Getting Ready for the GDPR

What is the GDPR?

GDPR takes effect May 25, 2018

Has your inbox been inundated with subject lines that read “We’re Updating our Privacy Policy/Terms & Conditions” lately? Dollars to donuts it is because a new regulation taking effect on May 25, 2018 has everyone getting their ducks in a row. That law is the GDPR and it’s a big deal, so I figured I would share some insight. Of course, this post comes with a disclaimer that I am *NOT* a lawyer, so if you have particular questions relating to your business, I would highly recommend enlisting the help of a legal professional. This post is merely meant to provide some backstory and make you aware of the new regulation, but is not intended to be legal advice.

Phew. Ok, now that we got that out of the way…

So, what IS the GDPR?

It is the General Data Protection Regulation whose purpose is to protect personal data collected by businesses and organizations. Because personal data protection laws vary by country, the European Union decided to get all their member countries on the same page and thus, the GDPR was born. It should be noted that the law will also have merit with non-member countries, such as members of the European Economic Area (EEA)…the UK, for example.

The GDPR is intended to provide the foundation for the methods by which organizations around the world must protect personally-identifiable information of those living in the EU. The law also imposes limitations on what data can be used and how it is processed by a company.

But if this is an European law, why should I care?

Here’s the thing about the web: it doesn’t have borders. Citizens of the EU may very well visit your website, sign up for your newsletters or even purchase your products through your online store. And then you’re on the hook for making sure their personal data is secure. Don’t want to bother with compliance? You could face fines of up to 24 million dollars. Yowsers.

OK, you’ve got my attention. What do I need to know?

Protection is the name of the game. Protect the individual’s personal data. What counts as personal data you ask? Good question. Personal data is any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual— any info that could be used either on its own or in conjunction with other data, to identify someone. In this day and age, that goes beyond the obvious social security numbers, names, addresses, email addresses, etc. and extends to data like IP addresses, behavioral data, location data, biometric data, financial information, and then some. For this reason, Google (as an example) sent out an email to clients using Google Analytics, informing them that they have new GDPR guidelines in place to keep in compliance with the new law.

Individuals will also have a broader scope of rights under the new regulation. Individuals have the right to be forgotten, meaning they can request that a company erases their personal data; the right to object which says an individual can prohibit certain data uses; the right to rectification allows individuals to request that incomplete data be completed or that incorrect data be corrected; the right of access gives individuals the right to know what personal data is being used and how it is processed; the right of portability states that individuals may request that their personal data held by one organization be transported to another.

The GDPR also stipulates clear consent. Think of this as an opt-in, instead of opt-out, approach. As an example, you aren’t supposed to add someone to your mailing list just because they made a purchase within your store, unless you specifically state that they will be added to the aforementioned list by making a purchase. Good practice would be to have them check a box, giving consent to be on the mailing list, prior to clicking that purchase button. All opt-in notices have to be clear and in language most everyone can understand, i.e., no “legalese” please.

Additionally, organizations and companies must disclose data breaches within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach. It starts to get a bit murky here, with some jargon about data controllers and processors. Essentially, a controller is the entity (in many cases you, as the business or organization) who dictates how and why personal data is processed. A data processor is a company who collects the data. In some cases, they may be one and the same, but in some instances, they are separate. For example, say you use an email marketing platform and collect email addresses in a database on their servers. You both must be GDPR compliant. Data controllers will be liable for the actions of their selected data processors. This is why Google sent out that email to its users. They are the processor and you are the controller.

Wow. I need a glass of wine.

I know, it’s a lot to process. But the good news is that many of these companies (or data processors, if you will) with whom you work have GDPR compliance either already in place or in the works. You may not even need to do anything different, but like the after-school specials of my youth taught me, “the more you know…”

Can you help me make sure I’m compliant?

While I would definitely recommend consulting with a legal professional if you have concerns about compliance, I do have some tips and recommendations that you can use to get started.

One of the leading reasons that websites get hacked or experience some sort of security breach is due to outdated code. Make sure you:

  • Update your plugins
  • Update your themes
  • Delete any unused plugins or themes
  • Update WordPress or your CMS to its current version

Not sure if you need to update or how to do it? Shoot me an email and let’s take a look.

I’m happy to help get your site up to date, optimized, backed up and secure.

Phew.

I hope I didn’t overwhelm, but I think it’s all important info with which to be familiar. Again, for the record, none of this is meant to serve as legal advice. I’m merely shedding some light on a topic that may or may not pertain to you. If you need more info, please seek out someone who has at least attempted to pass the Bar Exam (though preferably passed it. Neither of which apply to me. I’ll happily keep my nose buried in code instead of legal precedent.)


#ThrowbackThursday

In honor of this social “holiday” known as #ThrowbackThursday, I have gone through the blog archives (can you believe that in September of this year, I will have had this blog for ten years?!?) for a look at where I was at roughly the same time during years’ past. So much has changed (namely, my hair) but some has stayed the same, as it does. Join me on this fun journey back in time, DeLorean not required.

  • 2009: Baseball season at Tulane. A large part of 2009 and the reason I moved to New Orleans.
  • 2010: Moving back to CA, to be closer to family and take a job at the winery where I would meet my future husband. Good thing I packed up and headed west!
  • 2011: Family functions and my brothers’ games were some of the things I missed most when I was gone.

  • 2012: This is just comedy gold.
  • 2013: We were living in France and I had just gotten my business off the ground. It was still a low hover at that point, but there was progress and that was something.
  • 2014: Italy and discovering our new European town that was our home for the duration on 2014. A city that was good to us.

Putting Pen to Paper

Though I haven’t had a chance to work on much lately, I used to be an avid scrapbooker and I still have all the supplies to prove it. I first started in middle school and a big part of my layouts was the journaling. My OCD tendencies made it such that each event (because an event could be made up of multiple layouts, obviously) had to have a journaling entry and during this time, my handwriting and lettering techniques were on point.

Fast forward to somewhere around 10 years ago (probably about the same time I began relying on a computer and didn’t have to write with a pen as much anymore) and the journaling was sparse and the fancy lettering I did for page titles went by the wayside.

“Handwriting is a spiritual designing, even though it appears by means of a material instrument.”
― Euclid

So when the opportunity to take a handwriting and lettering class at a local art studio came up, I was all about it. And that’s how I spent my Saturday afternoon— practicing the “thin up, thick down” technique and trying to get my lettering groove back with a brush pen as well as with pen & ink. And you know what? It’s hard. I see all those pretty Instagram signs that people have hand-lettered and I swear, those must have taken hours. I took me about 20 minutes to write my name and it still wasn’t how I would have liked. I’m used to scribbling things down quickly— the grocery list, a to-do list, a reminder. Taking the time to really focus on the letters is half the battle. I need to remember that I can’t just grab a pen, flick it around and expect pretty letters with some fancy flourishes.

So I’ll keep practicing.

It was an incredibly fun afternoon dedicated to doodling and penmanship, which are some of those things that really do need practice in order to stay sharp (muscle memory, people!), but usually get pushed down the to-do list.

With the start of 2018, I am hoping to dedicate more time to handwriting and such. It’s even one of my resolutions for the year and I got a ‘One Line a Day’ five-year journal to help me along, but as someone who has always loved office supplies and colored pens/pencils, I’m excited to crack open my sketch book again and doodle away in the name of practice!

Wish me luck!


Website Launch | Sonoma Harvest

I can totally get on board with this whole “new year, new website launch” thing!

Back in October of 2016, when I was very pregnant, I was introduced to Allison and her team at Sonoma Harvest. At the time, we were just meeting, getting an idea of their upcoming marketing plans and checking out their newly-designed tasting room and facility. A new website was definitely in the works, but not quite right at that moment, which was actually ideal, on account of that whole ‘having a baby’ thing I had going on.

But after I met Allison and saw (and tasted!) the products, I knew I wanted to be involved with their new website. Luckily, Allison felt the same way, so when the time came for a new website, she sent me a note and we hit the ground running!

Creating a website that matched the Sonoma Harvest vibe was step one. I designed and developed the custom WordPress website with a fun blog for recipes and news before I turned my attention to the online shop. Their ecommerce website was then coded to match the new design of the core website, within the parameters of VinSuite’s winery-focused CMS, which allows them to easily manage their orders and club shipments.

One of the main things that Allison wanted was a clean site with really rich images, so that was at the center of my design and I’m super pumped to share it with you. I’m also excited because this website launch includes the website for the other arm of Allison’s family business, The Olive Oil Factory. The Olive Oil Factory uses roughly the same architecture, look and feel, but with a few modifications that make it unique and give it its own identity— the perfect solution for a company balancing two brands!

I am also pleased to report that plenty of “research” was conducted and I highly recommend their D’Anjou Pear White Balsamic Vinegar. Yum.

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View Site

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View Site


Website Launch | NorCal KTM Bikes

As the curtain closed on 2017, I spent some time working with Bill & Matt over at NorCal KTM Bikes to get their new website launched. This was a fun project, in particular because I know working with these guys is easy and always a pleasure, and the website they needed gave me a chance to rock some custom coding, which we all know I love doing. (Puzzles! Give me all the puzzles!)

I’m always stoked to create and code a website, but especially when it revolves around an industry that’s new to me. I usually get a chance to flex some design & development muscles, while learning about something new. In this case, I learned about KTM’s line of bicycles. Usually known for motorcycles, their bikes are top of the line and a must-have for cycling enthusiasts who appreciate the smallest design and engineering details. The learning is an unexpected benefit of my job and one that I find fascinating, because really, to create a website that is in line with the brand, I need to understand not only the individual client’s business, but also the industry. Inevitably, I get acquainted with trades, fields and topics to which I wouldn’t otherwise be privy.

The best part about this website, though, was the imagery we had available to us. Man. Good-looking images can really make a design pop. Take a look at the site (and some of their awesome images) here:norcal-ktm-bikes_clcreative-site



Website Launch | Saucin’ Sauces

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of working with the #SAUCIN Sauces family and helping them create a website for their barbecue sauce company. Since they had their packaging already nailed down, we knew we needed something to keep the brand cohesive and they really liked the idea of a chalkboard-style/vibe. They also needed an online marketplace, so we got their e-commerce shop up and running, allowing all of their fans across the country to get their hands on some #SAUCIN! (They have a huge Instagram following and everyone wanted to get some of their sauce!) We also incorporated a calendar to post all of the events where you can find them doing demos, as well as a blog featuring many of the recipes in rotation in their own household.

The end result was a fun website, reflective of the product and the family behind it! I was also super happy with how the homepage came out, since one of the things that makes #SAUCIN unique is the ingredient list— they have somehow managed to get awesome flavor and a healthier option into one awesome BBQ sauce.

I really love what I do and that’s even more true when I can help a family-owned business get online.

Check them out!

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Prioritizing

I think motherhood is (among other things) one giant lesson in prioritizing.

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We are staring down the barrel of fall and I have no idea what happened to spring and summer.

Most of the past few months have been spent figuring out how to balance motherhood and work; just for funsies, we threw in buying a house and Dave changed jobs.

Phew.

The blog got knocked down a few slots on the ol’ priority list, but I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of things (cue The Boy switching up the routine…now).

I’m hoping to get back on track with this poor blog, because some of the other great things that happened this summer include many website launches and new projects hitting the interwebs, along with family milestones and thoughts on life in general that are worth preserving. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get around to posting the four blog posts that have been sitting in the drafts folder since as early as February. But probably not until we hang stuff on the walls of the house we’ve been in for a few months now.

Sigh.

Onward!