How to Make Your Joomla Site GDPR Compliant

Safeguarding customer privacy is more than a protective measure; it is crucial for your brand growth and online presence. Consumers are becoming more and more careful about what personal data they share online. Hence data protection and privacy can not only create a business advantage but also has become a necessity.

If your business has an online presence and you’re still in the dark about GDPR compliance, it’s time to wake up! Today, we will cover how to incorporate best practices to protect customer’s information and make your Joomla site GDPR compliant. But before we do that, let’s find out what exactly is GDPR.

What is GDPR compliance?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It is a regulation in EU law that is written to protect citizens from privacy and data breaches.

In simple terms, the legislation specifies what personal data is and regulates what can be done with them. It answers the questions of what is considered consent and ensures cookies are considered personal data and you take consent before using them.

The seven key principles of GDPR are:

  • Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency
  • Purpose limitation
  • Data minimization
  • Accuracy
  • Storage limitation
  • Integrity and confidentiality
  • Accountability

Since it is a law in the EU, should businesses based outside the region bother about GDPR? Definitely! Wherever you are based, if you are doing any business with EU citizens, you have to make your website GDPR compliant.

What Happens if You Don’t Comply GDPR

The consequence of non-compliance can be very serious. For less severe breaches, the fine can be up to 10 million Euros or 2% of the firm’s global turnover. The fine can be up to 20 million Euros or 4% of the firm’s global turnover for more serious offenses.

Not only that, it can cause severe reputational damage, and you may lose the trust of your customers.

How to Make Your Joomla Site GDPR Compliant

Now that you are well aware of what GDPR is, it is crucial to ensure your Joomla site is GDPR ready.

Here is a checklist to make sure your Joomla site complies with the GDPR.

Use GDPR compliant template, extensions, plugins:  The template and extensions you choose to build your Joomla site can streamline the alignment with GDPR requirements. Since they create the interface that visitors use to interact with your site, it needs to have proper elements available to let users consent to third-party cookies.

While choosing your Joomla template or extensions, go for reliable providers that strive to make their products GDPR compliant.

But it is also worth mentioning that while GDPR compliant templates and extensions can make the process easier, it’s your responsibility to actively work on it. Since you’re in charge of the data processing strategy, activities, and processes.

Obtain clear consent to use cookies (Cookie notification): One of the most common ways for personal data to be collected and shared online is through website cookies. GDPR requires a website to only collect personal data from users after they have given their explicit consent to the specific purposes of its use. This means users have to actively opt-in and accept cookies.

In short, if your Joomla website uses cookies you must:

  • Inform your users that your site/app (or any third-party service used by your site/app) uses cookies
  • Explain, clearly and comprehensively, how cookies work and what you use them for
  • Obtain informed consent before storing those cookies on the user’s device

The good news is there are plenty of reliable extensions available in the Joomla extensions directory to manage cookies and resources on your Joomla site. One of them is SP Cookie Consent which lets you display a cookie or other legal notice on your Joomla website and inform the visitors that your site uses cookies.

You can also test if your Joomla site complies with the GDPR cookie consent HERE.

Update your privacy policy: GDPR does not call for a complete rewrite of your privacy policy. All you have to do is just adjust and update your current privacy policies to be made more specific to meet the GDPR standard.

Here’s a rundown of some of the changes you need to make to make your privacy policy GDPR compliant.

  • An easy to read privacy policies
  • Third-party disclosure that you share data with
  • State how you collect and store the data
  • State what you do with the data
  • Give users the right to access their own data
  • Give users the right to remove data

Website forms & Newsletter signup: Your Joomla site likely has newsletter signup, inquiry/contact form, registration form, or forms of some kind to collect user data. GDPR requires you to have informed consent of the users before you collect data through these forms.

While working with forms, keep in mind the following:

  • Avoid storing data if you can
  • Encrypt the data if you have to store
  • For newsletter signups, make sure the email provider is GDPR compliant too
  • You have no pre-ticked boxes on the forms

SSL certificate: GDPR does not specifically say your website needs to have an SSL certificate to be GDPR compliant. But if your site collects and processes user data, you need to have an SSL-protected site to protect and secure the user data.

Regardless of GDPR, having an SSL certificate is the best practice. It gives your site heightened security, helps you rank in the search engine, and more. Read our article on how to enable SSL on your Joomla site to fully protect your site.

Make sure third-parties are GDPR compliant: Your payment gateways, chat providers, or any other third party you share data with have to be GDPR compliant too. As you become jointly responsible for the data you share and you could be held accountable for their lack of compliance if they fall short.

You are highly encouraged to approach each of the third parties you use and ask for a copy of the contract or agreement between you.

Wrapping Up

At JoomShaper, we ensure data protection and security are at the heart of everything we produce. Our templates, extensions, and plugins are developed and updated with GDPR in mind. But templates and frameworks alone can not make your Joomla site one hundred percent GDPR compliant.

As a website owner, it’s your responsibility to consult with legal professionals to understand the full scope of their compliance obligations under GDPR. And take the necessary steps as mentioned to make your Joomla site GDPR-compliant.

Did we miss anything? Let us know your thoughtful feedback or suggestions in the comments. Good day!

Posted by Contributor