The long-awaited General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) shake-up that has transformed the laws on data privacy and the way organisations use and share personal data was thrust upon the masses via inboxes across the EU on 25th May 2018.
Whilst the transformation was designed to herald a new era of protection and security for consumers, the date triggered a time-consuming and costly compliance exercise for many organisations that were under serious regulatory pressure – and the threat of hefty financial penalties – to get their data privacy affairs in order before deadline day.
Following years of drafting and debating and official ratification of the official EU GDPR, the May 25 deadline arrived – and passed. Deliberations over the sizeable fines that would be imposed for non-compliance (up to 4% of global annual turnover) were had while the thought that resourceful cybercriminals would launch attacks to extort money through data theft or ransomware rapidly became a plausible notion.
Now is not the time for complacency but for commitment to ethical data management
The fact is GDPR is not just a one-off compliance exercise or governance issue. There is no luxury of choice and, for those organisations with customers who are EU citizens, it is here to stay and comply they must. The May 25 GDPR threshold may have been crossed, but the softening of corporate responsibility towards consumer data is not an option and organisations risking non-compliance could face more than just a substantial fine – serious damage to a brand’s reputation is also at stake. Now is not the time for complacency.
Organisations now have no option, but to view GDPR as a long-term strategy that will need to be formulated by data owners and stakeholders across IT, legal, financial and compliance divisions – and respected by everyone. This approach won’t just help to mitigate the risk of fines and damage to good names, but it could also present strategic opportunities and a competitive advantage to organisations that really embrace the GDPR change.
There are benefits for those who stay on the right side of the new data laws; as you become more rigorous about data security and the systems and people who control it, you’ll be seen as transparency champion of choice and engender the trust of your existing and potential customers in the process.
GDPR brings exciting opportunities for savvy marketers too; once your data and its associated processes are in order, you’ll be in a prime position to enhance your customer engagement and demonstrate serious added value – and you’ll achieve an infinitely better return on your marketing spend than those who haven’t taken the right steps towards compliance.
In summary, if you view data privacy post-GDPR Day as a never-ending evolutionary process, the transformation could bring a welcome change for your customers and your brand – and give you a serious competitive edge over those who risk being left behind.
View our GDPR Principles.