What all global organisations need to know about GDPR

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 30 November 2017
What all global organisations need to know about GDPR

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into play in May 2018, impacting millions of organisations across the globe who will need to guarantee the privacy and integrity of individual’s data.

In a new LinkedIn post Jean-Philippe Courtois, Microsoft’s EVP and president for Global Sales, Marketing & Operations, has shared his thoughts about how the regulation can be used to commercial advantage. Here are his reflections on how to become compliant and – importantly how to use this legislation as a catalyst for positive change:

Manage your data like you manage your finances
Every business monitors their financial performance. If data is so valuable to a modern business, then why not maintain the same birds-eye-view of your data assets by building a robust governance strategy?

Begin by taking a comprehensive inventory of the data you possess. In doing so, you will see exactly what kind of data you’re collecting, where it sits, and why you have it. Doing this creates a strong foundation from which you can guarantee the greatest ROI from the data you have – in the same way that an overview of your financial assets enables you to make smart investment decisions.

Once you have established this baseline visibility, consider how to maintain it over time. Migrating to the cloud, or even a hybrid model, is one way to do this. However, before you choose a cloud provider, ask some key questions. Will you be able to monitor the flow of sensitive data? Can you revoke data access at any time? Make sure your cloud provider is committed to full transparency.

Create a culture of data confidence
Employees from across your business handle data every day. But how many realise how valuable it really is, and how it can help them connect with your customers more effectively? Fostering this understanding is vital to engaging employees in your approach to data governance. Educating employees will also help them to realise the importance of adequate data protection.

To ease this cultural shift, consider your approach to data governance within the context of a broader digital transformation. This will give your colleagues the confidence to explore new, sometimes experimental avenues for data utilisation. The GDPR was developed in part because in our digital era, people are demanding more control over their privacy before they trust technology. Cultivating this confidence, whether with employees or customers, is key to ensuring you’re making the most of data-driven, business-critical insights.

Think beyond compliance
Finally, don’t view the May 2018 deadline for GDPR compliance as a final destination. Too often organisations can get caught up in checking compliance boxes, rather than thinking longer term about the strategic implications of what new rules can enable. I believe it’s more helpful to see GDPR compliance as part of an ongoing journey towards realising the full potential of data-driven digital transformation. If you frame the discussion in this way, then establishing a firm approach to data governance represents one of the smartest investments a leader can make to truly harness the power of the industrial revolution 4.0. 

Find out more about how you can ensure GDPR compliance at the Microsoft GDPR online hub.  

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