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The upcoming General Data Protection Regulation is on every business owner’s mind, and for a good reason. With fines of up to 4-percent of a company’s annual revenue, it will pay to adhere to the rules. So, how can you safeguard your business when the changes finally come into play?
The first step in the process is understanding if you are – or are not – GDPR compliant. GDPR regulations cover every aspect of data collection and management, so this is a task in and of itself.
Verifying you have the necessary consent with up-to-date data records is the first step in understanding just how substantial a task you face. So, be prepared to sit down and check the current state of play and – once you have identified any issues – swiftly move onto the next stage.
Qualifying the problem is a mostly qualitative process. You have identified there are underlying issues, now you must gather the evidence around the type of difficulty you’re facing: this could cover several aspects of your data management, so start by reviewing what is wrong with the data records.
Once you have sight of what is wrong, move onto when the discrepancy is likely to have occurred, as this will be key in answering all follow-up questions. You then need to assess how far-reaching the issue is and to pinpoint where your solutions must focus. Finally, consider just how severe the problem is and whether you need specialist support.
Once you have this information on paper, gather your team to size the task accurately.
Establishing the extent of your concerns could be the most critical undertaking when rectifying the problem. You simply have to identify the full scale of your GDPR shortfall to avoid the potentially crippling fines associated with a lack of compliance. Once you have the scale established, it’s now about pinpointing those mission-critical aspects that will help you take significant steps to fixing your data.
As with most things in life, you will likely find that 20% of the causes are responsible for 80% of the symptoms. So, quantifying your biggest headaches will allow you to start tackling the brunt of your unease.
Moreover, the more accurately you measure the problem, the more methodically you can manage the remediation. A quantifiable approach is the only trustworthy means of guaranteeing a quick, efficient route to GDPR-compliant data.
The truth lies in the numbers, and once you have the detail down, you must accept the scale of the challenge. Every business is having to adapt their data collection routines as well as their data management architecture with each entity facing different problems but on a similarly weighty scale.
At least when you have the information to hand, you can start planning the most effective next steps. It is vital not to hide from the enormity of the challenge, instead to embrace the opportunity that awaits within thoroughly cleansed data.
The stage many businesses struggle with: how to tackle the issue once and for all. In truth, the process should mirror that of any project. With the right methodical setup, this is no more intimidating than a run-of-the-mill exercise.
First, define your organisational goals. Do you want a robust, new data architecture that is fully adaptable to your ever-changing requirements and can scale with your organisation? Or do you merely require a compliant dataset leaving no scope for a fine?
Second, take the answer to question one and establish how you will measure the outcome.
Integral to any GDPR-ready solution is an evolved strategy that focuses on the ongoing oversight of your updated data management policies – it is one thing cleaning data; it is an entirely separate subject ensuring ongoing compliance and a long-term, practical solution.
If you are investing both time and energy in updating your internal processes, be sure to maximise ROI by formulating a sound structure that will survive well into the future.
The last stage is getting your hands dirty. You have all the information at your fingertips; so, it’s a question of prioritising tasks.
As we mentioned before, some aspects will have a more significant impact than others; something you hopefully flagged in the quantifying stage. Stick to your project plan and methodically work through the identified issues, assessing progress against your measurement criteria and validating outcomes when you appear to have fixed a problem.
This is likely to be an iterative process as fixing one issue often gives rise to another. However, in following a clear structure, you will work through the majority of elements in a short amount of time and should have a fully GDPR-compliant data management solution long before the regulations kick in!