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Getting ready for data protection changes

Getting ready for data protection changes
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10-minute read

Getting ready for data protection changes

Are you ready for change?  
 
The way we handle data is evolving. So what can your brand do to keep up? 
 
Imagine the world 20 years ago - it was a pretty different place. There was no Google. No social media. No apps. It was a time where online content was just getting started. 
 
But the growth of technology has fundamentally changed how we all communicate with one another. Today, most of us use smartphones to communicate and carry out daily tasks, and the expansion of digital communications has led to most of our data being stored online. 
 
While advancements in technology are designed to make our lives easier, they also present a whole host of privacy and data management issues for both companies and consumers. The volume of data available today is huge when we compare it to 20 years ago. This combined with the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) means that organisations now need to start seriously assessing how they are storing and interacting with their data.
 
Keeping control of information
 
Data comes from everywhere; online content, social media, and mobile phone GPS signals are just a few of the sources. All of this can make it incredibly difficult for companies to keep track of data and protect it and it can have an impact on consumer behaviour. The last ICO survey revealed that 75% of adults in the UK don’t trust businesses with their personal data. And the statistics show there’s good reason for the lack of faith - in 2005 there were an estimated 150 reported large data breaches and in 2016 that number increased to 850. 
 
At the recent National Digital Leaders Conference #ND17, the president of @techUK, Jacqueline de Rojas, highlighted that 11.5% of all international data flows through the UK. Moving forward, an important consideration for the UK economy will be making sure the nation meets or exceeds data EU standards. So with the GDPR approaching and so much data to handle, how can UK businesses prepare and improve their data handling? 
 
Getting ready for the GDPR
 
Big changes are on the horizon, with the upcoming GDPR set to come into play in May 2018. The GDPR will apply to any company that processes personal data from European citizens or residents. It will protect personal data relating to a range of topics - from health and genetics to race and biometrics. Any organisation that handles the data of people living in the EU will have to comply with these regulations and those that don’t could face significant fines of up to 4% of their global annual revenue. 
 
What can your business do today?
 
For digital brands and eCommerce businesses, getting to grips with the new regulations is essential, especially for those that store sensitive customer details and payment information. If you’re just starting to think about the changes, head to the ICO website. The site has plenty of advice, including a handy twelve-step plan on how to prepare for the changes in data legislation. 

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