A Comprehensive Guide to CCPA Compliance

Meeba Gracy

Meeba Gracy

Oct 04, 2023

CCPA compliance

Back in 2018, the Californian Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) came into effect, and it was a turning point for more than half a million companies operating in the US. 

However, consumers benefited the most here as CCPA set out to give users (especially Californian consumers) immense control over how their personal information was handled. 

The CCPA’s primary focus is bringing transparency to California’s data-driven economic activities and educating consumers about their data rights.

Why comply with CCPA regulations specifically? And how do you know if CCPA applies to your business?

That’s what this article is about.

Let’s dive in…

What is CCPA Compliance?

CCPA is an important legislation that helps consumers with rights regarding how their personal data is collected, used, and sold. Importantly, it prohibits businesses from treating consumers unfairly or discriminating for exercising these rights.

CCPA compliance

But before diving into the CCPA regulations, understanding what constitutes personal data is paramount. The CCPA defines personal information as any data that can be indirectly or directly linked to a specific individual or household.

So what does personal info mean in this context? Personal information includes attributes like names, Social Security numbers, email addresses, and device identifiers such as IP addresses.

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Who needs to comply with CCPA compliance?

CCPA applies to businesses that collect personal information from California residents and meet certain prerequisites. There are 3 main criteria that determine the applicability of CCPA to a business. They are revenue threshold, data collection threshold, and business type.

Revenue & Data Collection Threshold

Businesses come under the purview of CCPA if they meet one or more of these revenue thresholds:

  • If their annual gross revenue is $25 million or more.
  • If they buy, sell, or receive Personal Information of 50,000 or more California residents or devices annually.
  • If they Generate 50% or more of their annual revenue from selling the PI of California residents.

If your business satisfies any of these criteria, you must comply with CCPA regulations and consumer privacy rights, regardless of your geographical location (within or outside California).

For example, let’s say you sell a Content Management System, selling various products to customers across the United States, including California residents. Your business collects information like names, addresses, and purchase histories. 

Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Revenue: Check if your annual gross revenue exceeds $25 million. In this case, let’s say your business brings in $30 million a year. You fit the first criteria here.
  • Data Collection: Examine whether you collect data from at least 50,000 California residents, households, or devices annually. Let’s assume you meet this threshold if your online store serves thousands of California consumers. You fit the second criteria as well
  • Business Type: Your business is for-profit and operates online, making it a commercial entity. You fall into the category of businesses that need to comply with CCPA.

Given that your online business entity satisfies all 3 criteria, CCPA applies to you. 

Also check out: 5 Best CCPA Compliance Tools


What are the CCPA compliance requirements?

The CCPA lays out specific requirements for businesses to follow to ensure that consumers’ rights regarding their personal data like postal address, email address, and other information that can be used for identification are safeguarded. 

Here are the requirements you need to know to continue your business’s journey to become CCPA compliant:

CCPA compliance requirements

Check if your business fits the CCPA criteria

To figure out if you need to worry about CCPA compliance, first, check if your business fits the CCPA criteria. If your company operates for profit, does business in California, and meets at least one of these conditions: 

  • It makes more than $25 million in annual gross revenues, 
  • Deals with the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices, 
  • Or gets over 50% of its yearly income from selling people’s personal information, 

Then, the CCPA applies to you. It’s important to nail down whether these factors apply to your business before starting the compliance process.

Take a closer look at your data sources

Next, figure out where your data originates from. Is it from consumers? Is it from the third-party vendors? Or is it from IoT devices or website cookies?

Once you recognize the origin story, understand its purpose, why you’re gathering each data type, and how you plan to use it. This step is critical to ensure that you don’t use data in ways the consumer doesn’t know about.

Pinpoint the personal information you gather

Start by identifying the personal information you are gathering on your consumers. The CCPA casts a wide net here, so be thorough and 100% sure. The data includes various categories spanning from names, email addresses, browsing history, and even geolocation data. 

Hence, one of the best practices to be CCPA compliant is to document all consumer data your business collects and shares.

Be transparent about how you collect data

When you gather sensitive personal information, the CCPA mandates that you provide clear notice. This notice should state what data you’re collecting and what you’re collecting.

Also, keep your privacy policies up to date. Make sure they accurately reflect your current data practices and spell out the right consumers under CCPA. Don’t forget to update these policies regularly to comply with data regulations.

Follow the consumer rights

The CCPA mandates that the following consumer requirements be addressed. Here is the list of requirements:

Right to disclosure

When collecting a consumer’s data under CCPA protection, you must inform them of your intentions before or at the point of data collection. Simply put, you need to get your Californian consumer’s consent.

Right to access

Consumers have the right to request access to their data in an easily usable format, and this data should be provided free of charge within 45 days of the request. They should also have clear access to your full privacy policy.

Right to contact information

You must tell consumers where they can find more details about your privacy policy and CCPA compliance. Also, provide a toll-free phone number and online contact information for CCPA-related inquiries.

Right to be forgotten

If a consumer asks for their data to be deleted from their records, the CCPA mandates compliance. There are only limited exceptions when data deletion requests can be overridden. However, these circumstances are rare and often involve government intervention.

Opt-out of data sales and marketing

If you sell personal information, give consumers a chance to opt-out. Maintain a webpage with a clear opt-out option and a link to your privacy policy. They should also be able to decline data usage for future marketing efforts.

Right to fair treatment

You cannot discriminate against users based on their CCPA rights. Provide the same access and service to all consumers, regardless of their choices.

Automate Your Compliance Journey with the Help of Sprinto. Talk to Our Experts Now

Periodic privacy policy updates

Update your privacy policy every 12 months. This keeps customers informed if you change your data handling practices.

How to become CCPA compliant?

The CCPA brings about significant changes for your business and how you handle consumer data. While you can still collect and use personal data, there’s now a need for open transparency and responsiveness to consumer requests. 

Here are the 8 steps to become CCPA compliant:

Appoint a Data Privacy and Security Leader

Taking inspiration from GDPR, assign a dedicated individual or team who will be the point of contact for safeguarding data privacy from unauthorized access. This role can be filled by someone holding titles like Chief Privacy Officer, Data Privacy Officer, or Chief Data Officer who can take enforcement action. 

Create a repository for third-party data and review it

Building an auditable data inventory and third-party processors is the next important step. It is a data roadmap that charts the flow of information through the different departments in your business.

Suppose your company has previously conducted this exercise for data belonging to EU residents (as required by GDPR). In that case, you’re likely in a good position to identify the location of your California data.

If your business collaborates with other companies to handle consumer data, reviewing and revising these contracts for CCPA compliance is vital.

You can do this step easily with the help of Sprinto dashboard. Sprinto’s experienced CCPA compliance experts simplify this process and help you incorporate standard legal language into your agreements.

Ensure your contracts address CCPA compliance, including:

  • Data processing: Specify how third parties handle consumer data.
  • Data rights requests: Outline their role in data rights requests and collaboration with your business.

Even if you have yet to conduct a global inventory, the existing data inventory can provide some insights into the potential locations of California-based data.

Revise your privacy policy and notices

Now that your dream team is set, it is time to revisit your existing privacy policy and amend it to prevent non-compliance instances that cause actual damages. Conduct a CCPA gap assessment to identify areas that need updating. Your revised policy should cover the rights granted by the CCPA and outline how you will handle/process these rights in different situations. 

Also, ensure that the privacy notice you provide to consumers at the data collection point is up to date and offers info about data usage and its impact.

Establish data rights protocols

Make the new consumer data rights a focal point of your efforts. This means developing processes and protocols to handle consumer requests effectively.

 For example, suppose a consumer invokes their Right to Be Forgotten. In that case, your IT team should be well-prepared, knowing precisely where the data is stored and having a streamlined process to delete it while notifying the consumer in compliance with CCPA standards. 

Having these protocols in place ensures that the process is efficient and fully aligned with CCPA requirements when consumer exercises their rights.

Conduct risk assessment

Now comes a crucial step, and this is where you, as a service provider, might consider using a compliance automation platform to ease the burden of manual tasks. You need to conduct a risk assessment for the data flows you’ve identified in your inventory and evaluate your data practices against legal standards. 

This is because many companies are unaware of their data’s ownership, scope, and location. Hence, having a clear understanding of your data makes it much easier to gauge its impact in the context of CCPA.

Sprinto’s platform is tailor-made to address a wide range of risk assessment needs, both standard and complex. It does everything from mapping controls to monitoring and reporting them. Traditionally, risk assessment is usually done through a Risk assessment custom check spreadsheet, and this can be exhausting. 

Imagine every department of your business coming up with a spreadsheet of their own. However, unifying them, mapping those data sets correctly, and then identifying their associated risks takes time and effort.  Sprinto’s approach introduces a new system check via a Risk Profile, which contains predefined risks (templates) often used in compliance assessments. It simplifies the assessment process.

Implement risk mitigation

Once you’ve identified risks from the assessment, it’s time to take action to mitigate them. This involves implementing governance measures, technical controls, policies, and procedures. Also, vendor management should have a place here to mitigate illegal activity and security incidents.

Consider using data masking techniques for non-production environments (like development, testing, and reporting), which may contain up to 90 percent of the data subject to CCPA.

This conceals sensitive information irreversibly, rendering it de-identified and no longer classified as personal information under CCPA or GDPR security requirements.

Strengthen Your Cybersecurity Stack

Under the CCPA, you must protect personal data by “reasonable” security measures. To translate this into practical action, take a risk-based approach to cybersecurity.

  • Risk assessment: We already did this in the 4th step. However, now you must identify the data most at risk and prioritize your security efforts accordingly.
  • Enhance security: Allocate resources to strengthen systems and technology with the highest risk. This may involve investing in security and privacy platforms tailored to protect high-risk data.

While upgrading security measures for sensitive data may come with a cost. However, it’s also crucial to consider the potential consequences of a data breach. Fines and penalties resulting from lax security can far surpass the expense of implementing strong cybersecurity measures.

Regularly train your employees on internal privacy

To meet CCPA requirements, you must provide training to all individuals responsible for handling consumer data, especially those involved in processing data rights requests.

While the CCPA doesn’t prescribe a specific training method, common approaches include on-site classes, virtual training sessions, or standardized courses with testing. However, Sprinto provides all your employees the basic data protection know-how.

Although the CCPA doesn’t specify training frequency, conducting refresher training at least annually is advisable.

6 best practices for being CCPA compliant

Safeguarding consumer data privacy should always be your first property if you don’t want to face the noncompliance repercussions. This is why you must follow the industry’s best standards to keep up with regulations. Some of the best practices include:

Analyze your CCPA’s scope

To get to know the extent of the CCPA compliance, conduct a data audit. This means you must figure out what information your company is collecting, how it is used, and where you store and share it.

Understanding this data flow is the first step, then creating a data flow map to perform data mapping. It helps you trace where the data originates and how it travels outside your organization.

Employee training

Under CCPA requirements, you have to provide specific training to your employees so that they deal with different aspects of consumer data. The training cookies to anyone handling privacy practices within the company and those responsible for CCPA compliance.

Here are 3 ways you can choose to train your employees:

  • You can opt for training materials available through reputable sources like the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) 
  • Leverage training resources provided by compliance automation platforms like Sprinto 
  • Develop customized training materials tailored specifically to your company’s needs 

Maximize efficiency by minimizing data

In compliance with data privacy laws, reducing the data you collect, use, store, and transmit is crucial. Data minimization aligns with regulatory requirements and lowers your liability in safeguarding personal information.

How can you achieve more with less data?

It begins with data mapping, enabling you to discern what’s essential. Through data mapping, you can pinpoint instances where less personal information suffices. Consider these data minimization strategies:

  • When certain personal information isn’t necessary for providing a function
  • When personal information is no longer required
  • When personal information is essential only for a subset of the population
  • When personal information is needed for specific subsets of the population

Simplify CCPA compliance with automation

Compliance automation platform use top tech to replace 90% of manual processes. Usually, it is powered by AI, simplifies your compliance procedure, and removes a lot of headaches. Also, it helps you streamline tasks like risk assessment, workflows, and planning for corrective actions.

So, if you want to automate your CCPA compliance, Sprinto is your best bet.

Why? Because Sprinto meets both basic and intricate compliance requirements. It covers everything you need, from control mapping to a wide spectrum of regulatory needs.

Moroever, our integrations-first approach features automation and intelligent workflows that will streamline your CCPA compliance management without overwhelming your team.

Here’s why Sprinto as an automation tool stands out:

  • Clear progress tracking: Stay updated with live status reports, control health, and task statuses, and encourage your task owners to take swift action.
  • Automation priority: Timely alerts and smart workflows keep your company moving forward while ensuring continuous compliance and everyday operations.
  • Tailored programs: Customize compliance programs to include unique controls, and various check levels and address specific scenarios.
  • Scalability: Easily activate new frameworks, implement missing controls, reuse evidence, and initiate compliance monitoring with minimal effort.
  • Detailed: Sprinto is a feature-rich, lightweight platform that equips you with all the tools to establish, attain, and sustain compliance with prevailing security standards.

Update your privacy practices

While data privacy laws can sometimes be vague, your organization’s privacy policies should aim for clarity. Define the data you collect, its purpose, how it’s shared with third parties, retention policies, data access rights, and security measures.

For CCPA compliance, add a ‘Do Not Sell’ option if you sell personal data to third parties on your website. Also, outline the types of data shared, sharing methods, data utilization, and contractual privacy regulation compliance obligations to clients and vendors in your contracts.

Safeguard data of minors

Secure explicit consent if you are likely dealing with the personal data of individuals under 16. For those below 13, parental or guardian consent becomes mandatory. Employ age detection tools or solutions to prevent unintentional data collection from minors without appropriate consent.

Manage consumer requests proactively

To achieve this, start by creating clear protocols for handling, verifying, and responding to requests. CCPA has set a timeframe of 45 days to respond to this.

Verification procedures are crucial because of requests concerning the disclosure or deletion of personal data. 

For online requests, implement a two-step verification process: have users submit their request and then ask them to confirm it through a verification email or message.

Examples of CCPA compliance

Here are some CCPA compliance examples that may help you understand how it works:

Example 1 – Right to non-discrimination

Companies are prohibited from mistreating consumers because they exercise CCPA-granted rights.

If a consumer opts out of selling their personal information, the business should not change their behavior towards them. For example, discriminatory practices like charging different prices based on a consumer’s exercise of these rights are also prohibited.

Example 2 – The “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” Link

Consumers have the right to opt out of having their personal information sold to third parties. Companies must include a clear “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link on their online platforms, an entry point for customers to use this right.

This link is a mandatory component of the CCPA privacy policy and should be easily accessible on the business’s website or app. If a user clicks it, it should lead them to a webpage where they can opt out of selling their personal information.

Example 3 – Privacy policy lacking important details

Now, let’s say you are a telehealth company that is already HIPAA compliant. The link on your site led the customers to the wrong part of the privacy policy page due to the Website issue. What’s more, you also forgot to include some crucial information on the privacy page. 

You didn’t tell people what they needed to provide for requests or what personal info you’ve collected and shared in the past year. It also didn’t mention who you shared this info with.

So, what should you do now? You have to fix the link so it goes to the right place in the privacy policy and add all the missing information.

How much does it cost to implement CCPA?

To implement CCPA, the Attorney General’s report on data privacy regulations identifies 4 primary categories of costs you may encounter. These costs include various compliance aspects on legal, technical, operational, and business costs.

 Als, CCPA cost for small businesses start from $50,000 dollars and can go up to $2 million for large businesses.

Business TypeNo. of EmployeesCost
Small businessesLess than 20 employees$50,000
Medium businesses20 to 100 employees$100,000
Medium-sized firms00 -500 employees$450,000
Large businessesMore than 500 employees$ 2 million

Source

The cost looks too much, doesn’t it? If you choose to implement CCPA with the help of consultants, the above-mentioned price is what you have to pay.

However, if you choose to go ahead with an automation platform like Sprinto, the cost would be a fraction of what is mentioned in the table.

 Get in touch with our experts to know more about the implementation costs!

Consequences of not following CCPA

The CCPA grants the California Attorney General (AG) to take legal action against businesses for any CCPA violations, even in instances where a data breach hasn’t occurred. The violations range from failing to respond to consumer requests for accessing or deleting personal information or illegally selling their data.

The AG provides businesses with a 30-day window to achieve CCPA compliance. In this period, penalties are levied if the business fails to remediate and regain its compliance posture.
The penalties are: 

  • Civil Penalties: Up to $2,500 per violation, including accidental violations.
  • Intentional Violations: Up to $7,500 per violation.

Note that these fines apply on a per-violation and per-consumer basis. While CCPA fines may appear smaller than GDPR, they are quite severe. They could still financially push businesses back in their growth journey by 10 years.

The fastest route to achieve CCPA compliance

Under the cloud computing industry, data privacy is a major factor that could bring up or crash a business, which is true across industries. The threat landscape is constantly evolving so are the regulations designed to minimize them.

With regulations evolving constantly, as a business owner, you must gain better control over your consumer data to ensure the tools and resources required to safeguard it are sourced and deployed.

In all the examples mentioned at the beginning of the article, businesses fall under the purview of CCPA and must achieve compliance. A few of the steps, like updating privacy policies and addressing consumer requests, such as requests for information or data deletion, sure look simple and straightforward. However, one single non-compliance instance could cost you dearly.

Leveraging the traditional methods will set you back by months just to successfully navigate the CCPA requirements independently. However, there are efficient ways of becoming CCPA compliant today. One such way is to leverage the power of compliance automation like Sprinto.

Sprinto offers an automation solution that can guide your business to full CCPA compliance in just a few weeks without expensive legal consultations, long-drawn-out technical deployments, and complicated legal speak.

Get in touch with our team to discover how we can help your organization on the path to compliance.

FAQs

What are CCPA regulations?

CPA regulations are the rules that dictate how businesses should adhere to the CCPA. These regulations offer instructions to businesses regarding the communication of consumer rights, the process for handling consumer requests, the verification of consumer identities during requests, and the application of the law concerning minors.

 How does CCPA work?

CCPA bestows various rights upon consumers, which includes the right to be informed about the business’s practices related to the collection, utilization, and sharing of their personal information.

This includes the provision of personalized privacy notice disclosures upon request and the disclosure of the specific pieces of personal information held by the business.

What violates CCPA?

Violations of CCPA can occur when a business fails to uphold a CCPA-compliant Privacy Policy, neglects to respond to consumers’ requests relating to CCPA rights, inadequately notifies consumers when collecting personal information, or sells consumers’ personal information without offering an opt-out option.

What is considered a consumer under CCPA?

According to the CCPA, a consumer is defined as ‘a natural person who is a California resident.’ This definition clarifies that the CCPA’s data privacy rights apply exclusively to individuals and not other legal entities like corporations.

Meeba Gracy

Meeba Gracy

Meeba, an ISC2-certified cybersecurity specialist, passionately decodes and delivers impactful content on compliance and complex digital security matters. Adept at transforming intricate concepts into accessible insights, she’s committed to enlightening readers. Off the clock, she can be found with her nose in the latest thriller novel or exploring new haunts in the city.

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