What are the Penalties for GDPR Violations?

GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation is a set of data protection laws passed by the European Union. They are enforced upon any company utilizing or handling data coming from EU consumers, regardless of where the company is based. 

Failure to comply results in harsh penalties and fines. These penalties are some of the steepest to come from the European Union in years, but becoming GDPR compliant doesn’t have to be difficult and shouldn’t drastically alter your business. 

What is a GDPR Fine? And How do I stay compliant?

The law was written to provide more transparency in data processing, but also so users had more control over their data. Fines exist to greatly discourage firms large and small from being non-compliant. 

The EU intended the law to apply to all types of businesses, from corporations to small businesses. The fines are issued in scale to the firm, despite the size, however these penalties are stiff, so all firms will want to avoid noncompliance fines. 

Whenever a company fails to follow the process for data data processing outlined in the law, a fine is administered. The penalties themselves are separated into two categories with different imposed amounts. There are severe and less severe infractions. 

The less severe impose the smallest fine, which is around 2 percent of your company’s total revenue. The more severe violations impose larger amounts. These infractions are considered clear abuses of data privacy and go against the core of the law. They impose a 4 percent fine on your company’s total profits. Marriott was famously fined $123 million in 2019 for their failure to comply with GDPR due to their 2018 data breach.

To determine if an infraction is more severe or less, a representative from the EU uses the following criteria. From these they will determine the level of a possible infraction.

  1. Gravity and Nature
  2. Intention
  3. Mitigation
  4. Precautionary measures
  5. History
  6. Cooperation
  7. Data Category
  8. Notification
  9. Certification 
  10. Aggravating/mitigating factors

Despite the potential for a hefty fine, avoiding them is relatively easy, as is remaining GDPR compliant. To achieve GDPR compliance, you need to ensure you are following seven important concepts as you collect data. 

    1. Obtain Consent. You must write your data terms of consent clearly. Avoid using complex language, and consent must be easily given and freely withdrawn at a moment’s notice. 
    2. Timely Breach Notification. This one is crucial, and often the hardest, because it requires admitting your company made a mistake. You have 72 hours to report a data breach to customers and any controllers. 


  • Right to Data Access. Users must have access to their data profiles if they requested it. Your responsibility is to furnish a detailed electronic copy of the data your company has collected on them. 
  • Right to be Forgotten. Otherwise known as the right to be deleted. Your customers have the right to request you delete their personal data at any time. 
  • Data Portability. Your customer has rights to their own data. They are allowed to obtain their data from you, and reuse it in any different environment of their choosing outside your company. 
  • Privacy by Design. This section requires your company to create the proper security protocols from the start of data collection. Failure to implement them from the start will result in a fine. 
  • Potential Data Protection Officers. For larger companies, you’ll need a data protection officer (DPO). You can determine whether you need one by examining at what level you currently process and collect data. 



You can remain GDPR compliant and avoid fines by following the concepts above. Understanding them and integrating them into your company’s data collection processes is crucial for avoiding any hefty fines or liability. Additionally, you can converse with data protection experts who can update you on policy changes and ensure you remain compliant. 

Find a partner you trust. 

Partnering with an expert that can keep you compliant while also still maximizing your data processing standards is a must for modern businesses. Following GDPR guidelines is crucial to avoiding massive fines and legal penalties and highly important to maintaining your internal focus on the day-to-day operations of your business.

At iCaaS, we prioritise getting your company GDPR compliant as quickly as possible without sacrifice the commercial growth data offers your company. iCaaS will manage every part of data protection compliance for you. From generating key documentation and policies to managing data breaches and subject access requests.


Our software takes the burden of GDPR compliance off of you. Our talented experts streamline your data collection processes, ensuring they remain compliant without forgoing efficiency. Contact us today and get GDPR compliant in as little as 48 hours.

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