GDPR can be an opportunity for your business

Far from doom and gloom, GDPR is a golden opportunity to improve your IT systems and make your company better.

A lot of GDPR coverage has focussed on negative aspects such as the potential for huge fines if your company doesn’t fall in line, as well as a complex and lengthy journey to becoming compliant. While these are important points to consider, and it's true that your business needs to be ready for the regulation, there are nuggets of positivity that can be drawn out of the process if you choose to embrace them. Getting prepared for GDPR is a golden opportunity to re-evaluate your whole business, get more organised and ultimately improve the way that things work. Here, we look at some of the leading benefits that GDPR can bring.

1. Improved engagement

Having a big marketing list to target potential customer leads might to some seem like the best approach, but time and again it's been proven that quality, rather than quantity is what makes all the difference. GDPR invokes a double opt-in process, where a user has to sign up and then click a confirmation link, which demonstrably proves that you have gained consent. And, by adding the extra step, you eradicate a lot of fake sign-ups, reducing complaints about spam, and are left with a more-engaged list of potential customers.

While around 30% of verification emails are ignored, consequently reducing list sizes considerably, the benefits for improving the quality of your marketing lists are clear. Writing on the DMA, Simon Moss from CommuniGator said, "Of that data that has double opted-in, we have seen a 15% click through rate – far higher than the industry standard of sub 1%."

2. Improved security

High levels of data security is a default requirement of GDPR, which means that both the physical and virtual needs of your data stores are to be well protected. This presents the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate the way that you collate, process and store data enabling you to identify ways in which you can improve and boost security as you go.

Pseudonymization is one technique that should be thoroughly investigated, which is defined as splitting identifiable data from non-identifiable data. As we looked at in our previous post, this technique not only boosts security, but opens up your processing capabilities, too.

3. Cleaning up old data stores

An underlying principal when collecting customer data is that you should only really collect the personal information required to perform your stated intention. This both reduces your exposure to a multitude of risks, and it is also likely to boost customer well-being given that you're asking for far fewer details of them. While this is certainly easy to implement for your new data collection processes, what of your historical data stores? Again, this is an opportunity to use GDPR as a reason to tidy up legacy approaches and in this case to examine your old data stores. At the very least you can archive or delete old records that aren't required anymore, and further to this you can clean up extraneous data that serves no purpose. This has the added benefit of reducing your storage requirements.

4. Re-engineer the way you do things

Given that every single bit of data processing will have to be GDPR compliant, this ultimately means that you’ll be examining the way that you do everything. While you undergo this task, don't just ask, "how can we make this GDPR compliant"; ask, "is there a better way of doing things?" Streamlining your data processing, you may find that there's a new and more efficient way of doing things - this is a golden opportunity to implement these types of changes.

5. Build customer trust

When gaining consent for processing under GDPR, you have to state the purpose of the data collection and which parties will have access to the data. All requests for consent have to be written in clear English.

The greater transparency that this process affords presents a great opportunity to set out your company's ethical store, stating clearly the purpose of data collection, and reassuring customers that you will not over-process their information.

Don't forget to clearly signpost the opt-out process, too. This builds trust and demonstrates to customers that you'll treat their data with respect and won't over-communicate with them.

Become GDPR Compliant

If you're looking to become GDPR compliant, the Cyber Essentials certification is a good way to start. Cyber Essentials is a simple but effective, Government backed scheme that will help you to protect your organisation, whatever its size, against a whole range of the most common cyber attacks.