GDPR Compliance: Regulatory Nuisance or Business Opportunity?

It’s almost the one year anniversary for GDPR compliance. Did you get anything good from data protection authorities to “celebrate”? Because Google got a $57 million fine back in January.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) still presents a challenge to businesses around the world. GDPR compliance has created a range of new responsibilities and worries for information security and legal teams tasked with maintaining compliance with this data privacy regulation. Despite this, many businesses will tell you they don’t have a GDPR compliance problem. They either believe they’re compliant (which may or may not be true) or they think they’re “too small” to have to worry about it.

According to global law firm DLA Piper, as of February 6th there were 91 fines reported relating to GDPR infringements (including data breach) across Europe. The largest fine imposed was the $57 million fine against Google in January. Other organizations that have received fines include a hospital in Portugal ($452,014), a German social media platform ($22,600), and an entrepreneur that owns a betting shop ($5,424). You’ll notice two things here: the fines appear proportionate to annual revenue and the offense, and the size of the business that received the fine didn’t matter.

GDPR has changed the global landscape for privacy and its effects reach far beyond the European Union. What steps have you taken (or will you be taking) to become compliant – and stay that way?

Being headquartered in the United States doesn’t mean you can “escape” GDPR compliance. As the Google fine demonstrates, businesses aren’t just at risk from official auditors and regulators – individual legal practitioners can also file lawsuits and activist groups can file formal complaints.

GDPR compliance brings opportunity.

While GDPR has no doubt been the source of many headaches, when you take the time to look at it from another angle, it also offers an opportunity to build up your customer relationships as well as strengthen the security components of your current privacy policies and procedures.

When you make improvements in auditability to achieve GDPR compliance, you are also helping to make the process of compliance with other regulations easier, faster, and less expensive. The efficiencies you develop throughout the process can improve the way your organization protects its data. The lessons you learn can also help you expand your cybersecurity program.

Speaking of cybersecurity and the business – working toward GDPR compliance will also make your organization better at balancing consumer privacy with business needs and goals. You’ll have the opportunity to change the relationship with your customers for the better. GDPR also gives your customers the “the right to be forgotten.” Currently, EU citizens have the right to approach organizations like Credit Karma or Facebook and ask to have their data erased. If your business model relies on using this data to make money, you might be feeling a little nervous. But try to think of it this way: the less data you have, the easier it becomes to secure it. This security fundamental should help offset some of the financial cost of losing certain customer data. It also gives you the opportunity to diversify and explore new long-term revenue generators.

GDPR isn’t just a regulation – it’s a competitive advantage.

GDPR compliance can help your business demonstrate to your customer base that your organization is a strong corporate citizen that cares about building trust with them. GDPR isn’t just a regulation – it’s a competitive advantage. Now more than ever, customers are concerned about the privacy of their data and demand to know what companies are doing with it. Establishing your organization as a trustworthy entity means improving customer loyalty and acquiring new customers that are unhappy with your less secure competition.

Becoming GDPR compliant does not have to be a burden. Start thinking of it as an opportunity to learn more about your business (and its data assets) and as a way to communicate your value to current and future consumers.

Ready to explore your options for becoming GDPR compliant? Email GreyCastle Security at intel@greycastlesecurity.com or give us a call: (518) 274-7233.