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It’s here. As of May 25, any organization doing business with customers, partners or vendors within the European Union will be expected to begin complying with the European Union’s landmark data privacy directive—the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Yet a new Forbes Insights/Treasure Data survey of 400 executives finds only a handful of organizations consider themselves ready to meet the mandate.
How To Succeed With GDPR
For all intents and purposes, GDPR can be considered a global regulation: It doesn’t matter if a business is based in the U.S., Japan or anywhere else—the GDPR “will also apply to organizations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, EU citizens or ‘data subjects’.” It applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, “regardless of the company’s location.”
With the May 25 deadline for enforcement finally here, it’s unsettling that only 6% of organizations surveyed by Forbes Insights consider themselves fully prepared to meet the requirements of GDPR, and that only 40% consider their organizations at least somewhat capable to handle the intricacies of the mandate.
When it comes to GDPR compliance, most organizations are challenged by fully understanding the requirements (cited by 65%), along with the need to ensure that appropriate customer data is encrypted and secure (61%). Internal processes also are being looked at, with 60% indicating they are challenged with shifting their marketing and sales tactics to be in line with the GDPR guidelines.
While the regulation is certainly complex, it is an opportunity for marketing organizations. With GDPR, companies now must take a hard look at how they’re managing customer data, and find new and better ways to manage data that enhances the customer experience. An added bonus is increased confidence on the part of customers that the privacy of their data is being respected.
So how can you succeed with GDPR? Here are five recommendations:
- Make the GDPR a business priority. Don’t leave the task of meeting the requirements of the directive solely to the compliance department. All leaders and decision makers across the enterprise need to be kept aware and knowledgeable of the implications of the GDPR, and what the company is doing to meet its requirements for data privacy and protection.
- Inventory the data your enterprise manages.Organizations need to be very aware of what data they have on customers, its lineage, who originates it, who manages it and how it is disposed. The GDPR provides an opportunity to better understand the nature of customer data currently maintained across various systems.
- Communicate openly with customers and end-users. Organizations need to keep their constituents—both internal and external—aware of their efforts to meet the letter and spirit of the GDPR. This helps instill confidence that customer data is being properly managed.
- Put someone in charge. Organizations should designate an individual, as well as a cross-enterprise team, to oversee the GDPR compliance effort and make sure all requirements are being met. Crucially, as mentioned above, this individual and team need to be fully engaged with the rest of the enterprise.
- Set up policies and procedures. Make sure there are guidelines to follow that ensure the right actions are taken to either remove or revise customer or user data as appropriate.
GDPR may be a European directive, but it affects organizations across the globe. In the process of complying with this set of data privacy and protection regulations, organizations have an opportunity to sharpen the management of one of their most precious assets—data—and significantly improve the customer experience.
For additional pragmatic GDPR-related tips and advice, check out the Marketer’s Guide to the GDPR, and keep an eye out for the full Forbes Insights/Treasure Data report in June.