How are businesses coping with GDPR?

Now that GDPR has been in force for a number of months, we thought it was time to take a look at how it’s affecting businesses. Are companies struggling to keep up? What impact have the regulations had on digital services? Are we likely to see organisations punished with large fines in the future? Here, we take a look at how businesses are coping with GDPR and what challenges they face.

Struggling to cope with data requests

With the introduction of GDPR, businesses have found themselves struggling to keep up with a large increase in data requests being filed. Businesses such as Facebook, Netflix, and Marriott are reportedly overwhelmed by the incredible number of requests they’re faced with, and the administrative burden is thought to be huge. This situation is exacerbated by the concerted efforts of online privacy activists, who are creating apps and websites that make it easier to file a request. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has also thrown a serious amount of fuel on the fire and encouraged greater quantities of people to challenge big businesses’ data collection practices.

Searching for that data

Businesses are also struggling to locate and identify all the personal data that they’ve retained over the years. Customers now communicate with businesses over numerous different platforms, in many different ways, with all the data collected stored in a largely unorganised manner. All parts of a business collect customer data, meaning that the information harvested is often siloed and stored throughout the organisation in different places and ways. Retrieving this data is proving extremely expensive, both financially, and in the amount of time being dedicated to data collation.

Frantic marketing messages

As you’ve probably noticed, marketing departments have been hit hard by GDPR and are frantically attempting to contact their customers in an effort to update their consent agreements. Email inboxes have been flooded with messages requesting users renew their consent to be contacted, and businesses are concerned that their marketing base could be drastically reduced by new GDPR regulations.

The GDPR awareness effect

The introduction of GDPR seems to have had an impact on public awareness of digital privacy issues. This in turn has affected those organisations that have developed a business model orientated towards personal data collection. With the implementation of GDPR, companies like Facebook have experienced drops in membership figures, as users become increasingly aware of potentially troubling privacy policies.

It’s difficult to determine whether lower membership figures are entirely due to GDPR (Facebook were still suffering from the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal at the time of writing), but the policy does seem to be impacting on these types of business.

Grant Usher is an Associate Solicitor in the Corporate and Commercial team, he can be contacted on 023 9231 2058 or by email to grant.usher@verisonalaw.com.


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