With business today dominated by the digital world, data is one of the most important assets any organization possesses.
Whatever the product range or services an organization offers, data that relates to suppliers, customers, sales, marketing and so on is central to any strategy development or other business decision made.
Understanding the importance of that data and how it can be leveraged to improve business performance is a key part of successful management in the modern business environment, but since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, by the EU data has taken on a new importance.
GDPR is a data protection and privacy law that applies not just to businesses based or operating within the EU itself, but for any business that handles the personal data of EU citizens. Because, at over 500 million people, the EU represents one of the largest trading blocks in the world, and the richest per capita, in our global market that means huge numbers of businesses in the world are affected by GDPR in one way or another.
This is important, as GDPR has very specific rules for dealing with personal data, and the consequences for breaching it are significant. Failure to comply is penalized by fines for the business involved, with two levels of breach, the first carrying a maximum fine of up to €10 million or 2% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher. The second, more serious breach level carries a fine of up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher.
The six principles
The level of financial penalty could ruin most businesses that are dealing with GDPR, making data not only the most useful tool for developing business success, but handling of that data is now crucial to the continuing operation of the business itself. Compliance with GDPR involves much more than simply securing the devices or networks that hold data, with companies required to uphold the 6 principles outlined in the legislation.
- Lawfulness, fairness and transparency – Ensuring subjects know what is being done with the data, remaining true to that statement, and complying with GDPR at all times
- Purpose limitations – Using data for the specific purpose stated, and only that purpose
- Data minimization – Only holding enough data to complete the stated purpose and no more
- Accuracy – Data must be accurate and kept up-to-date
- Storage limitations – Data in identifiable form should only be kept as long as necessary
- Integrity and confidentiality – Data should be used and held in a way that minimizes risk of loss, destruction or damage
While ensuring that the data flow is GDPR compliant has been the focus of many businesses, from the relevant GDPR approved information about cookies that most websites feature today to explaining what data is used for within an ecommerce environment, a significant area of GDPR is often taken for granted. Maintaining the data itself. Yet, three of the 6 principles of GDPR relate to that data maintenance.
Data minimization, only holding the required data to complete the intended task, data accuracy, ensuring that data held is accurate and up to date, and storage limitation, ensuring that a business only holds data as long as it is needed to complete the intended task. All of these are centered around data maintenance, ensuring that data is only used as suggested, is accurate, and is discarded when no longer needed. The removal of that extraneous, outdated or unneeded data is known ad data cleaning.
Cleaning your Database
Data cleaning is, then crucial to maintain compliance, and indeed, is often the first step in compliance when preparing a database. Without the regular maintenance of personal data, organizations will ultimately fall foul of GDPR by default. Whether it is inaccurate information as personal information becomes outdated without being removed, keeping information that is no longer needed or holding data longer than is necessary, all come from not cleaning the database of that data.
The problem is, maintaining even a relatively modest sized database can be an issue if you do not have the in-house skills, and even then, a dedicated data specialist may be uneconomical for smaller businesses, There is an answer though, BizWell are data specialists and GDPR compliance experts.
Bizwell’s cost-effective data cleaning solutions provide the answer, giving any business their own GDPR compliance team without the expense, training and management normally required. Their compliance experts will ensure that your database is cleaned of old, outdated or extraneous data, giving peace of mind for GDPR oversight and avoiding costly fines.
In addition to GDPR compliance, the cleaning of a database can aid internal performance too, removing unused or unnecessary data is not just part of the GDPR legislation, it is also best practice from a technical point of view.
Many businesses today will either operate in the EU or deal with EU citizens, and as such must comply with the GDPR data legislation. While much of the focus has been on the acquisition of data for compliance, it is the use of data that could be more important. Regular database cleaning, removing potentially problematic older or unneeded information is essential for any business maintaining GDPR compliance.
With Bizwell’s data cleaning solutions, any business can maintain proper data management simple, easily and reliably.