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GDPR and the REAL impact on business

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has taken the world by storm, sending non-compliant firms into a panic, and causing many a board meeting, as shareholders scramble to avoid the dreaded €20 million ($23 million) fine.

Since the deadline on May 25th, the business sphere has gone eerily silent on GDPR, as Europe awaits the first mega-fines. The tightest ever data protection rules are here to stay – and they’re having a huge impact on how business operates.

Laying down good data habits

The impact of the GDPR deadline will vary hugely between businesses. For corporations with already-sharp data processing methods, GDPR is simply a new framework, updating decades-old guidance. For the worst offenders, the regulation has forced a drastic change in how products operate, and how data is used to generate profits.

Internal business structures are changing – cloud management has sharpened, and more time is taken to manage these tools. Cloud systems are no longer treated simply as expendable tools for working collaboratively, and executives are recognizing the importance of regular servicing.

With potential fines lurking on the horizon, businesses are realizing the need to use risk management templates to minimize the chance of a data breach. Though public confidence was always a motivator, few things spark motivation like the threat of a crippling fine.

Fines could amount to €20 million or 4 percent of global turnover – whichever is greater. Even for small data breaches, fines are likely to reach into the millions, so all smart businesses are reducing risk by refreshing their data habits.

The hidden benefits:

For organizations with intelligent data processing methods already in place, the new regulation holds a number of hidden benefits. Providing additional advisory services to less savvy clients offers promising opportunities.

GDPR is also the perfect opportunity to run a data cleanse, for desktop minimalism that can clear headspace. Because GDPR is changing internal business structures and operations, it offers the opportunity to refresh business efficiency.

Clean, organized operations have always been good for business growth – and now businesses can showcase them to build a trusted public image.

The economic cost of GDPR

GDPR comes with a price tag – and this goes beyond the sizeable fines.

Concerns have been mounting about SME survival in light of potentially business-crippling fines, in part due to a chronic skills shortage in the field of cybersecurity.

Beyond the fines, the day-to-day costs of operating under GDPR are significant. A PwC survey finds that 68 percent of U.S. based organizations anticipate GDPR compliance will cost them $1 to $10 million. But, implementation costs vary hugely by business size, meaning efforts to comply should be affordable, regardless of business size.

So, how will these costs and benefits weigh up? The answer depends on the priorities of the global business. If citizens value privacy, the economic implications may be a small price to pay.

In the 21st century, private data is likely to become an asset of ever-increasing value. This is perhaps why less than a third of American IT experts think GDPR goes far enough to protect data. 

GDPR and cyber attacks

If you are running a business with an online presence, for instance, a managed hosting service, retailing or credit monitoring do not delay in reworking your data collection, storage, and usage.

Moreover, watch out for a new ransomware attack called “RansomHack” targeting companies and threatening to expose user data online – In the attack, hackers threaten to publish the entire content of the database, containing personal data records, on a public server, that according to GDPR, means that the company will be severely fined.

The ransom varies from $ 1,000 to $ 20,000, while the fines for companies that the new regulation envisions account for 4% of the global annual turnover for the previous year or up to 20 million euros. Therefore, remember, GDPR will certainly change the business world, but this may be a necessary step into the digital future.

Image credit: Depositphotos

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