When business owners look at the privacy laws being promulgated all over the world, they wonder: how and why am I going to comply with these, and what is the benefit to me?
These laws enable you to look at data privacy, and managing privacy, with a new eye. The data and personal information your business holds about clients is a precious resource. It belongs to them and shouldn’t be taken for granted because clients can remove your permission to use it at any time. This means that you’re a custodian of their information and should manage it carefully.
If you do manage personal information in compliance with privacy laws there are many benefits, and I’d like to outline a few:
1. You’ll establish trust
If you clearly state what you’re doing with the information gathered (via your privacy notice) your customers will understand exactly how you’re using their data and you’ll then be able to build a relationship of trust in terms of data custodianship. In this era of fake news, data breaches, cybercrime and vulnerabilities, more and more companies and individuals will choose to do business with trustworthy companies that manage personal data properly.
2. You’ll be able to extend your business opportunities
By being compliant you’ll be able to extend your reach to large companies, organisations and governments. These institutions will require your business to be compliant with privacy laws before they’ll even think of doing business with you. The reason for this is that you’d be exchanging personal information with them and, as such, you’d both be responsible for data breaches. Would you subcontract the processing of personal data to a company that’s not compliant under these circumstances? Probably not.
An example is a cloud-based CRM provider with worldwide clients who uses the CRM service to communicate with European customers. Should the cloud-based CRM service provider suffer a data breach compromising the data of individuals in Europe, both the CRM provider and the company using its service will be jointly legally liable and potentially fined under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
So, the key is to be compliant and to ensure you have an agreement with your service providers to confirm their compliance. You’ll then be protected against their breaches.
3. You’ll make your employees feel comfortable
Privacy laws also cover the personal information of employees. If your business is compliant your employees will know that you’re taking care of their personal data and ensuring its confidentiality when necessary. The physical and mental health status of employees is often disclosed to HR departments and the misuse and irresponsible dissemination of this information can cause extreme harm to an individual. Your organisation needs to ensure that controls, procedures and policies are in place so this doesn’t happen.
In conclusion: If you’re compliant you’ll create an environment of trust for both clients and employees, and you’ll ensure that subcontractors are properly controlled. It’s obvious then that the benefit of compliance is a more competitive and robust business going forward.
The use of personal data-use needed a rethink. You now need to ensure that you implement proper privacy management and compliance in your business.