The Best Way to Future-proof Any Business

Future of GDPR global compliance isn't about penalizing organizations, it's about protecting the consumer

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By Gero Decker


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As we approach the first anniversary of European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it is important to remember that the future of GDPR global compliance isn't about penalizing organizations, it's about protecting the consumer.

It is about businesses having the technology and expertise to make the critical principles of trust and transparency the bedrock on which their organization is built—wherever in the world they are.

While we have seen examples of companies "pulling the plug" because of the complexities around GDPR implementation, Australian organizations are coming around to the view - albeit slowly - that customer data doesn't belong to them, it actually belongs to the customer; and that it is their responsibility to transform operations in order to respect data and privacy rights.

Privacy Matters

The GDPR is really only now revving up for action on behalf of the consumer. It positioned data handling and privacy as a human right, so for businesses worldwide there is no turning away from their obligations under it.

As the world continues to shine a spotlight on GDPR, cyber-attacks continue to skyrocket globally. In response, business executives are facing growing scrutiny over cybersecurity measures, and in response, risk and compliance management has become a critical part of operational and strategic decision-making, not just a tickbox exercise.

Ground Report

Businesses must have simple and transparent compliance systems in place that effectively map out processes against regulatory frameworks, such as GDPR, to give them full visibility of areas where they are handling data, what is required, the risks involved and how to lessen the impact these risks could have on the company at large.

By identifying where the risks lie in processes, businesses will enable employees to apply relevant controls. In cases where an incident has already occurred, businesses can extract value to report breaches, discover what processes are impacted, identify potential further risks and controls in place, or apply those controls where they don't already exist. Essentially, businesses can keep a log of recorded breaches to learn from, speeding up detection and configuring workflows to meet requirements based on the nature of the breach, as well as conduct analysis.

In fact, truly understanding processes is necessary for compliance. Companies that have addressed processes rather than limited their actions to simply protecting their database from breaches will be in a more defensible position. In other words, if an organization has made a "sufficient" effort to locate all the instances of the use of an individual's data, then even if the effort was not 100 per cent successful, the intent would be recognized.

Therefore, a lack of preparation around GDPR could and will prove disastrous for a company in 2019, costing them dearly. Just "meeting" the challenges of the GDPR's framework is not good enough. Businesses need to be prioritizing surpassing expectations and looking well into the future, because in addition to identifying and managing risk and compliance, the GDPR is about ensuring all employees are operating in accordance with a business' risk framework and that all projects are being completed in a compliant way.

In short, in today's digital age, robust and proactive risk and compliance management is a must to future-proof any business. GDPR is not a once off consideration. It requires ongoing analysis, constant testing of processes to monitor for potential breaches, as well as company-wide buy-in—ruling complacency out of the equation for Australian business leaders today.

Gero Decker

Co-founder and CEO, Signavio

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