What Does The GDPR Data Breach Notification Entail?

GDPR Notification

Do you want your organization to be GDPR compliant, but, are unaware of it in detail? Or, do you want to know further about the data breach notification in GDPR? If Yes, then this blog is for you. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is major and essential in the EU and one key aspect of GDPR is notification in the event of a data breach. In this blog, we will discuss about GDPR notification, what it entails, and what to do if you receive a notification about a data breach. We will also discuss the fines and penalties for failing to comply with GDPR notification requirements.

What Is GDPR?

What Is GDPR?Before we talk about data breach notification, let’s have a brief intro to GDPR. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union law that came into effect in May 2018. It sets out strict rules for how organizations collect, process, and store personal data of EU citizens.

The law aims to protect the privacy rights of individuals by giving them greater control over their data. Organizations must obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting their data, and they must also notify them of any data breaches. Failure to comply with GDPR can result in significant fines.

What Happens During A Data Breach In GDPR?

Under GDPR, a data breach is considered a serious incident that requires immediate action. When a data breach occurs, the organization must notify the supervisory authority (i.e., the relevant data protection authority) within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach. If the breach is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, the organization must also inform the affected individuals without undue delay.

What Does The GDPR Notification Describe?

When a data breach occurs, GDPR requires organizations to notify the relevant supervisory authority and affected individuals without undue delay. The notification must contain specific information, including:

1. Description of the nature of the breach

1. Description of the nature of the breachThis refers to providing detailed information about the breach itself. This includes the type of breach that occurred (e.g. hacking, accidental disclosure, stolen laptop), the date and time when the breach occurred, and how the breach was detected. The notification should also include a description of the data that was affected, such as the type of personal data (e.g. name, address, email address, credit card number), the number of records that were compromised, and any special characteristics of the data (e.g. sensitive personal data, financial data, health data).

2. Contact details of the DPO

The notification should include the name and contact details of the data protection officer (DPO) or other relevant contact person who can provide additional information or answer questions related to the breach.

3. Potential Consequences

The notification should describe the potential consequences of the breach, both for the affected individuals and for the organization. This might include the risk of identity theft, fraud, or other financial loss, as well as the potential damage to the organization’s reputation or business operations.

4. Measures to address the breach

The notification should outline the steps that the organization has taken to mitigate the damage caused by the breach and prevent future incidents. This might include measures such as stopping unauthorized access, restoring any lost data, implementing additional security measures, and notifying law enforcement or other relevant authorities.

5. Recommendations for affected individuals

The notification should guide affected individuals on what they can do to protect themselves in light of the breach. This might include recommendations to change passwords, monitor bank and credit card statements, freeze credit reports, or take other steps to prevent identity theft or fraud.

6. Relevant deadlines

The notification should specify any relevant deadlines for action that needs to be taken. For example, affected individuals may need to file a complaint or request compensation within a certain timeframe, or the organization may need to respond to a data protection authority’s inquiry within a specified period.

Penalties For Not Responding To GDPR Notification

Penalties For Not Responding To GDPR NotificationUnder GDPR, failure to respond to a data breach notification can result in fines and penalties for the organization. The severity of the penalty depends on the nature and scope of the breach, as well as the actions taken (or not taken) by the organization.

Here are some of the potential fines and penalties for not responding to a GDPR notification:

  • Financial penalties: Organizations that fail to report a data breach can be fined up to 2% or 4% of their annual global revenue, depending on the severity of the breach. This can amount to millions of euros for large companies.
  • Reputational damage: Failing to respond to a data breach can have serious reputational consequences for the organization. Consumers are increasingly aware of data privacy and security concerns, and a failure to respond to a data breach can erode trust and damage the organization’s brand.
  • Legal action: Failure to respond to a data breach notification can also result in legal action by affected individuals, data protection authorities, or other parties. This can lead to additional fines, penalties, or legal costs for the organization.
  • Increased scrutiny: Organizations that fail to respond to a data breach notification may also be subject to increased scrutiny from data protection authorities and other regulatory bodies. This can lead to additional investigations, audits, or enforcement actions, which can be time-consuming and costly for the organization.

In short, failure to respond to a GDPR notification can have serious consequences for organizations, both financially and reputationally. It’s important for organizations to take data privacy and security seriously and to respond quickly and appropriately in the event of a data breach.

Exceptions For GDPR Data Breach Notification

Exceptions For GDPR Data Breach NotificationUnder GDPR, there are a few exceptions where organizations don’t need to notify individuals or supervisory authorities in the event of a data breach. These exceptions include:

  • Unlikely risk: If the data breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, then notification may not be necessary. For example, if the breached data is encrypted or otherwise protected, and there is no evidence that the encryption has been compromised, then there may be no need to notify individuals or authorities.
  • Technical and organizational measures: If the organization has implemented appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect the breached data, and those measures have been successful in preventing the breach from causing harm, then notification may not be necessary. However, the burden of proof is on the organization to demonstrate that such measures were in place and effective.
  • Disproportionate effort: If the notification would require disproportionate effort, then it may be not essential for the organization to notify individuals. This implies to cases such as if a large number of individuals are affected and the cost of notification would be excessive. However, in such cases, the organization must still notify the supervisory authority.

It’s important to note that these exceptions are narrow, and organizations should err on the side of caution when determining whether to notify individuals or authorities in the event of a data breach. In general, GDPR emphasizes transparency and accountability in data protection, and organizations should take all necessary steps to ensure that affected individuals are notified promptly and appropriately in the event of a data breach.

What To Do If You Receive GDPR Notification?

What To Do If You Receive GDPR Notification?If you receive a GDPR notification, follow the below steps to protect yourself and your data:

  • Read the notification carefully: The notification should include information about the breach and any steps that the organization is taking to address it. Read the notification carefully to understand the scope and severity of the breach.
  • Change your passwords: If the breached data includes login credentials, change your passwords immediately. Use strong, unique passwords for each account, and consider using a password manager to help you keep track of your passwords.
  • Monitor your accounts: Keep an eye on your bank accounts, credit card accounts, and other financial accounts for any unauthorized activity. Report any suspicious activity to your financial institution immediately.
  • Be wary of phishing scams: Scammers may try to take advantage of the data breach to trick you into revealing additional personal information. Be cautious of emails or phone calls that ask for your personal information, and don’t click on any links or attachments unless you’re certain they’re legitimate.
  • Consider freezing your credit: If you’re concerned about identity theft, consider placing a freeze on your credit. This will prevent anyone from opening new accounts or lines of credit in your name without your permission.
  • Contact the organization: If you have any questions or concerns about the data breach, contact the organization that sent the notification. They may be able to provide you with additional information and guidance on how to protect yourself.


In conclusion, GDPR notification is an important aspect of data protection under the GDPR. It ensures that individuals are informed when their data has been compromised in a data breach. If you receive a GDPR notification, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your data, including changing passwords and monitoring your accounts. Don’t hesitate to seek help from the organization that sent the notification or a legal expert with GDPR expertise.

If you are looking to implement any of the Infosec compliance frameworks such as SOC 2 complianceHIPAAISO 27001, and GDPR compliance, Impanix can help. Book a Free consultation call with our experts or email us at  [email protected] for inquiries.