The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will bring about a massive overhaul in data protection laws for EU citizens when it goes into effect on May 25, 2018. This new regulation will override the existing Data Protection Act (DPA) of 1998, employing similar concepts and underlying foundation. However, the GDPR is more focused on strengthening data privacy. Under the GDPR, organisations that are located in the EU or that process EU citizens’ data will have to get specific consent from data subjects for data collection, and will have to immediately inform them about breaches.
The GDPR aims to make data processing more transparent and give data subjects greater control over how their data is handled. Under the GDPR, individuals will have the “right to erasure,” meaning they can request that an organisation permanently delete all their data, including web records. Financial implications for failure to adhere to the law will also be a lot greater under the GDPR. Non-compliant companies will have to shell out a fine of either four percent of their annual turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater. That’s enough to shut down one in five businesses!
The realm of the GDPR’s impact extends far beyond the EU; the GDPR will apply to all foreign and domestic businesses that hold any form of personal data pertaining to EU citizens, whether they’re customers, employees, or other stakeholders. Despite the GDPR’s strict requirements—and less than six months to prepare for the new regulation—organisations like yours may find many advantages as they move toward compliance. Here are just a few of the added benefits of becoming GDPR-compliant:
1) Greater consumer confidence
GDPR compliance will prove to customers that your organisation is a good custodian of data. This new legislation mandates that each organisation have a data protection officer (DPO), along with regular audits of data processing activities. Furthermore, your organisation will have to comply with a set of data protection principles under the GDPR, ensuring that the necessary framework is in place to keep data subjects’ personally identifiable information secure.
During the past year, attacks against companies like Wonga and Equifax suggest that the consequences of a data breach can be devastating to your brand equity, with customer defection shooting through the roof and costs escalating for affected companies. The GDPR’s proposed security practices will bolster your brand’s reputation, showing customers that you have a robust data governance system in place.
2) Improved data security
Cyber security breaches loom as a big threat to enterprises in the UK, with 68 percent of large firms in the UK having encountered a cyber attack, according to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017. With the scale and sophistication of these attacks growing each day, having a GDPR-compliant framework in place will extend your cyber security practices.
The GDPR mandates using privileged and identity access management to give only a few professionals access to critical data in your organisation, thereby ensuring that data does not fall into the wrong hands. Additionally, under the GDPR, your organisation will have to disclose any breach within 72 hours of its occurrence. GDRP compliance lays the groundwork for improved data security.
3) Reduced data maintenance costs
Complying with the GDPR can help your organisation cut costs by prompting you to retire any data inventory software and legacy applications that are no longer relevant to your business. By following the GDPR’s mandate to keep your data inventory up-to-date, you can significantly reduce the cost of storing data by consolidating information that is present in silos or stored in inconsistent formats. Your organisation will also be freed of data maintenance costs, which otherwise would have been incurred in the form of man-hours and infrastructure maintenance.
Another cost benefit of the GDPR is that your organisation will be able to more effectively engage with customers. The communication will be more personalised because of the granularity of the information collected, thus saving you the sunk cost of pursuing uninterested consumers.
4) Increased alignment with evolving technology
As an extension of GDPR compliance, your organisation will have to move towards improving its network, endpoint, and application security. Migrating towards the latest technologies—virtualisation, cloud computing, BYOD, and IoT—can serve two purposes: one, giving you a way to more effectively manage the growing demand for data and two, allowing you to offer end users augmented products, services, and processes.
With third-party management tools, your organisation can constantly monitor its new environment for any data breach. These tools monitor log data and keep a tab on the data transferred outside your environment. They also check the integrity of files and folders in your network, endpoint devices, and applications, as well as on the cloud. Most third-party tools will send out an alert notification whenever an anomaly is detected, thereby giving you time to minimise or avert any compromise.
5) Better decision-making
Under the GDPR, organisations can no longer make automated decisions based on an individual’s personal data. After all, automated decisions, such as determining whether or not to provide insurance or a loan to a customer, can be prone to error. The GDPR mandates the right to obtain human intervention, thereby decreasing room for arbitrary decisions.
Thanks to the GDPR, your organisation’s data will become more consolidated, ensuring that your data is easier to use and you have a greater understanding of its underlying value. This insight will let your organisation learn more deeply about its customers and identify areas where customer needs are unmet. By using customer information effectively, your organisation will be able to make better decisions and consequently get a better return on its investments.
Embracing the GDPR
Organisations need to understand that the GDPR is not just a regulatory obligation, but also a means for achieving business and technology alignment. With data becoming the new oil in today’s digital economy, companies need to take into account a comprehensive approach while aligning their organisation’s information and data management policies with regulatory frameworks.
By Sneha Paul, Product Consultant, ManageEngine
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