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Why It’s Best to Treat the GDPR as an Opportunity, Not an Obstacle

Your company should be ready by now for the new EU personal data protection regulations (GDPR), which goes into effect next month. And a brand or company that puts their customers' privacy first, must embrace the chances it brings along - to use data in a smarter way

Collecting and processing data comes with tremendous responsibilities. People want to trust that companies are doing the right things to keep their personal data secure. When you see that an organization failed to protect your data and prevent a breach, the impact directly hits the company’s bottom line, potentially resulting in the loss of customers and employees, a drop in share price, and other hazards of a tarnished reputation. Up until now, breaches were silent, and customers weren’t aware their data was stolen or misused, but soon, it will carry out even harsher outcomes.

Under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), individuals (European Union citizens) have many new rights, such as submitting a request that an organization ‘erase’ their personal data – hence, ‘the right to be forgotten.’ The new regulation refers to personal data collected by all European and non-European companies that store or process information on EU citizens. Think IP addresses and internet cookies.

The GDPR, which goes into effect on May 25, 2018, gives users more control over their personal data. And all companies that process EU resident data must be ready to comply. Non-compliance has severe, crippling consequences for any organization hinging its success on their user’s data quality – with fines starting at €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover (whichever is higher).

The regulation describes the particular types of security, IT and administrative activities that might be considered necessary for handling personal data, including pseudonymization, encryption, documentation and taking measures to ensure the integrity, confidentiality, availability, resilience, assessment and post-incident-recovery of processing systems and services.

Data, the Smart Way

From Optimove’s standpoint, protecting the consumer has always been a top priority. Among the reasons for data breaches was and is marketers and brands who misused the data. At the end of the day, GDPR is the consumer’s “right to be forgotten,” rightfully so. We all are consumers when we put on our private hats. And from both points of view, as a vendor and as customers, we believe that businesses that use data well will not be inundated by requests for erasure and can continue to provide elevated value to their consumers.

Preparing for the GDPR can force your company to make some much needed changes in the ways it communicates with customers. For us at Optimove, where user privacy is always front and center as a constant commitment, we see this as a unique opportunity to encourage our clients to embrace this motto – sharing data is not a bad thing. When you use data in a smart way, your customers will appreciate and even treasure your relationship with them.

Consider all of the times you unsubscribe from a newsletter or a service and try to think what caused you to opt out. Was the message not personalized, was the timing way off, or were you bombarded with irrelevant content and offers? This is what occurs when companies misuse your data. Simple as that.

The GDPR compliance is a chance for companies to improve their data protection and control and to put this new – ‘kosher’ – data to much better use. It’s an opportunity for improvement, for marketing teams’ excellence, for growth, and to make sure that all data is secure, protected and unthreatened. And this is exactly what we’ve been doing since we began our journey.

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