The GDPR came into force in May 2018 and has often felt like something of a burden, especially to smaller businesses. Particularly due to the substantial fines that can result from a breach of the regulation, there is something of a culture of fear surrounding compliance. If you want to ensure that you don’t fall foul of the GDPR what can you do to make sure your financial service meets all the requirements?
What is the GDPR designed to do?
Effectively it was created to give consumers more control over their data and to ensure that businesses were better prepared to protect against a data breach and cyber attack. Any business that is handling or processing data could be vulnerable to attack and the requirements of the GDPR are intended to help ensure that an organisation is prepared. A security breach can have dire consequences for businesses of all sizes. Credit reference agency Equifax, for example, suffered a security breach in 2017 and is now facing more than 240 individual class action law suits.
Ensuring GDPR compliance
Every business will be different but these are some of the most common steps that your financial service can take to ensure that it is GDPR compliant.
- Review the way that you are processing data. Carrying out a risk assessment process on your data handling is a crucial element in ensuring compliance. Identify where your approach makes the business vulnerable and how security could be improved, both to ensure you’re meeting the requirements of the GDPR and also to minimise opportunities for attack.
- Be aware of the risks in terms of cyber security. These are new and change on a frequent basis. You should regularly review how they might affect your financial service and continue to upgrade protection and systems to take into account any new risks.
- Be ready to report any breaches. You should be prepared to report a security breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office within 72 hours of it occurring if you want to avoid problems arising under the GDPR.
- Don’t market without permission. One of the key rights that the GDPR introduced for consumers was being able to say no to marketing from businesses. This has meant that every organisation now needs to review the way existing databases are used. If you don’t want to face fines and complaints then it’s essential not to simply keep emailing the same people in your database. Instead. You’ll need to ensure that you get permission to email them – that each one has opted in to receive marketing communications from you – and that you update these preferences in case they opt out at any time.
Being GDPR compliant has benefits that go beyond avoiding the fines and reputational damage that can result from something like a cyber attack or security breach. It will also enable you to streamline your marketing and to start creating better relationships with customers and clients who are genuinely engaged with your business too.