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GDPR – Why Should I Worry? Protect Your Business by Protecting Customers

Gdpr checklist image for article about data privacy protection

While designed to protect the data privacy of EU citizens, and harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is reshaping the way organizations approach data protection globally. Whether or not your business is based in the U.S. or abroad, you should care, and understand that to protect your business, you must protect your customers.

Consumers are increasingly concerned about who has access to their data and are now empowered to take back control of their information. For many, the Facebook data scandal has opened our eyes to how little control we actually have over our information – and educated consumers are demanding data protection.

We need to rethink how we acquire and manage consumer data, and any business using enterprise software needs to be accountable for how information is being processed, transported or shared. Computers, mobile phones, or any device that touches personal identifying information (PII) needs to be protected at all costs.

With or without GDPR, consumers demand that their data is protected and under their control.

The essence of GDPR is really to address the data management and control for individual consumers, and the businesses who have been collecting their information are now being held accountable. Each user needs to know what information is being used, they need to control the access to their data, and they need to have the option to delete and remove data – all in the context of privacy and control.

Peace of mind for businesses, clients and families

Regardless of new regulations, there is a growing mandate from today’s consumers for secure “shared information” management tools. In the universe of enterprise technology courting clients with convenience, security cannot be sacrificed. Clients want control of their information, and they want to control who is seeing it. Permission-based sharing, layered encryption and unique user encryption keys are just a few of the multiple layers of privacy and security protocols among the elements tech applications must employ to truly safeguard a client’s information.

Enterprise solutions that can be integrated with existing CRMs, can not only enhance the utility of other tech tools but also streamline the exchange of information with clients. Consumers want peace of mind and connectivity – regardless of where in the world they live and which governmental “big brother” is responsible for compliance.

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework was designed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and European Commission to provide companies on both sides of the Atlantic with a mechanism to comply with EU data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union to the United States in support of transatlantic commerce. The Framework may help bigger companies, especially, since it provides a distinct process to claim GDPR compliance. With the Department of Commerce committed to enforcing requirements and facilitating cooperation with the European DPAs (data protection authorities), participating companies will have clarity whether or not they are GDPR compliant, which helps them and helps to provide peace of mind for consumers. Otherwise, how do we truly know? Consumers may find it increasingly difficult to trust companies who police their own data protection practices.

However, compliance is really only the report card for the diligence which should already exist surrounding how we collect, store and process data. And we must remain vigilantly aware of our industry’s reputation. After years of the unregulated introduction of solutions, apps and gadgets that produced time-saving and life-changing progress, the realization that someone else owns our information has negatively turned the tide of perception. Consumer mood now ranges from general wariness to outright distrust.

So where do we go from here? Technology is now omnipresent and there is no turning back. All aspects of our lives depend on technology and we benefit from the analysis of data. The exchange of information, quickly and seamlessly, is now integral to the daily fiber of our personal lives. Thankfully, security has taken centerstage, with Pandora’s box filling our review mirror. Globally, technology providers have been put on notice to protect their customers, and give them back control, at all costs.

In the United States we have a golden opportunity. We are about to witness the largest transfer of wealth in our nation’s history. With more than $30 trillion to be passed from Baby Boomers to their children over the next two decades, we can expect that tech that helps bridge the generation gap and improves inter-generational marketing will prosper. Businesses will continue to look for ways to enhance customer engagement through technology, while reassuring the raised-on-digital rising consumers that they are in control of their information. New tech will need to provide the secure anytime, anywhere access today’s consumer demands, while increasing personal interactions through the ability to collaborate and communicate securely. Fortunately, there are some technology providers that are already leading the way in building trust with consumers.

New introductions will need to integrate with the technologies people are already using and provide consumers with control of their own data. Isn’t that the trinity that consumers have always wanted from their technology in the first place – convenience, control and security?

Protect your business by protecting your customers and, we can successfully ride the wave together.

About the author

CHRIS WONG

CHRIS WONG

Chairman and CEO of LifeSite. Chris is a successful veteran entrepreneur and highly regarded strategist in the enterprise software industry. From business planning to capital investing, he has advised some of Silicon Valley's most successful tech companies, and his leadership credentials include Ooyala, Agile Software, PeopleSoft and his first start-up SkillsVillage.com. Chris is committed to making LifeSite the trusted leader in delivering smart and safe digital information solutions.

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