Over the past twelve months four little letters have sent a shiver up the spine of business leaders. Can you guess which ones?
Yes it’s ‘GDPR’, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations that came into force in May 2018. In the run up to this deadline doomsday headlines dominated. From the potentially huge fines for breach, to predictions of regulators gearing up to smite businesses small and large indiscriminately.
Unfortunately in among the fear-mongering, a massive opportunity was missed. What the GDPR pundits failed to report are the very real business benefits of compliance with the new data protection regulations.
In fact, good data protection practices don’t just safeguard against the prying eyes of regulators. They make you do better business, helping to revolutionise the way we use, process and harness the power of data.
Here we explore how you can increase your competitive advantage by going beyond GDPR compliance to make your data work harder and smarter.
1) GDPR makes you get a grip on security
88% of data breaches are not as a result of cyber attack, or poor technology – it is because human error. Whether emailing sensitive information to the wrong recipient, storing data in unsecure locations or losing paperwork, it’s the people in your organisation that are the biggest threat to data.
The GDPR is very clear about who should have access to sensitive personal data through access management policies and procedures. Businesses need to make sure that personal data can only be accessed by the right people in the organisation, for the explicit purpose for which that data has been collected or stored.
In short, the GDPR limits who can access personal data, and why – and those who do have access require training and knowledge of the responsibilities of handling it.
The fewer people who access sensitive data, the less the risk of human error leading to data breach.
2) Privacy by design means secure, cross-border business
With GDPR applying to anyone doing business in the EU, the reach of the regulations extends across the world. While some see this as a burden, we should really consider the positive ripple effect that the EU’s robust approach to data protection sets in motion. In fact, other regions are following suit – with Brazil echoing much of the regulation, and discussion on how the US will respond to the need for greater protections.
Organisations operating across EU borders should find solace in the fact that the partners they depend on are governed by GDPR. With the regulations designed to encourage businesses to implement privacy by design, it places the onus on organisations to be stringent about data-protection at every step. That includes in its dealings with third party suppliers and partners.
Demonstrating proactive GDPR compliance shows you are geared up for the global marketplace, that you can be trusted, and are aligned with your international partners.
3) Data protection creates greater customer confidence
60% of consumers are aware of GDPR, and with headlines of high profile fines for organisations found in breach, awareness will only grow. At the same time, 48% of UK adults planning to activate new rights over their personal data.
Demonstrating a proactive, open and encompassing approach to data-protection shows customers you take their concerns seriously, and respect their autonomy in relation to data. In fact, the number of consumers who say they are happy to share their data if they trust the company has nearly doubled between 2016 and 2018, from 16% to 30%.
Never mind the fallout from being found in breach of GDPR, focus on the advantage you gain in complying – and being vocal in your support of the foundations of the regulations. Earning the trust of your customers is priceless, while the cost to comply is negligible in comparison.
4) GDPR delivers better marketing ROI
One of the pillars of the GDPR is that organisations need a data subject’s consent to process personal information. By cleansing your databases of those who did not opt-in you immediately hone your target list to relevant and engaged clients. With a cleansed database it is much easier to experiment with tailored and targeted marketing messages and tactics that speak to your audience.
By adopting such a targeted approach, through the use of ‘clean’ data not only are you complying with GDPR, but you will find higher conversion rates can be achieved from your marketing efforts. Cleanse data, understand your audience and watch your marketing budget work harder.
5) GDPR compliance will improve your bottom line
Quite simply, complying with GDPR won’t just improve your security practices, data handling procedures and marketing output – it is showing direct impact on organisations’ profitability.
Our partners Port.IM recently reported that the impact of GDPR compliance can result in up to 30% sales growth. This is as a result of increased trust and secure management of privacy.
Whether improved security, strengthened customer trust, borderless commerce or improved targeted marketing efforts, GDPR isn’t a rod for our backs, but a tool for better business.
Whether you are at the start of your GDPR journey, or are seeking insight on how to assess, test or improve your systems we are here to offer our expertise.