The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has become a hot topic among businesses using cloud technology and storing consumer data. Businesses have been buzzing with news of what the GDPR could mean for their finances, information security, and marketing tactics, but few have noted why it’s important for businesses to adopt the standards set out by the GDPR. Below we look at why you need to make this move and what it will mean if you don’t.

Reputational image

GDPR compliance can work towards building a positive reputational image in the eyes of your clients. If an organization is shown to be aware of privacy and data protection, the chances are better that their partners and customers will continue their relationship.

If you are seen to be non-compliant, this will almost certainly drive partners and customers away. Think of not-for-profit organizations and universities which gather data: if they are seen by the general public to be non-compliant, then they will lose credibility and their reputation will be tarnished. Recently, the Facebook fiasco has brought data protection to the forefront of many consumers’ minds and if your company is seen as not taking GDPR compliance seriously, this could have serious ramifications for your image.

Data hygiene enables business growth

Data hygiene means that you’re holding less data, and is the process of detecting and correcting corrupt, inaccurate, or old records from a database. The data is now more accurate and can be used for the correct purposes.

This will save your business money in the long run, since you’ll need a less expensive IT infrastructure, as well as lower overheads and development costs. Due to these lower costs, you’ll be able to grow your business with the money you would’ve been spending on gathering and analyzing data. Putting privacy-by-design practices in place will allow data hygiene to become part and parcel of your business.

The rights of consumers must be upheld

Data controllers now have to consider consumer rights before undertaking any new projects, which some feel could hinder innovation. However, not embracing this could lead to a complete loss of trust from your consumers.

Data controllers now have to consider consumer rights before undertaking any new projects, which some feel could hinder innovation. It’s true that innovation will become slightly more challenging but once data is reorganized and “sanitized”, there’s no reason why businesses cannot keep innovating. In some instances, there may be a slight delay initially in communication projects but marketing teams will adjust to the new guidelines fast and businesses will continue to use data in a responsible manner.

The rights of consumers will have to be considered when businesses conduct Privacy Impact Assessments, which will change the way businesses use and store data. The Data Protection Officer could soon become the ‘consumer champion’ within the business, ensuring that the rights of the consumer are always upheld and publicized. Consumers will be able to switch providers because data controllers will need to provide ‘data portability’ when accounts are closed.

All bases need to be covered

Any new data that is collected must have a record of informed consent from every consumer. You’ll also need to ensure that you are able to justify your need to store the data. Consumers may become suspicious of companies that are not transparent.

Once you have collected this data, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll be storing it. The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) can request a data audit at any time and if you do not have your data stored correctly or do not have the record of informed consent, you could be fined a significant amount, along the lines of €10 million. Adopting the GDPR means that your business is less likely to incur any fines or experience any data discrepancies.

You can embrace technology and digitally transform

The compliance benchmarks that the GDPR has set out are seen by executives as ‘goals’ they need to achieve in order to become a data-driven company, meaning that you can digitally transform your business and stay ahead of the curve.

The massive growth in the amount of data that consumers are producing, combined with the technology that can extract actionable, predictive insights is allowing businesses to provide a more personalized experience to their customers. Coupling this with the GDPR regulations will allow your company to embrace technology and bring new products and services to the market quicker than ever.

Businesses will also be surprised to see the incredible data protection services offered by companies such as Microsoft & Google.

Your data will change from being quantity to quality based

We mentioned earlier that data hygiene will allow businesses to grow, but what this will also mean is that your data capturing will focus less on quantity and more on quality. Your business will do away with digital waste and will be able to focus on the quality of the data you collect from consumers.

With the enforcement of the GDPR, when consumers visit your website the first thing they will be asked is for their consent for their data to be captured. Some users will be unwilling to give you this consent, which means that those who do allow you access will do so willingly and will provide you with more meaningful data. It will ensure that your most valued customers are targeted appropriately when needed, increasing your profits and leads.

GDPR is an opportunity, not an obstacle

Many companies believe that the GDPR is a strategic opportunity to get ahead of the game and become compliant. Not only will this save time, but you’ll build your reputation in the eyes of your customers.

By managing the changes sooner, you’ll be closer to compliance and you’ll be able to ease consumers into the changes you have made without creating confusion. You can build a streamlined user experience, with easy-to-understand consent options from your Information Security team. Your technology platform will be how your users interact with the implementation of GDPR, so it’s important that it helps to build brand trust and makes consumers aware of their new rights.

Clickatell is dedicated to implementing GDPR principles and we’re currently working with leading legal experts to ensure compliance for our customers, and theirs. Read on for more information on what the GDPR is, what the guidelines are, and what you need to do next. You can also read more about how Clickatell is going about maintaining GDPR compliance.

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