Belfast Telegraph

Why GDPR may actually benefit your company


By Dawn McKnight, Partner, Carson McDowell

It has been heralded as the biggest legal change of the digital age and many businesses have looked ahead to the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25 next year with trepidation and, in some cases, outright frustration.

However, there are many positives which can be taken from the changes if you choose to take a ‘glass half full’ approach.

It is true that by the time the EU-wide law comes into full effect businesses will have had to spend significant time, energy and resources ensuring that they are compliant with the strong requirements on how personal data, whether of customers, suppliers or employees should be protected.

Those changes can’t and won’t take place overnight, particularly for those who will have significant adaptations to make at every level of their organisation.

Work must begin in earnest now if your business wants to avoid the hefty fines.

Most businesses by now have heard these warnings time and time again, but sometimes a carrot works better than a stick as a tool to inspire and motivate.

So where lies the carrot in GDPR?

Technology now plays an integral role in almost every business, and the data garnered largely as a by-product of its use has the potential to play an even greater role in driving efficiencies and guiding overarching strategies.

Data allows you to understand your customers, to see what makes them tick and what drives their decision-making.

This data is important to you as a business owner but it is also important to the individuals concerned.

It is absolutely right that consumers should have ownership of the digital fingerprints they leave behind in their online wake.

If you put yourself in the position of a consumer as opposed to a business owner, you would want the same robust ability to control your own data security, the degree of monitoring you are subjected to and the privacy which you can enjoy.

By looking at things from the perspective of the consumer, your perception of GDPR as a business should change.

GDPR will become the minimum standard of compliance that you will want to achieve to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations.

At the end of the day, we are all consumers and keeping the consumers at the heart of your efforts to get GDPR ready is the carrot which will motivate and inspire business owners to approach the changes with creativity, innovation and a renewed sense of optimism at the lessons which can be learned, the expectations which can be exceeded and the opportunities which lie ahead.

  • Dawn McKnight is a partner in the commercial department of law firm Carson McDowell

Belfast Telegraph

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