5th March 2018

GDPR is coming. 25th May 2018

A date and a four-letter abbreviation most of you are probably tired of seeing, hearing or listening about.
Whether we like it or not it’s coming. Like Christmas (yes I’ve said it already) it will be here sooner than we think and potentially most people won’t be prepared for it (like me at Christmas. Every year.)

Whether we like it or not it’s going to affect us all, business owners, employers, organisations, charities and one aspect I think we forget, as individuals.
All the noise around fines, criminal convictions, data breaches, cyber-attacks, accountability and you must do this or else the big stick will come out, why isn’t there more focus on what is actually good about GDPR? All of the above can happen and of course, you want to take steps to prevent it but what are the potential benefits of GDPR?

As a business owner, senior manager or anyone else ultimately responsible for data handling in a company or organisation it’s difficult at times to view things from the individual’s point of view.

So from an individual’s point of view, these are some of the benefits. It will place more emphasis on companies/organisations having better data security and data controls in place. The less likely your data will fall into the wrong hands. Your data will only be used for purposes you agree to. Companies/organisations won’t be able to use it, for example, to market to you through email/phone/post or online unless you explicitly agree. You can ask companies/organisations to remove/delete all information they hold on you which they must confirm they have done (there are exceptions to this). Peace of mind. If a company/organisation is GDPR compliant you can assume they will be doing what they can to make sure your data is safe, is processed appropriately and won’t be misused.

From a business/organisations point of view, these are some of the benefits. It will provide your staff/customers/clients/suppliers and stakeholders with the assurance you’re doing what you can to protect and process their data in the right way. It provides an opportunity to review your data processes and identify areas for improvement and streamlining. There is the potential to reduce the burden of data storage. Old files taking up unnecessary room on servers or within filing cabinets which could be put to better use and there may be potential cost savings. If you don’t need it, why are you keeping it? Increased awareness among staff. Staff are one of the biggest data risks, they may lose data, give it out incorrectly, store it incorrectly and not be fully aware of GDPR and your data processes. Training will improve their buy-in and decrease the risk to companies/organisations.

GDPR should not be bought into because of the negatives but because of the benefits to everyone and every company/organisation. Besides, if you don’t maybe that big stick we discussed earlier may come out.

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