In the United States, data is today a valuable asset that can be traded. But in Europe it is a different story. Data is something personal and private. Under the UK’s current Data Protection Act, the outcome of data processed without the customer’s consent isn’t quite clearly defined presently. This will get more clarity, from May 2018, when General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect.
Companies in every European Union nation will be responsible for any data that they process on the website or post on social media. This will simplify the regulatory environment for international business, by unifying the regulation within the EU.
190+ countries will potentially be in scope of this regulation. Though United Kingdom is out of EU, implementation of GDPR will definitely bring about repercussion, as the country is a strong trading partner with European Union and data transfer will be inevitable when doing business.
Customer is the king!
The GDPR gives customers the power to give consent to any organization before using their personal data. Whenever any business wants to use a particular data, they should get a confirmation from the customers or take parental consent before using children’s data (under the age of 16). Law gives the choice to customers to say no if they do not wish to share their data. Customers also have the right to give permission for a specific purpose, and thereafter request to delete their data.
How can organizations reap benefits from this change?
The priority of all companies in the European Union is to expedite to be GDPR compliant in the coming months. Though now it looks like a hassle, there are certain benefits of being transparent.
- GDPR compliance increases accountability on part of the organization, but when you follow laws ethically, there is minimum risk for the brand.
- Organizations can fearlessly make strategic decisions and gain more value.
- By giving the reins of the personal data rights to clients, brands can gain more trust in the customer’s mind, thus enjoy advantage over competitors.
- Adding and deleting information and data portability, is much easier if you have the right tools in place. This emphasizes the need to have a good Data Management System.
- Analyzing data (both structured and unstructured) that you possess, that’s outside your firewall, and the data that’s coming, can definitely help businesses to understand and connect with your customers at a deeper level and fuel strategic growth.
- With new devices, sensors, and technological advancement, millions of data is being processed on a daily basis. This brings along with it the fear of hacking and data leaks. As sensitive data is at risk of being filched by cyber criminals, businesses can feel safer in the eyes of law if they can prove the data was legitimately obtained and stored.
Transform your organization to be GDPR ready?
Data privacy cannot be seen as a frivolous regulation anymore. Companies who don’t comply with the rules will have to pay substantial fines, which will be up to 4% of annual turnover or €20 million (whichever is higher).
Here are some of the steps organizations should take to be GDPR ready:
- Every organization has to create awareness internally, to ensure all employees follow the rules on privacy. A strong starting point will be to embed privacy into the organization’s project methodology. Right from conception of a new or altered product (Privacy by Design) to assessing existing systems.
- In case of a personal data breach, customers can report the case to the Data Protection Authority within 72 hours. If you are a company with more than 250 employees, appoint a data protection officer.
- Review how you seek, record and manage consent. Have policies in place to react quickly in case of any data breach.
- Ensure every partner you deal with are GDPR compliant too.
- Streamline your data with a data management system, it will be easy to identify when, where and how you collected specific data. Also, it becomes easy to delete data after using it for a particular purpose.
Though GDPR will bring more transparency in protecting citizens’ personal data; for a business to be completely compliant, it is good to change the way they manage and store customer’s data. A data inventory can be created using Big Data and Machine Learning principle as part of data mapping, finding and categorizing data. This has to be a continuous process to be GDPR compliant.
The European market of digital products and services (“data market”) has grown from EUR 54.4 billion in 2015 to EUR 59.5 billion in 2016. If this positive trend continues, by 2020 the value of the EU data market will reach € 106.8 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 15.7% since 2016 and the data economy is expected to increase to € 739 billion.
View data as an asset like the Americans do or win customer’s trust, either way complying with GDPR will only benefit organizations, as they inculcate these positive changes internally and get more systematic in managing their data.