So, we have all come across the term ‘GDPR’ in annual company meetings or in one of those scary boardroom sessions where the momentum just bounces off your head! The speaker goes on about how data protection rules apply to a company and the impact it leaves on customer management- but to many of us, all this sounds nothing but gibberish.
So, what is ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ all about? After all, we don’t want to be like that one kid in school to whom the teacher’s words were incomprehensible puzzles! In order to be able to grasp the importance of a subject, we first need to understand the basics. So, let’s take an in-depth look at GDPR and see how it impacts our business.
Ever since the Internet was introduced, the way we lead our lives has changed radically. Things have become so much easier, swifter, and convenient for us. We shop online, we bank online and we work online- it’s almost impossible to even imagine our lives without this almighty savior called ‘the Internet’, isn’t it? We enter all our personal details online without any hesitation.
But, have you ever stopped and think what happens to that data afterward? Where does all the information go after all? Your email id, the sites you visit, the people you talk to, your addresses, your banking details and even the IP address- EVERYTHING is neatly stored in the digital carton.
If you ask any of the big companies, they would tell you they need to store all this data so they can personalize your experience as a customer. To cater to your specific requirements, provide you with more relevant and customized options and in general, just serve your better. But behind all this hype, what do you think is the actual usage of the data stored on the internet? The answer to this question has been explained by none other than the European Union in 2016.
The GDPR is so far, the biggest modification in the realm of data security in the last two decades. The rule is yet to come into effect, but when it does, it’ll give citizens the much-desired control over data protection, which we all have lost in the decade of digital dominance.
The GDPR is a set of certain rules and regulations, laid down by the European Commission. The rules govern the security and privacy of personal data shared by citizens of the European Union. From the perspective of international business, the rule of GDPR is applicable to companies both inside and outside of EU. Once it comes to pass, the GDPR is going to bring along permanent alterations that’ll completely change the way you collect and make use of personal data, as a business.
The worst case scenario? Well, a recently conducted study of nearly nine hundred IT & tech companies show nearly 80% of companies, currently, know almost nothing about GDPR. Chances are high that a frighteningly high majority of businesses will not have their armors prepped when the GDPR makes its debut! So, how to avoid that situation and be stay prepared?
Let’s look at the ‘rights’ that individuals will have under the GDPR regime:
- Accessibility: The right to access their data and ask for clarification from the company/s on how it is being used.
- Clarity: The right to be informed of how and when their data is collected and used by a given company.
- Portability: The right to conveniently port their data from one service provider to another.
- Withdrawal: The right to withdraw or protest the processing of their data for certain marketing purposes by businesses.
- Modifiability: The right to have their data corrected if the customer feels the info is incomplete or wrong.
- Eradication: The right to have all of their personal data deleted permanently from the company’s storage if the individual is no longer your customer.
So here comes another rule that again puts the customer on the throne and leaves you powerless! If your business offers services or goods to the EU countries, you fall under the radar of GDPR. It is wise to appoint a data protection officer, who’ll look after GDPR compliance. For companies that handle sales and marketing aspects, the new rules will have significant implications. So, before it gets too late, let’s ensure our businesses are ready to adapt to GDPR when it kicks in.
Some quick tips to keep your business GDPR-ready:
- Trim your data trunk: Keep your database tidy. Don’t store more information that it is necessary. GDPR enforces a strict, disciplined way of using private data.
- Chart your data use: Keep track of all the data your business uses. Map its source, see who has access to those and whether the data is stored unsafely. This will help you strengthen your bond with customers as well, by showing them you care.
- Bring on new measures: Enforce new procedures to tackle personal data usage rules. Your business would need new policies that can handle customer’s queries related to GDPR.
- Stay data-safe: Steer clear of data breaches! Establish strong security measures in your business to make sure the data is safe.
- Adapt yourself: Renew your privacy policies and modify disclosure statements. Older patterns of documentation will become invalid in the GDPR era.