We've been working on GDPR quite a lot of late, for different clients who offer services to help businesses prepare for the new data regulations. But what have we got to add to the plethora of information already available online? Well, we think that GDPR could have some added business benefits. Read on to find out how compliance could help you improve.
Why should I be thinking about GDPR?
The GDPR is the new General Data Protection Regulation governing personal data of EU individuals. This means that if your business deals with any personal data - including name, address, company email address, IP address, and more - you're likely to fall under the new regulations. In a nutshell, if your activities are currently subject to the Data Protection Act, then they'll be subject to GDPR.
How can this improve my business practices?
The new regulations come into effect on 25 May 2018 and you'll find a wide range of information online about how to prepare. A good starting point is the Information Commissioner's Office. If you process personal data, then you'll need to meet a set of requirements about that processing, and prove that you have done so. And while this might seem daunting, our focus is on the opportunities that this will raise. We look at just three below.
1. Knowing what you've got
The first step to prepare for GDPR is knowing what data you hold, and where. This is likely to mean a data audit, to gather information. You'll need to know about databases, mailing lists, spreadsheets and electronic files - basically, anything that captures the personal data of EU individuals. What benefits will this overview bring? You might be able to make efficiencies, by narrowing down the number of places you hold data. You'll be able see what you've got, and identify what you're missing. And you'll be able to bring the data together to give you a fuller picture of your customer or client.
2. Improving what you do
The next step is to make sure all your data processes and procedures are documented, tested against GDPR, updated where needed, and shared with all relevant staff. Again, this might sound daunting. But reviewing your processes is never wasted time. Looking in detail at how you do things can highlight opportunities to save time and add value. Involve your staff by asking for their ideas about how processes might work more smoothly. You'll get great input and a renewed engagement.
3. Sharing the good news
Our third step is to share what you're doing with all relevant stakeholders - including staff, customers, clients and, if need be, supply-chain partners. This should include steps you're taking to comply and the approaches you've identified for processing data. Why is this a benefit? Well, communicating is always a positive. People will know that you take data security seriously, raising your public image and increasing confidence in your business. Your customers will value the positive messages that you're sharing with them. And staff will feel encouraged that you're doing the right thing.
These three simple steps will help you comply with GDPR. But - perhaps more importantly - they'll bring added business benefits. You'll save time by improving the efficiency of your data management and processing. You'll create slicker processes that might add value to your approach. And you'll be communicating good news with your stakeholders. What's not to like?