GDPR: a data opportunity

The clock is ticking - are you in the right frame of mind for the upcoming data challenge?

GDPR challenges

The clock is ticking. GDPR is just around the corner – but are you in the right frame of mind for the upcoming data challenge? Comma has put together this brief overview to help you ask yourself some poignant questions about how GDPR can work for you and your business.

If a customer called you tomorrow and said “I want you to delete all of the data you have on me from your system,” could you do it?

Your first thought might be, “yes, of course”, but take a step back for a moment. Would it really be as simple as deleting one centralised file from your system? You might have all your data stored in one place (if you don’t, we need to talk) but is that the only place that data is kept – or are there copies elsewhere?

This, essentially, is the crux of GDPR, and it’s a point that many businesses are missing in the confusion surrounding the new regulations coming into force this May. If you sieve away all of the opinion pieces and legal jargon, the purpose of GDPR is to protect our personal data and give all of us greater control over how our information is used, stored and removed.

Are you facing GDPR challenges?

Speak to our industry leading GDPR specialists today to get expert advice with any GDPR challenges you may be facing.

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GDPR opportunities?

There are a huge number of businesses approaching GDPR from a legal compliance angle, and compliance is obviously a big part of it. But GDPR is less a legal challenge than a data challenge. What’s more, it’s a data opportunity. 

In an increasingly data driven world, the more we know, the better we can run our organisations. It doesn’t matter what industry we are in: with data, we can improve our understanding of our customers, supply chain, marketing, products, purchases, results...the list goes on. 

Yet as we’ve said before, data is only as useful as the systems and people that process it. If we collect reams and reams of data, and don’t know what to do with it, it’s no use to us whatsoever. It is essentially in the dark. 

With GDPR comes a real reason to take a critical look at our data. The way we’re collecting it. The way we’re storing it. The way we’re using it. By addressing data inefficiencies from a GDPR perspective, we can also address how that data is working for us. It’s an opportunity to streamline and clean our data, resulting in reduced costs and better practices. Look at the data you have. Ask yourself:

  • Why do we have this data?
  • Is this data correct and useful to us?
  • How are we using this data across the business?
  • How are we collecting and storing data – and can we improve this?

Is that it?

Unfortunately, no. This has barely scratched the surface of GDPR, in terms of both the opportunities it can bring to your organisation and the challenges it presents. In our recent podcast, Comma MD Stuart Squires shared his view on GDPR: you can listen to what he had to say here or to discover how Comma can help with your GDPR challenges, visit our comprehensive section on GDPR.

In the meantime, here are a few key points to consider as you approach the GDPR deadline.

What data does GDPR cover?

It’s not just customer data: it’s any data you hold on an individual. They could be employees, former employees, suppliers, even clients.

Prove it

After “can you do it” comes the next question: “can you prove it?” It’s all well and good to delete data, but under GDPR you need to be able to give evidence that requested data has been removed from your records.

Beware shadow IT

It sounds dark and dangerous, but shadow IT is actually the fairly mundane practice of using IT systems and solutions that haven’t been approved at an organisational level. You may think that shadow IT isn’t in use in your organisation, but it’s very likely that it is, especially with the emergence of cloud solutions.

‘Unofficial’ apps, cloud drives and communication tools that are used by teams count as shadow IT – and under GDPR, they do become dark and dangerous. This is all data being stored outside of the known data structure of your business – and it’s potentially in breach of GDPR regulations.

Make sure that everyone in your organisation understands data and the importance of GDPR, to ensure that data stored in Shadow IT systems is brought back into the fold before May.

Speak to our GDPR experts

Data transformation can be the first step to making your business GDPR compliant – and keeping it that way. At Comma, we help you implement your Master Data Management solutions effectively across all areas of your business. To find out more about how Comma Group can help you contact us at [email protected].