Hand working with VR screen with padlock icon showing GDPR and privacy regulations

How GDPR Changed the Game for Enterprises

Personal devices have made it easier than ever to connect with one another, search the internet, and even pay for items at stores. However, now that we are living with all that convivence, how has it impacted our lives?  For one, it changed the way we think about our personal data. We are paying a steep price for convivence without regulations. Have you been involved in a breach or had personal information been sold to spam callers?

In the United States, there are currently no federal privacy laws in place to monitor and manage data. Therefore, companies haven’t been required to govern or understand the data they house. Because of this, the general population is misguided when it comes to their data rights, and companies struggle with compliance due to the lack of data management and governance practices.

Europe’s General Data Protections Regulation (GDPR) was the first mass data privacy law governing personal information, which seems to be a quasi-model for laws popping up in the US.

Breaking Down GDPR

Four years ago the European Union (EU) implemented GDPR, to unify the previously fragmented data protection laws across its member countries, and help stop the widespread sharing of personal data without the owner’s consent and knowledge.

So where are we now? In its short tenure, GDPR has made long lasting benefits to ensure customer privacy. It gives people the understanding of their rights, what personal data is kept in organizations, and has helped to increase trust within the customer community. The regulation has also benefited businesses, providing a foundation for building compliance structures within organizations.

Privacy is key for enterprises

For organizations to comply with these laws and maintain enterprise governance, they must create a data management and governance strategy. A proper data governance strategy should identify types of data, where that data is located, and create a retention policy for that data, allowing companies to better analyze employee-created data, or unstructured data, that lies in the information shared every day by humans. Unstructured data accounts for roughly 80% of all corporate data, yet it is often ignored.

However, processing this unstructured data comes with inherent risk to privacy laws. With the governing of privacy data, which ensures organizational compliance to the law, the risk can be mitigated while ensuring that both governance goals and privacy efforts are satisfied simultaneously. To truly manage/govern the risk, organizations must merge governance with analytical processes for privacy. This unified approach to data management and governance will ensure organizations are compliant with laws and internal strategic goals.

Four ways to be GDPR compliant

As companies work toward compliance to privacy laws and governance requirements, there are four ways for organizations to follow in GDPR footsteps:

  • Guarantee that all user-generated sensitive content is rightfully gathered
    • Identifying unstructured content early in the governance process is key to obtaining a better understanding of the data stored within an organization.
  • Ensure identified data is secure
    • Companies need to protect the data stored within their systems. This includes ensuring that any third-party service providers are also GDPR compliant.
  • Allow for data owners to request and delete data that is stored
    • If a user requests for data to be removed from the system, it is an obligation for the company to delete said information.
  • Create a model of governance to be used in self audits and risk analysis to ensure compliance
    • Regular, careful audits of the data held by businesses can avoid potential risks.

In Conclusion

Organizations must elevate their data management and privacy regulations to adhere to governance policies, which will align with privacy laws. This will enable the proper management and storage of personal data and avoid some of the ongoing privacy issues faced today.

The U.S. business environment has ignored these issues long enough and must implement a sound data management and governance strategy, as well as a system to manage that strategy. It’s time for the U.S. to assess the pros and cons of more extensive privacy regulation to provide enhanced data protection, like GDPR, which will ensure that as a nation there are legal requirements to manage and govern data. Elevating privacy to the national level will help us all understand our rights and what personal data is being used.