Privacy Policy: Everything You Need to Know

A privacy policy is a statement or legal document (in privacy law) that discloses some or all of the ways a party gathers, uses, discloses, and manages a customer or client’s data. Essentially, it’s how you tell your customers what you’re doing with their data — and whether they can opt-out — in the simplest way possible without breaking confidentiality laws.

What does it include?
Although businesses typically create privacy policies, they can also be created by non-profit organizations or individuals. Privacy policies help users understand what a company does with their data and informs them of how long that data is stored. It also provides information about how a user’s data will be shared with third parties and if it will be sold or transferred to other businesses. Most privacy policies explain when such information is collected, how it is used, who has access to it, and whether it can be amended or updated.

Why do you need it?
If you collect data on your website, you must have a privacy policy. This is because GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) requires businesses that process the personal data of European Union residents to make public how they’re using and managing said data. Having a privacy policy is one way of demonstrating compliance with GDPR and protecting yourself from potential fines. There are several ways to create one, so if you need assistance or guidance we can help with that too!

Why do you need to update it?
Have you ever asked your customers about their privacy policy? If not, then it’s probably time you do. Your clients are becoming more and more aware of data security issues—and they may hold off purchasing products or services if they think that you might use their data unethically. To be sure that you stay on your client’s good side, ensure that your privacy policy is up-to-date and accurate.

When should you create a new one?
One of your first tasks as a business owner should be getting a privacy policy in place. Create a privacy policy if you are collecting information from customers, including their names, email addresses, or telephone numbers, and do not have one already. If you have previously created a policy for your business and still collect customer information without updating it regularly (for example, if you use an online survey tool), then you may need to write an updated one as well.

When should you update an existing one?
The answer is whenever you change your information collection and use practices. That can happen as frequently as daily (if you’re a retailer), or less often, such as once a year (for example, if you are a bank). Reviewing your privacy policy regularly will help ensure that it reflects current practices in order to avoid potentially confusing customers. At least once a year, take time to review your privacy policy, update it as necessary, and publish an updated version on your website so that people are aware of any changes.

What happens if you don’t have one?
If you don’t have a privacy policy, you’ll be in breach of data protection laws and open to legal action. In most cases, individuals do not have a legal right to seek compensation for privacy violations. However, if you do collect personal information from an individual they may claim that they have suffered damage as a result of your failure and could bring action against you.

How do you make sure it doesn’t get outdated?
Privacy policies often need to be updated as business practices evolve, so it’s a good idea to start with a template that allows you flexibility in terms of length and content. It’s important not only that your policy covers all your bases, but also that it’s written in language that is clear and easy for customers and clients to understand.

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