GDPR: Compliance to commitment

Tips for organisations wanting to build a sustainable data protection foundation for their business in the face of new regulation.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is both a game changer and an opportunity for businesses. Anticipated to be a major disruptor and a lot of hard work, restructuring and planning will be required for organisations to ensure they are prepared. It’s therefore critical that when planning for the new legislation, compliance is not seen as a temporary fix, or businesses will be put at risk.

Nothing is permanent except change

In business, the only certainty that can be counted on is the imminence of change. As companies needs evolve with time, new processes, data and systems are brought into play. Therefore, businesses should be embracing this opportunity. How? By implementing long-standing policies and processes that will form the foundation of any changes for new regulations.

>See also: GDPR compliance: what organisations need to know

This foundation will ensure that businesses can validate absolutely everything in a way that is fit for GDPR as we know it today, and for future changes in legislation. Despite the sizeable challenge this presents, fast paced change requires clear policies and stable processes which form a reliable information base to generate key decisions from.

Privacy by design

The need to avoid a temporary solution becomes even more important when considering the ‘privacy by design’ approach. Under the new legislation, this refers to the technical and organisational measures that companies handling data must adopt to minimise the processing of personal data.

When implementing new processes, companies have to consider all the personal data they hold. This means that data protection becomes engrained in a project from the very start. As companies appear more transparent, they will reap the benefits from developing and sustaining trusted relationships with their customers.

Unsurprisingly, it can seem like a minefield, thanks to the increasing amounts of data available. This can make it seem near impossible to avoid designing a solution-based methodology for GDPR.

>See also: Only 43% of organisations are preparing for GDPR

However, it is in fact possible. To develop a privacy by design approach, a cultural change is required. By bringing together the relevant people, processes and tools, a collaborative approach creates an information-based platform on which to base key decisions. By sharing the platform across the wider business with key stakeholders and shareholders, a more uniform methodology enables for more informed decision-making.

From compliance to commitment

In a world in which personal data is growing and becoming much more accessible, it may seem like a lot of work to get this ready for just one regulation. However, clearer processes will make the everyday running of the business easier. So, how do businesses move from compliance to commitment?

Of course, getting complaint must be seen as an integral part of an organisation’s every day process. From hiring a data protection officer, to encouraging employees to conduct business in a safe way, getting compliant is a company-wide issue. In fact, there is a real business opportunity in an organisation’s willingness to engage and see GDPR as a positive chance to enhance your competitive advantage.

>See also: Practical steps to deal with the GDPR

But, to rise to the challenge and be committed, companies must prove they can manage data ethically and sensitively. This shouldn’t be seen as a box ticking exercise to keep in line with the law, but a choice to conduct good business practice. With commitment, comes accountability and each business should be able to confidently show their investment into the fundamentals of privacy.

By getting data protection right now, it could be the shining example for all data planning, protection and strategy in the future. Ultimately, by putting the hard work in now, this will be a time saving tool for the future.


Sourced from Matt Smith, CTO, Software AG

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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