With just a few months left until the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect, consumers should feel good about stricter rules for the handling and storage of their sensitive personal information.
GDPR establishes new rules about consumer consent, data privacy, breach response and breach reporting. Companies across the world that handle data of EU customers, regardless of where they’re located, must follow the new data protection guidelines starting in May or face financial penalties.
GDPR is not a punishment, however — far from it. The regulation will give many businesses the push they need to accomplish things they already want to do: fighting data corruption, preventing data breaches, minimizing the effects of breaches, and streamlining data storage and access to improve customer service.
BETTER DATA RECOVERY WITH GDPR
GDPR requires that organizations put a process in place to quickly restore any personal data that is lost or corrupted, no matter how it happened. The cause could be a data breach, an internal accident or an incident like a fire or flood.
This will cause every organization impacted by GDPR to examine exactly how and where their data is stored, develop a comprehensive data storage and recovery plan, and set procedures for notifying customers and regulators when data corruption or loss occurs — all things they already know are beneficial.
A well-thought-out plan for collecting, storing, using and recovering personal data benefits more than just the consumer; it protects the company’s reputation, assets and bottom line. The more security incidents a company can avoid, and the faster they become at responding to what’s unavoidable, the fewer branding, customer retention and financial repercussions they will face.
Since more than half of data breaches are caused by employees, companies will also need to look at their internal security practices and access controls. This includes educating employees on compliance and implementing the right technology to customize security settings and limit employee access.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AND OTHER DATA USE BENEFITS
All this attention to data practices has secondary benefits in addition to preventing data loss, corruption and breaches. It is poised to improve customer service by encouraging organizations to consolidate their data into a single platform, where it is easier to find and access.
Under the regulation, organizations are more likely to have every piece of information about a customer on hand when they interact with them, better positioning themselves to understand the customer’s needs, relate to them, anticipate problems, and communicate with customers in the way they prefer. Most companies understand that this centralized access to data is ideal for customer service, but it hasn’t always been implemented due to time constraints and complexity.
Organizations can also use this more streamlined, centralized data to make smarter and more informed decisions, as well as predictions about the future. For example, having quick and easy access to information about a customer’s previous purchases better positions companies to offer targeted deals or promotions.
None of this is revolutionary. Most companies have long been working toward the goal of streamlining their data for better customer service. GDPR may just be the catalyst to move companies closer to achieving that goal.
GDPR AND LANGUAGE TRANSLATION
In addition to cleaning up and streamlining their internal data practices, companies affected by GDPR need to work with third-party vendors who take data security seriously and are GDPR-compliant themselves.
This applies to any vendor that has access to a company’s sensitive data, including Language Solutions Partners (LSPs). When selecting vendors, it’s crucial to identify those that comply with the ISO 27001 information security management standard, which helps prevent data corruption.