If you didn’t read my last post, the General Data Protection (GDPR) grants individuals new data privacy rights and protections. In fact, global government agencies and business executives like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella are rapidly reconsidering the privacy of individuals’ digital experiences as a human right.

Beyond the fines and heavy-handed legal consequences you’ve probably heard 100 times, here’s why GDPR compliance matters today – and will only continue to grow in importance moving forward:

More Consumer Control

GDPR is quickly putting the power of information into the hands of individuals. The regulation grants consumers explicit rights to restrict the data companies can keep, how they can use it, and whom they share information with. Citizens can revoke their personally identifiable information at any time, essentially removing any record of their existence upon request.

For heavily regulated industries like healthcare and financial services, GDPR has the potential to introduce conflicts where data retention has historically been tricky to navigate. While some of these issues will be battled out and decided in a courtroom setting, the intention of this legislation is clear – the European Union (EU) views consumers (not businesses) as the ones who should ultimately have control over data.

This means massive changes for your customer data management and analytics systems. Entire industries have the potential to be destroyed – and created. And this doesn’t even consider the potential impact GDPR will have on investments and development of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and other emerging innovations.

In all likelihood, you’ll have to shift strategies, consider new tactics, and anticipate substantial changes (and decreases) in the amount of personal data used, stored, and analyzed to drive business value and new revenue.

More Grey Areas

The ritual of regulation compliance and pushing boundaries will continue to get more dangerous without GDPR consideration. While you seek more engaging and creative solutions to satisfy organizational needs, it’s more important than ever for your data privacy team to consider whether these initiatives fall within the legal scope of what is acceptable under GDPR.

Audit trails and explicit consumer consent will become just as important as how products/services are marketed and sold – and the costs to ensure these tasks isn’t exactly cheap. Then again, neither is a fine for GDPR noncompliance…

Using historical customer data trends will also become much more difficult under GDPR. The regulation’s data processing and profiling provisions make it possible for consumers to opt out of automated decision-making tasks, making personalized sales and marketing efforts one step closer to impossible. Their consent is required to be enrolled in automated communications or have information viewed/augmented by any third-party services you may use.

More Privacy-Minded Design

If you’re like most organizations using software-fueled data management solutions, add-on products/services and Terms of Service changes must be carefully considered before they’re deployed. The systems integrators and technology vendors you currently use may not have adequate solutions for complying with GDPR. Moving forward, any externally developed software must be designed with individuals’ data privacy in mind as a top priority.

If your outsourced solution doesn’t meet the regulation’s standards, the vendor or provider isn’t held responsible – you are. This means data encryptions for information both at-rest and in-motion, as well as advanced methods to track the collection, storage, and continued use of any consumer-submitted data. Access rights will also need authorization and authentication processes to ensure only those that absolutely need visibility have it.

As regulations like GDPR are created and changed, satisfying data privacy compliance is a continuously moving target. Software providers that are vigilant and aware of these impacts before issues arise will be the only ones capable of surviving – so make sure you’re partnering with vendors capable of doing so.

To navigate the ins and outs of GDPR, minimize risks, and add business value, you need to consider compliance as a strategic priority. While it may sound dramatic to say organizations are faced with a do-or-die decision, it’s not far from the truth – and this will only continue to become reality as the regulation’s application expands.

If you need help managing a GDPR compliance effort, take advantage of AOTMP®’s Performance First® GDPR Compliance Toolkit Pocket Guide today!