Roughly 57% of the global population now have access to the internet. While being connected to the largest database in the world does bring a host of advantages, it does come at a price. Recent statistics revealed that about 53% of online users are currently more concerned about their online privacy compared to a year ago.
Further statistics added that there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds. Thus, making cybercrime more profitable than the global illegal trade. In 2018 alone, cybercriminals have earned a total of approximately $600 billion from stealing personal and business records.
The alarming cybercrime rate has led the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to put together the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which ensures data protection and social media privacy for all individual citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Union (EU).
In general, GDPR is geared towards providing individuals full control over their personal data and centralize the regulatory environment by corresponding to EU regulations. It is applicable to organizations that are handling personal information of EU residents and citizens.
Technically speaking, any company that processes and stores information about EU citizens within EU states must comply with the GDPR even if they do not have a business presence within the continent. Among the most specific criteria for companies required to comply include the following:
- A presence in an EU nation
- No presence in the EU but processes personal information of European residents
- Has more than 250 employees
- Companies with fewer than 250 employees but their data processing methods impact the freedoms and rights of data subjects.
Moreover, organizations should have a legal basis for processing personal customer information under the set GDPR and social media policy. The regulation will also provide customers to request that their personal information be deleted by businesses that they do not wish to be in possession of it. Its focus is to make sure that the consumers have rights on their personal data which include:
- The right to restriction
- Information notices
- The right to object
- The right to restriction
The GDPR recognizes personal data as anything that can be utilized as a part of identification. Beyond the common information like name, phone number, and addresses, this also includes photos, bank information, medical data, any numbers pertaining to financial accounts, and data associated with social media posts.
In other words, GDPR makes it even harder for business websites that heavily depend on social media to monitor customer information and their behavior for automated profiling or targeting. Additionally, companies have to obtain a legal basis in the form of explicit opt-in customers to send social advertising emails when there is a sale in their stores.
More often than not, mobile opt-ins are connected to social media and usually take the form of a popup that asks for the authorization of users from the social app. Even though are already regularly in use by most social media companies, the GDPR rules mean that the forms will be more comprehensive about the types of information gathered and the reason why is it shared.
Through this process, consumers can ensure more privacy, the added security of their personal data, and better control of their shopping experiences. This is because businesses have to make sure that consumer consent is specific, unambiguous, and freely given which includes the choice to easily withdraw.
To make it easier for consumers to understand, businesses are necessitated to fulfill these requirements under the GDPR regulations:
- Plain language should be utilized in privacy policies and in explanations of how data will be used. Technical and legal jargon should be avoided at all times to avoid confusion among users.
- Clear consent is required to gather and utilize the data users with easy ways to opt-out of some or all information collected.
- Consumers have to give the “right to be forgotten” on company networks.
- Users can opt-out of target advertising using their personal information to prevent unnecessary emails.
- Robust safeguards should be in place for information related to sexual orientation, race, health, political, and religious beliefs.
In addition, the GDPR regulation on data protection on social media also states that pre-checked boxes for consent are not allowed. In short, customers have to take action before consent is given to the business.
Under the GDPR regulations, there are six grounds for processing personal data. These include consent, contract, public interests, legal obligations, legitimate interests, and vital interests. Perhaps the most relevant when it comes to social media are legitimate interests and consent as it tackles more on the privacy, protection, and control of users.
Besides the changes in social media advertising, GDPR has also influenced significant modifications in the lead generation process. Companies like Facebook and LinkedIn adopted several changes to its lead generation processes with the former requiring users to agree to its terms and conditions and the latter adding an automatic checkbox to their forms.
What’s more, GDPR has also paved the way for social leaders to put together a clear policy within the framework that is specifically connected to its regulations. The document should be formal, detailed, and intended to educate or inform anyone involved in social media management of the appropriate rules surrounding GDPR.
The document can summarize the types of policies that are already in place on various systems and discuss to correct errors as well. Furthermore, GDPR also promotes better email engagement as only people who are interested in your product will be the ones receiving your content, thereby, increasing conversion rates.
How Businesses Can Benefit From Complying With GDPR Regulations?
Businesses that fail to adhere to these requests will face a fine of roughly 20 million euros or 4% of their annual turnover. Conversely, GDPR is not all doom and gloom as it also comes with plenty of advantages for complying with businesses.
Boost Your Cybersecurity Practices
Perhaps the biggest advantage of opting for GDPR compliance with RSI Security is to enhance the cybersecurity strategies of the company. After all, there is no business in the world that can afford to take the danger of cybersecurity ignorance given the costs of business downtime and data breaches as a result of the loss of critical data or theft.
In a 2017 Cyber Security Breaches Survey, experts revealed that 68% of large firms in the United Kingdom (UK) have encountered some form of cyberattacks. With the complexity and scale of these attacks accelerating at full throttle, having a GDPR-compliant framework in place will establish a security-conscious workflow.
The legislation requires businesses to determine their security strategy and incorporate sufficient technical and administrative measures to protect the personal information of EU citizens. These activities are essential for helping the organization minimize the attack surface and better understand what is going on throughout your network.
Usually, the GDPR mandates every business to make use of privileged and identity access management to ensure that only a few professionals can access critical organizational data. It is also under the GDPR regulation that an organization must disclose any breach within 72 hours of its occurrence to prevent further damage.
Improve Return On Investments on Social Media Strategies
As mentioned, one of the key concepts of the GDPR is that the business should employ an opt-in policy and have the consent of data subject to process personal data. Through this process, organizations can fine-tune their database of relevant customers and leads that genuinely want to hear their business.
With this data at hand, businesses can experiment with niche marketing by creating tailored messages geared towards specific habits and needs of a clearly defined audience that has more interest in your products. This particular granular marketing strategy will lead to a higher conversion rate, social sharing, click-through, and increase your marketing ROI as efforts and budgets are spent wisely.
It is also through these tailored messages that businesses can build more trusting relationships with their clients and the general public. When asking for consent to utilize the information of data subjects, businesses have to explain concisely and clearly how they will be using their personal information.
The responsibility and transparency every business demonstrates to the public will encourage trust in their brands as consumers are becoming more and more vigilant about how their data is handled. In a nutshell, organizations can use the GDPR to highlight that they do care about the privacy of their prospective and current clients and stand head and shoulders above their competitors.
Enhance Management Of Data
Businesses should know precisely what sensitive data they hold on people to be compliant. Usually, the initial process through GDPR compliance is to examine each data to better organize storages. This will enable businesses to decrease the data they gather and hold and more importantly refine the data management process.
More often than not, a third-party service like RSI Security will encourage businesses to determine and clean up redundant obsolete and trivial (ROT) information which offers little to no organizational value. By getting rid of this information, businesses can slash costs on processing and storing this data.
Subsequently, businesses will evaluate the data and implement mechanisms to make the information searchable and indexed globally. This is essential in easily handling the requests of subjects who exercise their rights to be deleted from your system. On the flip side, this requirement will enable businesses to restructure data storage so that their staff members will be more efficient and productive while working with easily searchable, accessible and accurate information.
What Does It Take To Be GDPR-Compliant?
While the sea of customer information under GDPR’s protection may seem daunting, there a few keys yet straightforward requirements you should concentrate on to increase your odds of compliance. Start the road to GDPR compliance by achieving customer consent through a request that needs to be laid out in plain and simple language.
The terms of consent should be consistently precise with the most up-to-date information of every customer as well. Additionally, your business should also put up processes that enable you to respond and act upon a withdrawal request in a reasonable timeframe.
Other than crafting privacy policies, businesses are also advised to hire the services of a Data Protection Officer (DPO) from RSI Security to further increase your chances of being compliant. Usually, public organizations and companies larger than 15 employees that process personal data are required to appoint a DPO.
The DPO will be responsible for the systematic and regular tracking of data subjects on a large scale. They also process on an immense scale of special categories of data to pinpoint the necessary steps to reach compliance.
A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) may also be required to achieve compliance, especially if our company stores personal data in permanent storage. A DPIA is an evaluation of your organization’s procedures and processes that measure how these steps affect or might compromise the security of individuals whose data, it stores and gathers.
Through the DPIA, businesses can ensure compliance with the applicable policy, regulatory, and legal requirements regarding privacy. It is also essential in determining the risks and effects of data loss and evaluating protections and alternative methods to mitigate potential privacy pitfalls.
Furthermore, companies must also have technologies and processes that will allow them to pinpoint and address breaches within a 72-hour timeframe. This may require the need to overhaul the company’s internal data, security policies, and substantial employee training to assure a proper response plan to data breach threats.
Although it will take more time than a few weeks to reach full GDPR compliance, doing so will put companies on the right foot with protecting their customer data in the long run. Put workstreams in their positions to assist your human resources and appoint a DPO to cover all the nooks, crannies, and bases of your compliance strategy. Talk to an expert at RSI Security to start your journey towards GDPR compliance.