GDPR – “Every disadvantage has its advantage”

As the late and great Johan Cruijff said “Every disadvantage has its advantage” and that is also the case with GDPR.

Under GDPR, all businesses must ensure they:

  • Request consent for data and clearly detail how the data will be used
  • Offer individuals the right to access their data
  • Offer individuals the right to be forgotten – to withdraw their consent and prevent further dissemination of their data
  • Notify those concerned of any security breaches

To do this, all businesses must know what data they have, where it is stored and how to access it. Data may be digital but can also be print, found on PC’s, servers, tapes, filing cabinets, cards …. Data will be stored in more places than you imagined.

This is the “disadvantage”, a lot of work, extra costs and does it mean extra revenue?

What are the advantages? There are several:

Your own personal data will be protected.

Not only are you securing your data but other companies are securing theirs which means your personal information is better protected.

Digitize the last of your paper files, if they are necessary to keep.

Printed data also counts for GDPR so go through your filing cabinets and scan important files and get rid of the unnecessary. Sell the redundant Filing cabinets and create more space. Modern scanned files can be searched just like word documents so your filing will be much easier to use.

Auditing your business data allows you to “Spring Clean”.

What data do you really need and what can you get rid of? It doesn’t take long to generate masses of data, just look at how many files are on your PC – actual, copies, archives etc. There are many tools available to check your systems and identify duplicate files.

Improve your data by removing duplicate information and consolidating address files.

Don’t just audit for duplicate files but look for duplicate data as well. How many times does the same customer have a record in your database? It may be that you have multiple contacts at a customer or supplier but do they all have the current address?

Update your data with the latest information.

When you contact your relations, ask them to confirm or update their details. Include Chamber of Commerce number, email addresses, telephone (office and mobile) numbers etc. This is an opportunity to contact your relations. Make it a memorable occasion – offer them something, a discount, prize draw etc.

When updating your relation’s data, add filtering information such as Branch, Profile group, Products, anything helping you build selection information. This is useful for targeting and not contacting your customers for things they have never shown an interest in.

Secure Login accounts.

Check all authorizations for IT systems (and building access while you’re at it) to make sure only authorized people have access and not ex- employees. Take the opportunity to improve HR procedures to include company code of conduct or ethics policy.

Secure your online activities.

You now have the chance to update all digital security levels to include access authorizations, passwords, firewalls, virus and malware control, web usage code of conduct, secure email, cookie policy, social media policy etc.

Include opt-in options for your web services and make sure your customer’s Right to be Forgotten can be carried out.

Promote the fact you are GDPR compliant.

You have had a busy time becoming GDPR compliant so tell the world. Promote the fact on your website or in a newsletter. Issue a press release. Every positive ‘contact’ moment builds your image credit.