From 25th May 2018 new regulations which relate to data protection and how you store and process your customers’ information will come into force. This new law is known as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and replaces the current Data Protection Act (DPA) of 1998. It reflects the fact that technology, such as the use of laptops, smartphones and cloud-based data systems is now more central to our working lives. It also aims to give the individual far more control over who stores their data and how it is used.
There are six main principles which underpin GDPR. They can be categorised as:
GDPR affects both data controllers and data processors. As a small business owner you will be responsible for ensuring that your company meets the requirements of the act. There can be large financial penalties for companies who breach the regulations and of course there would also be an inevitable loss of reputation for your brand.
If you are an SME who holds customer data and uses it for marketing purposes, you need to make sure that you are fully aware of what GDPR means for your business. One of the main issues that you need to consider is how your customers consent to receiving marketing materials from your company. Although this was already covered by the previous DPA, the new requirements now have a greater depth and focus on customers positively opting in to receive marketing.
Businesses will no longer be able to gain marketing consent by using the following tactics:
Pre-ticked marketing consent boxes
Hiding agreements within their terms and conditions
Inferring consent from silence or customer inactivity
Refusing to provide products or services unless marketing consent is given
GDPR states that marketing consent must be freely given, specific and informed. In order to meet with the regulations, businesses should always:
State clearly to the customer exactly what they are giving their consent to
Ensure that specific consent is given for different marketing channels or brands within a business
Review marketing consent on an ongoing basis
Let customers know how they can withdraw their consent and act on this withdrawal in an efficient and timely manner
Because every business is unique, they will all have different concerns and issues that may be raised by GDPR. As a business owner you will need to take the time to assess how GDPR will affect your company and understand any actions that you need to take to ensure compliance. Wagada can work with you to create a tailored approach that suits your business needs. We can offer you individual advice and make sure that you are fully prepared for and compliant with GDPR when it comes into force.
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