from our leaders

Businesses feel the impact of GDPR... already

Businesses feel the impact of GDPR... already
Published: 15 August 2018

With businesses already feeling a strong impact of clients flexing their new-found data privacy muscles, it’s clear that the age of collecting, using and storing data about individuals any way you can is over.

This is the word from Wayne Borcher, COO of data specialists SSA, who urges South African business leaders to take GDPR as seriously as they must take the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI). “The intricacies of GDPR mean even collecting data about or dealing with a person of European nationality falls under the new regulations. This extends to dealing with customers from the EU online, or paying an EU citizen to do work for you,” he says.

“To combat the mega fines and loss of reputation your company could suffer due to negligence or ignorance of the law, we suggest you incorporate all data privacy rules and regulations when you take legacy data through the data hygiene process, or during routine maintenance and updating of current data.” Borcher says the importance of making sure your data is current cannot be overstated. “Not only do you need updated data to comply with regulation, but you cannot make good business decisions based on outdated data.

“It’s logical that only current, clean data can provide value for your business, and the real gold is not how much data you’re able to glean from various initiatives, but how accurate it is.”

Ensuring data integrity

Data integrity is about making sure the data you’re using is reliable and accurate over its entire lifecycle, not just in the short-term. SSA suggests following this brief checklist to mitigate any issues that may crop up:

  • Who observed and recorded the data as well as when it was observed and recorded, and who it is about must be recorded
  • Data should be recorded permanently in an easily understood format, with original entries preserved
  • Data should be recorded precisely as it was observed, and at the time it was executed
  • Source data – the initial place it came from - should be accessible and preserved in its original form
  • Accuracy means data should be free from errors and comply with protocol

“Without a good understanding of the current codes on data privacy, you may well be setting your business up for failure,” Borcher says. “It is also vital to ensure that anyone who has anything to do with data in your company understands the importance of privacy regulations. Ignorance of the law is no defence, and human error will still incur punishment.”

Regardless of where you are on your data journey, Borcher suggests you seek the assistance of professionals who can ensure your hard work is not let down by any misunderstanding of regulations.