What security obligations are imposed on data controllers and data processors?
Security requirements may not always be included in the data protection law, but are key to guaranteeing lawful processing of personal data. The entity processing the data must take all useful precautions with respect to the nature of the data and the risk presented by the processing, to preserve the security of the data and prevent alteration, corruption or access by unauthorized third parties. Appropriate technical and organizational measures should be implemented to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk.
Employers in Belgium should follow the general security standards listed in Article 32 of the General Data Protection Regulation. When protecting employee and applicant data, consider the sensitivity of the information, the technology available, the expense of protecting the data and the risk to individuals if the data is compromised. Then take organizational and technological measures, including:
- measures to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of information processing systems;
- measures to restore the system and access in case of an incident (such as a power outage); and,
- processes to regularly test and assess the system to ensure continued security.
Belgium’s Law on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data (July 2018) set a few additional process and contractual requirements relating to genetic, biometric or health data, including:
- designating the categories of individuals who can have access to the personal health/biometric/genetic data and clearly defining their roles in terms of processing that data;
- retaining a list of the categories of persons (and making the list available to the relevant supervisory authority if requested);
- ensuring the individuals who are processing that data are legally or contractually bound to retain the confidentiality of that data.
HR Best Practices: Ensure contracts with service providers detail the security and confidentiality measures that will be implemented. In addition, regularly train employees who may have access to personal information, to ensure that they are following all technical and organizational security measures that have been put in place.