Friday Highlight  

Five advantages of being GDPR-ready

Five advantages of being GDPR-ready

In recent years, the online revolution has created an exponential growth in the amount of data both created and collected.

As a result, legislators have realised that rights for consumers needed reviewing and new obligations for businesses introduced.

Because of this, and the ever-changing landscape of data usage, major changes in the way companies in the EU manage Personally Identifiable Information (PII) have been agreed upon under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force on 25 May 2018.

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Companies have so far spent an average of £1.3m getting ship-shape for GDPR.

Underwriting this cost is an understanding of the advantages being GDPR-ready can bring, rather than simply a regulation that comes with a cost, and is a chance to use GDPR positively for both consumers and to better understand the data landscape.

1.    Consumer protection

It is widely recognised that customers’ personal data must be given greater protection than existing regulation has previously allowed for.

GDPR ensures this higher degree of protection, while giving customers much greater control over the way their data is stored by businesses. Recent significant data breaches serve only to remind us that organisations must start to take the security of their data extremely seriously.

July 2017 saw 700,000 people exposed in the Equifax data breach, compromising an enormous amount of highly sensitive personal data.

The additional security measures that are enforced under GDPR reduces the likelihood and severity of a data breach, and makes data much more difficult to access in the event of a cyber-attack. 

Recent breaches of trust by Facebook have severely affected investor confidence – its share price tumbled by 5.2 per cent after a class action lawsuit was filed in federal court.

Arguably, had a regulation such as GDPR existed, Facebook would have had a much clearer obligation to flag the original data breach back in 2015 and millions of users’ data would have been better protected. The level of protection afforded to customers' data from GDPR will certainly help to prevent data being used in fraudulent activities.

2.    Improved analytics and increased insight

Firms should see compliance not as just a cost, but as an investment into the capability and competitive advantage of the business.

New regulation will encourage firms to consolidate personal data into unified platforms for location and reporting purposes.

Once the correct infrastructure is in place, the data will not only be stored more securely but will also be more accessible.

This data can then be used by businesses to better understand customers’ behaviour and make strategic decisions.

Not only this, it will make sure that services and products meet client needs efficiently and effectively. A wealth advisory firm, for example, will be able to offer products that better meet their customers’ needs once they know more about them, their behaviour, spending habits, and the stage they are at in their lives.