Doing Business in Singapore? Missing on PDPA may become a big challenge for your business

Singapore is a global techgiant, topping the rankings of the Global Smart City Performance Index continuously for multiple years. Since launching its Smart Nation initiative in 2014, Singapore has introduced a lot of smart technologies in both public and private sectors. Lot of data is travelling on the cloud as cloud computing is an integral element for the digital transformation objectives and hence the laws to protect the data becomes mandatory. Singapore's Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) governs the collection, use, disclosure and care of personal data.

Purpose of the PDPA

“To govern the collection, use and disclosure of personal data by organisations in a manner that recognises both the right of individuals to protect their personal data and the need of organisations to collect, use or disclose personal data for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances.”

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What is the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA)?


The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) is Singapore's primary law regulating its residents' data handling by businesses.


Businesses should take Singapore's data privacy laws as mandatory for the protection of data. As this has become of utmost importance, laws have installed nine data protection obligations with which every business must comply.



The Nine Data Protection Obligations


1. Consent Obligation

2. Purpose Limitation Obligation

3. Notification Obligation

4.  Access and Correction Obligation

5. Accuracy Obligation

6. Protection Obligation

7. Retention Limitation Obligation

8. Transfer Limitation Obligation

9. Accountability Obligation



Scope of PDPA -


All private organisations in respect of the personal data of individuals that they collect, use and/or disclose.

Organisations that are not present in Singapore but collecting, using and disclosing data within Singapore. Related organisations receiving data from these organisations being parent companies or others are not exempted from PDPA.



Who is exempted from the application of PDPA -


1. Individuals acting in a personal or domestic capacity

2. Employees acting in the course of their employment with an organisation

3. Public agencies

4. Any other organisation or personal data, or classes of organisations or personal data as may be prescribed.


Although the government agencies are not subjected to PDPA as they have their own set of regulations, this exemption is not extended to the private sector organisations working on behalf of the government agencies.



Who regulates data protection?


The PDPC is the regulatory authority responsible for administering and enforcing the PDPA. It is part of the converged telecommunications and media regulator, the Infocomm Media Development Authority ('IMDA'), which is, in turn, a statutory board under the purview of the Ministry of Communications and Information.

Why should you implement PDPA?

Enhanced Customer Trust

PDPA compliance demonstrates an organization's commitment to protecting the privacy and personal data of its customers.

Reduced Risk of Legal Penalties

Helps to avoid potential fines, penalties, and legal actions resulting from data breaches or non-compliance with data protection regulations.

Quick audit

PDPA compliance can be a competitive differentiator, especially in industries where data privacy is a critical concern for customers.

Data Management Efficiency

Adhering to guidelines leads to more organized and efficient data handling processes, benefiting various aspects of the organization's operations.

Improved Data Security

By adopting robust security practices, organizations can safeguard sensitive information and prevent data breaches.

Better Data Quality

Helps to improve the accuracy and quality of the databases, leading to better decision-making and customer service.

Quick Response

Well-prepared response plan enables organizations to act quickly and effectively in the event of a data breach, minimizing potential damages.

What Illume Offers
  • 1. Identifying over 300 different data types over the network.
    2. Supporting PDPA compliance obligations under Protection Obligations.
    3. Segregating data as per PDPA norms from various sources.
    4. Reducing the time and cost required to get the PDPA Compliance.
    5. Less time for mapping, analysing and remediating data before transferring to cloud storage.
    6. Personal Data Protection Support Office.
    7. Gap Assessment and Framework Development.
    8. Training / Awareness.

Book a free consultation call for your organization

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Personal data or personally identifiable information (PII) under Personal Data Protection Act of 2012, refers to any piece of data about an individual who can be identified by that data. This includes NRIC numbers and photographs of individuals or a combination of personal data such as name, age, and personal address.
This doesn't include business contact information like job title, business telephone number / email address / fax number / address, or any other business-related information.
PDPA applies to any international business that operates or does business in Singapore. Additionally it is mandatory for all the international businesses to follow the Personal Data Protection Act’s guidelines, that do transactions with employees or customers in Singapore.
PDPA consulting refers to the specialised services offered by consultants / consulting firms to help organisations comply with the requirements of the Personal Data Protection Act. These services typically include assessments, gap analysis, policy development, staff training, and ongoing support to ensure the organisation's handling of personal data aligns with PDPA regulations.
A PDPA compliance assessment involves a thorough review of your organisation's data protection practices, policies, procedures, and systems. The consultant will identify any gaps between your current practices and PDPA requirements. This assessment will serve as a baseline for developing a customised compliance plan.
PDPA consultants can assist your organisation in various ways, as -
1. Conducting PDPA compliance assessments and gap analyses.
2. Developing and implementing data protection policies and procedures.
3. Conducting staff training on data protection principles and best practices.
4. Establishing data protection governance and accountability mechanisms.
5. Implementing technical and organisational measures to safeguard personal data.
6. Assisting with data breach response and reporting.
7. Auditing and monitoring to ensure ongoing compliance.
8. Providing advice on data protection impact assessments (DPIAs).
9. Offering guidance on cross-border data transfers and international compliance.
PDPA consultants can assist organisations of all sizes. Data protection is crucial for every business that handles personal data, regardless of its scale. Consultants can tailor their services to meet the specific needs and resources of small, medium, and large enterprises.
Yes, many PDPA consulting services can be provided online. We can conduct virtual meetings, online assessments, and training sessions, making it convenient for organisations to access their services irrespective of geographical location.
Yes, we offer customizable services to cater to the unique needs and requirements of each organisation. Our tailored approach is based on the size of the organisation, the nature of its data processing activities, and the level of existing data protection measures.
Failure to comply with PDPA regulations may lead to severe consequences, including hefty fines, legal penalties, loss of business reputation, and potential legal actions by affected individuals. PDPA consultants help you mitigate these risks by ensuring adherence to data protection laws.
The time required to achieve PDPA compliance varies depending on the organisation's size, complexity, and existing data protection measures. It could take several weeks to several months, depending on the scope of work and the level of readiness of the organisation.