GDPR Compliance: Five ways the new data laws will affect your business

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017


It’s less than a year now until all businesses processing the personal data of any EU resident have to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The new regulations comes into force two decades after previous laws were put in place to safeguard the privacy of individuals and their identities. A lot has changed in that time, especially in terms of data use. GDPR compliance will affect your business and IT functions in more ways than simply creating more administration and forcing current business processes to adapt. Here are five key ways in which your business will be affected by GDPR compliance:

  • Privacy impact assessments (PIAs) will become mandatory

PIAs are a systematic process that helps organisations identify risks when it comes to the collection and use of personal data. Data controllers will have to conduct PIAs in the case that privacy breach risks are high so that there are minimised risks to data subjects. When these risks are identified, GDPR expects organisations to come up with strategies to address them. The assessment should be done before your business starts processing personal data.

  • GDPR compliance will force businesses to operate with a data-centric, rather than an application-centric mindset

The scope of the GDPR is far greater than its predecessor, the Directive. Not only are penalties for non-compliance greater, but territorial scope is larger, conditions for consent have been strengthened, and individuals can request that their personal data is transferred from one data controller to another—to name but a few changes. These more stringent data compliance requirements will force all departments within an organisation to make data (rather than applications) a main consideration when innovating and changing processes. This can only be a good thing, considering what an important commodity data has become for businesses to remain competitive.

  • As well as becoming more data-centric, business will become more customer-centric too

Armed with more detailed data about customers and better access to it, organisations will be able to shape business activities around their customers. Because data amassed from different sources (such as CRMs, market research and legal documents) will need to be pooled into a single repository (as mentioned in point one), business will be able to achieve a better picture of the trends that will inform business decisions and, as a result, business processes. Why is this good news for business? Because customers expect experiences tailored to them—thanks to GDPR compliance requirements, your business will be able to provide these.

  •  Data security measures will need to become more severe, resulting in fewer data breaches

Another main change in the GDPR is the protocol for reporting data breaches. Businesses will be required to report any data breaches to a data protection agency and to affected individuals within 72 hours of noticing the breach—or face penalties. The pressure to report breaches will force organisations to ramp up their data security efforts. Reinforced data security efforts will allow your organisation to circumvent disruptive data breaches that cause havoc to internal processes and can potentially damage business reputation.

  • You may be required to hire a data protection officer

If your business’s core activities involve the regular processing of personal data or monitoring of large numbers of data subjects, you will be required to hire a data protection officer (DPO). Depending on the size of your organisation, hiring an additional staff member might not seem like too much of a major change, but will entail substantial training of the DPO in all your business processes. And according to the International Association of Privacy Professionals, this new GDPR requirement will elicit the hiring of 28,000 professionals across Europe and the USA.

Is your organisation ready for the GDPR? If you’d like more information on how a SAP data management strategy can help you become ready for compliance contact us.