Digital platforms: the lurking challenge of GDPR

3rd January 2017 | Will Parton

Successful businesses rely on complex networks of digital technology platforms for their day-to-day operations. Each of these platforms – big data, business intelligence, CRM, content management etc. – serves a specific function but they’re bound together by personal data. This personal data flows from internal and external sources into each platform, and then across the network into every corner of the business. To date, these networks, and their personal data supply chains, have been largely unregulated and opaque but GDPR will change this dynamic.

GDPR introduces transparency to this murky world and mandates how, when and where personal data can be used, how it must be protected and, by implication, who owns it. Most importantly, it requires the introduction of business processes that proactively demonstrate compliance. Periodic audits or spot checks are no longer sufficient.

Integrating these rules into an existing network of digital platforms is a complex challenge, especially given the extensive interdependencies. The efficacy of the network is dependant on the strength of its weakest link so an uncoordinated approach to data governance risks creating dysfunction and compromising strategic initiatives. For some, the cost of this operational and strategic paralysis could present an existential threat.

To avoid this outcome, businesses must develop a holistic view of their personal data landscape. This includes identifying the legal basis for holding any personal data, assessing the risk vs. reward profile of their processes, prioritising remedial work and factoring in data governance as a key requirement in all of their strategic initiatives – ongoing and planned. GDPR refers to this approach as ‘privacy by design’. In short, the key challenge of GDPR is not compliance in isolation but compliance in such a way that maintains the uninterrupted flows of personal data through these networks.

Wherever you are in the process, we can help. The trust-hub platform enables you to assess and manage the risks created by GDPR, as well as providing the tools you need maintain this data liquidity and build privacy by design into your project streams. Please get in touch to arrange a demonstration.

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