It’s nearly one year since the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into effect.  Amazingly the world didn’t come to an end and businesses are miraculously still trading and marketing…!

In the build up to 25th May 2018 we all witnessed a distinct influx of emails from businesses asking if their clients and subscribers were still happy for them to hold their data as well as business owners frantically searching the internet to find a Privacy Policy and checking the various systems they use on a day to day basis to ensure they were compliant with the new regulations.

So, was it all a worry over nothing?

In a word, no.  The ICO clearly had a large backlog to get through but the news went crazy with reports of companies, including the likes of Facebook, receiving the maximum £500,000 fine for failing to protect users’ personal information.  Those businesses that had got their ducks in a row on GDPR were right to have done so.

What’s changed?

Most noticeable is that business owners have become more ‘aware’ of their responsibilities when it comes to GDPR.  When making decisions they are now consciously planning and considering the impact & implications of GDPR and making sure they have the relevant processes needed to ensure they keep their customer data safe and secure. 

Quite frankly, we think this is amazing!

In a digital age where there is a heavy reliance on smart devices, computers and laptops to store information, communicate and complete transactions (which are happening all the time across the world), there is a much greater risk of threats such as hackers, viruses and data breaches occurring.

The data a business holds could arguably be their most valuable asset.  Without this information, how would businesses contact potential leads and customers, engage with them, sell to them and keep them up to date?

So, what have we learned from the whole GDPR panic?

Compliance is an ongoing exercise

As with any legislation, policies and processes within your business need to change and adapt with the times and it’s therefore imperative to stay up to date with developments by regularly reviewing your legal obligations.  For GDPR this includes regularly reviewing and removing data you are holding, as well as reviewing the systems you are using.  In particular, those with ‘Privacy Shields’ – just because they were compliant when GDPR launched, doesn’t mean they are still compliant now.

Reassurance is important

As well as business owners becoming more data savvy, consumers have also become more aware of the fact they’ve historically not known who was holding what data about them.  This could leave anyone feeling a little uneasy.  Its so important to ensure not only that you are reviewing your data on a regular basis and how secure it is, but also that your privacy policy and your customers are kept up to date with what you are doing.  Transparency is key!

Embrace the change

A lot of business owners thought the idea of GDPR and having to delete large amounts of data was going to be the end of their business. 

Here at TWVA we saw the brighter side (you can read more in our blog ‘GDPR will have a positive impact on your business’).  We saw it as the perfect chance to conduct a ‘data hygiene’ of our Client’s businesses and help them remove all the old data they no longer needed. 

After all, what’s the point of having thousands of email addresses sitting on your list when they clearly aren’t interested and don’t open your newsletters!?  It’s much better to focus your time and efforts on a smaller list to nurture across the line!

If you want to find out more about GDPR, we recommend you visit the ICO website for more information.

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