GDPR is AN OPPORTUNITY not a threat

After May 2018 your business will fall into one of two groups. You will either be GDPR compliant, which will enable you to continue to use your customer data to market your products and services. Or you will be in a group that finds itself unable to use its data for fear of getting hit with some very large fines by the Information Commission Office.

Many businesses are still unaware of this new legislation, and many more, even if they are aware, have not taken steps towards compliance. This will create a clear competitive advantage for GDPR compliant companies. There will be a cost to becoming compliant, but when compared to the fines that will be inflicted (up to 4% of your company’s turnover) these costs are minimal.

The quicker you become compliant, the bigger the advantage.

GDPR is all about data – your data. It’s one of your assets and you should look after it the way you look after and maintain your other assets.

The way data is used today has surprised everyone. When the Data Protection Act was created, we didn’t have Facebook, Loyalty cards, or a million other things we take for granted today. Many of these things take our personal data in exchange for free apps, discounts, or free information. 

Consider how many times you have given away your email address, name or other personal information in the past twelve months. It is staggering how much personal information that we have willingly released. 

Realising this and realising that this personal information is being passed around and traded across the world, the UK - as part of the EU - championed a new set of regulations to safeguard personal data. 

These new regulations come into force in May 2018. It means better safeguards for us all as individuals. All organisations need to take some steps to make sure that they remain on the right side of the law.

The benefits of complying are three fold…

1. It provides an opportunity to get your data in order – and better data means better return on marketing spend.

2. Staying on the right side of the law avoids the risk of damaging your brand.

3. You avoid the massive fines that are going to be imposed on those organisations that do not comply.

What you need to do depends on what type of organisation you are and how you currently use data. Hopewiser is here to help and provide you with free, independent advice on the best way to make the most of the opportunities which GDPR provides. 

What about Brexit? 

There are some who believe that as this is an EU regulation, it won’t apply to the UK when we leave the EU.

It will. For the following reasons… 

We don’t leave the EU until 2019 at the earliest, the regulations come into effect in 2018.

The UK’s data protection body, the ICO, was instrumental in the formation of the new regulations. This was an EU regulation that we actually wanted and pushed forward, so the UK Government and the ICO think it’s a great idea. 

The final and biggest reason is the Great Repeal Bill. The repeal bill, which will come into effect when we leave the EU, actually puts every bit of existing EU law into UK law. You can find out the how and why from the repeal bill elsewhere, but this means that GDPR will be enshrined in UK law.

If you deal with the personal data of any EU citizens and want to market goods or services inside the EU, then the new General Data Protection Regulations (or GDPR for short) apply to you. And if you think that it won’t apply in the UK because of Brexit, well the organisation that polices the GDPR in this country – the ICO – have already said that it will be part of post-Brexit UK law. Even if that wasn’t the case with more than 3 million non-British EU citizens in the UK, your databases probably contain EU nationals anyway.

What do we mean by personal data? Well, that could be an email address, a postal address or a name and job title. Basically anything that can be used to identify you as an individual. It will include your customer databases, CRM systems, new business lists and lapsed customers. 

It applies if you collect, hold, process or transfer data. So, if you deal with any sort of personal data, the new GDPR will apply to you.

Now the good news here is that many, many companies simply will not have the sorted their data out by the time GDPR comes into place, which means that they either continue illegally and face huge fines – or they simply can’t use their data. If you are one of the few who sort out your data, then you are at a clear competitive advantage.

About Hopewiser

Hopewiser has been cleaning data for customers since 1982.  We supply embedded software, cloud services and bureau services.  For more information visit www.hopewiser.com/gdpr

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