Data, today, is critical to businesses, which is why so much is invested into collecting and analyzing as much data as possible about customers and employees. Having such ready access to data is important; without it, organizations across the globe will find their ability to compete, survive, and thrive in an increasingly data-driven world severely compromised.
There is, however, a downside to the wide range of personal information ranging from name, date of birth, and location to images, information about families, and social media activity among others that organizations today have access to. If breached, this sensitive information represents a threat to personal, financial, and social safety, leaving individuals vulnerable to prejudice, extortion, and harm. A regulatory framework which makes it mandatory for organizations to employ adequate security measures to protect any personal data that they process is, therefore, essential.
Formally enforced on May 25, 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could well be one of the most remarkable steps taken to ensure just that. Non-compliance with the GDPR, for any business handling PII of EU citizens regardless of where the organization is based out of, can lead to heavy financial penalties. Many business leaders and market experts have also expressed their concerns about the new regulation, especially given the rumours that compliance with the GDPR norms will lead to an increase in the costs of operations.
But we, at Qlik, have a different perspective. We believe that the imminent GDPR implementation might just be a big opportunity for Indian businesses to ready themselves for a data-driven future.
Embracing GDPR: How could Indian businesses benefit from the regulation
We are living in the age of data. As per the latest industry studies, an estimated 44 billion GB worth of data was created on a daily basis in 2016. Such data explosion means that organizations can get their hands on user data very quickly.
What it also means is that most organizations don’t really have a good enough view of where and how this data is being stored and shared. The growing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology and BYOD-led work cultures is only complicating the situation even further. Organizations, as a result, have low visibility over their own databases, and how the data they store is managed and accessed. Given this scenario, GDPR provides businesses with a real opportunity to step back a bit, and take stock of cataloguing how the data they process moves across the entire organization, in order to figure out a way to become compliant with the new regulations.
For instance, GDPR compliance will require organizations handling sensitive private data of EU citizens to assess what kind of personal information is currently being used and retained. This, in turn, will help in identifying what data is critical for business operations, and what isn’t. Organizations can then delete the non-essential private data to reduce the risk of a data breach, and the hefty penalties that will inevitably follow.
But, given the massive data volumes that modern-day businesses handle, how do organizations differentiate between essential and non-essential data? The answer to this question lies in two words – data analytics.
Making GDPR work for you: The role of new-age analytics platforms such as Qlik in GDPR compliance
In order to identify which information is sensitive and business critical, businesses need to know what data they’re handling, and where, and why. This requires them to have in-depth visibility over their data operations, from collection to usage to storage to access privileges. Given how stringent the GDPR rules are, organizations also need to ensure that they have accurate and up-to-date information about user consent, and that any requests to opt-in or opt-out remain consistent across all services. They must, moreover, focus on identifying which third-party vendors have signed updated contracts in line with the GDPR regulations in order to ensure compliance across the value chain. Finally, there is the matter of data governance policies and limiting the access to personal data to only those employees who are authorized to use it.
As a GDPR compliant vendor, Qlik helps businesses in fulfilling all these goals, and becoming GDPR compliant through better data management. Its world-class data governance and sovereignty architecture, which leverage the much-needed ‘Privacy by Design’ frameworks, help organizations in protecting their sensitive data, whether on-premise or on-cloud.
On the other hand, the Associative Difference that has the unique capability to combine all sorts of available data the organization has, from disparate data environments, to give organizations an open, transparent overview of their consumer data. It helps them explore these data sets for inconsistent, unauthorized, or non-essential data, while also highlighting actionable insights on how to manage it. This innovative approach not only helps in ensuring compliance with current data protection laws, but also readies businesses for future GDPR regulations.
GDPR is a momentous, major step towards ensuring that data privacy, in this day and age of data, is acknowledged as a fundamental human right. Businesses need to realize how big an opportunity they have on their hands to build digital trust with their consumers through better understanding of their data relationships. This is the new data paradigm, and those organizations who embrace it most readily are the ones which will reap unparalleled long-term dividends.
The author, Arun Balasubramanian, is Managing Director, Qlik India.