Look beyond the negative – spot the opportunity!

For those businesses which hoped data privacy and the GDPR was just a momentary flash in the pan like Y2K / the Millennium Bug, there’s bad news. For unlike the transition from 1999 to 2000 data protection is not a moment in time, but an evolutionary development in society’s increasing use of data. And like any evolutionary change, some will adapt, and some do it faster than others; whilst some either can’t accept the need for change, instead preferring to hark back to the “good old days,” or they simply can’t change fast enough and get left behind. One group flourish, whilst the other dwindles to extinction. Which is your business, an “early adopter,” or the one which will be late to the party?

If you don’t believe me and still think data protection is a load of unnecessary old baloney; well check out what the tech giants are up to. In the last week Facebook, in the guise of Mark Zuckerberg, came out in favour of further government intervention and regulation of privacy and Apple has launched a television advertising campaign promoting the privacy credentials of their latest iPhones. Whilst Microsoft’s CEO has gone as far as suggesting that privacy should be a human right.

The cynics are already gathering. Comment suggesting that Facebook isn’t really serious and is merely jumping on this issue as the lesser of two evils, preferring greater regulation over privacy to calls to break up its increasingly monopolistic position may be true. But stop for a moment, don’t get dragged into the details of this argument, but focus on the bigger picture. Of all of the issues Mark Zuckerberg, (and Tim Cook at Apple, as well as Satya Nadella at Microsoft) could pick, why focus on data privacy.

Many businesses simply see data protection / information security / the GDPR as a negative compliance headache. Something which merely increases costs with not positive contribution to the business’s bottom line. Well they’d be wrong and its not just the corporate giants who have spotted the opportunity. Politicians and smaller businesses have spotted it too. The key word is TRUST.

The public is taking a greater interest in what organisations do with their data. They’re becoming more “data aware.” We see businesses increasingly in receipt of Subject Access Requests and complaints where customers feel their data has been abused, or at least misused. Often the data subject’s issue is unfounded and if responded to fairly but robustly by an organisation, which understands the GDPR and is therefore confident in its response, the issue can be nipped in the bud. But often the casualty is trust. Okay, so where consumers have no choice but to engage with a business they don’t wholly trust, they will still do so, however reluctantly. But if they feel your competitor is more trustworthy in their use of data………. then you’ve just lost a customer. Data protection and information security is fast becoming a product / service differentiator.

Some businesses have spotted the opportunity and are making data security a key facet of their offering. And they have turned to the team at Millbridge, with their expertise in this area, to help them turn aspiration into reality.

Oh, and one final thought……. Building trust does not just extend to customers. Given the regulatory requirement to conduct data protection due diligence on suppliers and business partners, businesses need to demonstrate their security credentials to engender trust in their B2B relationships too. So, how can your business achieve this quickly, simply and at relatively low cost? Get in touch to find out more………

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