Seven last minute ways to prepare for GDPR (if you haven’t already done so)

Are you ready for GDPR? Or are you beginning to panic that you still don’t know what it requires? Here are seven last minute ways you can prepare for GDPR.

With GDPR on the horizon, many businesses are scrambling to get their house in order. But don’t worry if your business is one of them – or worse, you haven’t even started yet and don’t know what to do – direct mail marketing experts Romax have prepared seven tips to help you.

Before we get started, it’s important to note that this article contains general tips to set you in the right direction. At no point should it be construed as legal advice. If you’re unsure of anything, please do seek legal counsel.

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Seven last minute ways to prepare for GDPR

So here are seven last minute ways you can prepare for GDPR (if you haven’t already done so).

1) Familiarise yourself with the legislation

Reading the GDPR legislation should be your first step. It will help you gain an idea of what your responsibilities are. It’ll also help you become familiar with what kind of data this legislation aims to protect. This includes:

  • Name.
  • Address.
  • ID numbers.
  • Location.
  • IP address.
  • Cookie data.
  • RFID tags.
  • Health and genetic data.
  • Biometric data.
  • Racial or ethnic data.
  • Political opinions.
  • Sexual orientation.

2) Do a complete audit on all the data you currently have

You need a complete data audit if you currently hold data on EU citizens. Find out:

  • Exactly what you hold.
  • If consent was gathered.
  • How it was processed.
  • Where it’s stored.
  • How secure it is.
  • What risk factors there are.
  • If you actually need all the data.

If you find that much of the data is unnecessary for your business operations, consider getting rid of it. If you have a huge mailing list with a significant percentage of inactive users, consider sending out a campaign asking them to opt back in; unsubscribe those users who fail to respond.

Think about storage too. Gather all your data assets and store them securely in one place, making it easy for your company to find data and serve requests from customers who are drawing upon their ​right to access subjector ​right to be forgotten.

If you’re unsure about any of the above, now is the time to get professional advice on developing a GDPR compliant data processing plan

3) Plan for minimal data collection

Going forward, make it a policy to collect only data that is essential to your business objectives. You’ll be surprised at how many businesses collect data they don’t need simply because they ‘may’ need it at some point in the future. This kind of unused data can become an unnecessary liability. So identify and focus on what data is actually needed.

4) Update your marketing strategies

Because of the ​active consent ​element of GDPR, you’ll need to modify both your traditional and digital marketing strategies. ​Active consent​ simply means you can’t assume consent, or use tricks to gain consent (such as pre-ticked boxes). Instead the consumer needs to actively opt in, and you need to record and store that consent as evidence should you come under ICO investigation.

So if you collect data via print material, you may need new print assets; forms will need to make it clear what the data will be used for, with a clear opportunity to opt in. It’s the same for websites that have a data capture strategy in place.

You’ll also need to have a plan for storing the gathered consent. This is important because at some point you may need to prove that you’ve acted lawfully.

You’ll need stronger cookie notifications that allow users to deny cookies as well as give permission. This may require software solutions that enable users to disable cookies early on and still be able to use your website.

5) Conduct a cybersecurity review

Cyber crime is on the rise and it’s getting very sophisticated year-on-year. So, if you rely on computer networks to store, collect and share data across your organisation, you need a cybersecurity review.

The questions you need to ask are:

  • Is the network safe and secure?
  • How easily can it be breached?
  • Are there potentials for data leakage?
  • Are the staff web-savvy?
  • Is the data encrypted?
  • Are devices protected from malware?

The aim is to put measures in place that minimise the risk of being breached and of sensitive data getting into the hands of criminals.

You may need to invest in better cybersecurity technology and staff-training to make sure members of your team don’t become entry points for malicious activity.

6) Audit third-parties that have been collecting data on your behalf

This is important because you are still liable for this data. It’s your responsibility to ensure that all third-parties are GDPR compliant.

So, for example, if you’ve hired a digital agency that manage direct marketing and data management on your behalf, you need to make sure they’re handling the data lawfully.

7) Consider appointing a designated compliance officer

If your company is big enough, you should consider appointing a compliance officer whose sole job is to make sure the entire organisation is adhering to GDPR. This may require significant investment in training, recruitment and employment costs etc. However, when you consider that businesses face fines of 3-4% of their annual turnover​for non-compliance, it may turn out to be a cost effective investment.

Are you ready for GDPR?

The above list is by no means exhaustive. There are many complicated factors to consider when planning for GDPR. So, while the advice above should get you moving in the right direction, it’s not a replacement for effective planning and proper legal counsel.

If you need more help on becoming GDPR compliant, we recommend seeking professional advice. You can also read more tips on protecting your mailing list from GDPR here – but again, we advise seeking proper legal advice to ensure you are fully compliant.

Want more advice on how to prepare for GDPR? Read more about it here.

For expert advice on direct mail marketing and more, visit Romax, a market leader in print and direct mail services.

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