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A Guide to GDPR Implementation

It’s been more than a year since the GDPR went into effect. However, many companies still struggle with complying with the requirements on a technical, operational or strategic level. GDPR implementation isn’t optional for anyone collecting, storing or using data of people within the EU. Your business needs to implement the necessary systems, policies and procedures to fulfill the requirements and continually comply with this regulation.

GDPR Compliance Solutions & Services

GDPR Basics

Let’s start from the beginning – what is GDPR and why did the EU adopt this regulation? GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and it’s designed to address data protection and privacy concerns of individuals in the EU.

It’s no secret that many businesses have access to more customer data than they could possibly have imagined a decade ago. Countless types of data collection systems and sensors generate first-party data, publicly available information through social media networks adds more sources, and third-party data providers expand this even further.

Many free services monetize their business model by leveraging the data that they collect from end-users, marketing and sales teams personalize campaigns to a hyper-targeted degree, and the C-suite leverages data for their strategic decision-making.

As Big Data and AI technology influenced how companies use this information and what they can do with it, it became clear that the uses were not all intended or consented to. The data protection measures in the GDPR give individuals greater control over the data they share with companies and to help protect people against the risks of data breaches. This regulation is also significant because it standardizes data protection throughout EU member states.

If you fail to comply with the extensive requirements surrounding customer consent, personal data storage and usage, data breach reporting, and ongoing compliance, you could face fines that go up to 20 million euros or 4 percent of your worldwide revenue (NOT profits). The GDPR does not hold back on consequences for mishandling personal data or customer consent.

The Roadblocks of GDPR Implementation

If you’re struggling with GDPR implementation, you may be running into one or more of the challenges below.

  • Being overwhelmed with the entire process: Many companies have to completely rethink and redo the way they collect and use customer data. This type of change doesn’t happen overnight, but change management plans may be rushed due to the urgency of compliance with GDPR.
  • Doing everything at once: This roadblock is another common issue, as companies try to implement GDPR measures in place in multiple systems at the same time. This approach can lead to a lot of inefficiencies, errors, and other difficulties.
  • Competing department priorities: Multiple departments have systems that deal with customer data, and they all have their own priorities. If everyone can’t get on the same page, then it’s difficult to create a cohesive strategy to move forward.
  • Data and systems have multiple owners: No one person is accountable for the data and systems in the organization. Trying to coordinate the necessary changes for preference and consent management become difficult, as you’re dealing with multiple departments, teams, and C-suite members.
  • Siloed data: Another issue pertains to where the data actually resides and the systems that access it. Many organizations use dozens or hundreds of applications, platforms, and storage locations. Multiple data silos make it difficult to hunt down all the customer data to verify that its collection was consented to, and that it’s being used in an approved way.
  • Aging systems: Your systems may be working against you due to their age. It may be difficult to access the databases or to look for the information that you need as part of your GDPR implementation efforts. They may not be connected with each other or require specialists to even get into.
  • Outdated policies: Your systems may be up to date, but if your policies are lagging behind then that doesn’t matter. You need to have these requirements implemented at a strategic and operational level, with buy-in from leadership, to make it work.
  • Lack of knowledge: If you don’t have people experienced with consent management in general or GDPR requirements in specific in your organization, then it’s difficult to ensure that you’re meeting everything that’s necessary to be considered compliant.
  • Performing impact assessments: You need to regularly check-in on your organization with impact assessments and other audits to confirm that everything remains GDPR compliant. This process takes up a lot of resources that you may not have available.
  • Adapting workflows to account for new data usage requirements: The current data collection, storage and usage workflows may be noncompliant with GDPR requirements. The way that people work and interact with personal data could change drastically, which leads to decreased productivity and potential employee disengagement.
  • Confirming current customer consent: Are you prepared to gather consent from your entire current customer base? You’ll have to go through and make sure that their former consent is applicable to the definition that GDPR uses.
  • Lack of budget: A GDPR implementation project is expensive and requires substantial resources to properly comply with the requirements. If you can’t get the funds allocated from leadership, then it’s an uphill battle to achieve compliance.
  • Difficulties aligning strategic, operational and IT leaders for data privacy measures: Everyone in these areas needs to work together for a GDPR compliant organization, as data protection is now the responsibility of people beyond the IT department.
  • Ensuring ongoing compliance: GDPR compliance requires an active, ongoing commitment to protecting personal data and confirming that your company is using it in ways that the customers consent to.
GDPR Compliance Solutions & Services

Essential GDPR Implementation Process

GDPR implementation has many moving parts and it’s common for companies to run into these roadblocks. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. We have broad experience across multiple industries in implementing preference and consent management technology solutions. Our implementations are not a band-aid solution, but a way to increase your customers’ trust, improve your return on investment, and generate higher long-term customer value.

We provide both strategy and implementation for an end-to-end service that sets your business up for success. Our project managers create and manage the plans that keep you on schedule with GDPR compliance and offers a robust preference management solution.

What Does Our GDPR Implementation Plan Look Like

We use proven methodologies, best practices and recommendations to develop a plan that’s customized for your company’s GDPR implementation requirements. GDPR gives you some flexibility in how you choose to comply. Some organizations opt for a bare-bones plan that meets the minimum to avoid fines, while others take this opportunity to use consent management as a way to engage on a meaningful level with their customers.

Once we understand your strategic vision for this consent and preference initiative, we can establish the plan that will lead to full GDPR compliance in your organization. A typical plan starts with addressing the smaller data silos in your organization to start with. We scale our efforts to larger silos until you have full data transparency and accountability.

We draw upon our expertise to guide you in where you should collect consent and the methods that you can use to do this. For example, we may help you choose the right time, such as when they’re making a payment or going to the website for the first time, and the channels to collect consent, such as through email or via texts.

Another area that we help with include the legal language that’s necessary for your consent notification and collection forms. We excel in combining the art and science of consent management, so our plan includes adapting the copy and design of your website to make customer eager to provide consent.

Throughout this process, we check in with stakeholders and customers to get direct feedback about the implementation process and whether there are areas that can be improved. We also work on training your staff so they understand best practices for consent management and receive the knowledge transfer necessary to succeed with ongoing GDPR compliance.

The processes that are put in place are collaborative in nature, which improves cross-functional stakeholder alignment throughout your organization. You get to avoid the common pitfalls listed above and have a rational, phased-deployment plan so you’re not changing every part of your organization at once for GDPR compliance.

GDPR compliance is too risky to handle yourself. You need an expert to guide you through this complicated legal landscape. With our implementation services, you can rest easy knowing that our team is handling the process. You could make the attempt to be GDPR compliant yourself to mitigate some of the fines, but is it really worth risking millions of Euros?

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