What is GDPR and what does it mean? What are some of the implications that this new EU privacy regulation will have on your business?

These are common questions many online entrepreneurs are asking themselves since the new regulations came into effect on May 25th 2018.

In this post, we’re going to look at GDPR in detail, and help you understand what you need to do in order for your business to become compliant with the new procedures.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of privacy regulations that were adopted by both the European Council and EU Parliament on 27th of April 2016.

Businesses were given a grace period of two years to make relevant changes so that they complied with the new directives. This robust and drastic change in European data protection law was very thorough, and it has a big impact on how businesses will handle people’s personal information worldwide.

Why was it implemented?

As the use of technology continues to gain attraction in every aspect of life, there has been case of personal data leakages and data theft all over the world. Such incidences have necessitated the need of having a strong policy regarding personal data protection.

The GDPR was introduced to strengthen the governing laws regarding the request and use of personal data by business owners.

The end-result is a single, robust data protection law that applies to all the European countries, and can be used as a standard template by national data protection authorities and regulators.

How will GDPR help customers?

The increased compliance of GDPR implementation by most EU business owners has led to introduction of stiffer protection measures which have helped in safeguarding customer’s private information as well as broadening their rights.

Consumers have an understandably low amount of trust in companies to protect their data, and research from UK’s YouGov only proves this.

Results from a YouGov GDPR survey on consumer privacy trust
Results from a YouGov GDPR survey on consumer privacy trust (source)

When customers know that their private information will be safeguarded, they will develop more trust with businesses which are GDPR compliant.

Therefore, if you are an online business owner and you want to increase your customer retention rate or boost revenues, you must implement the new GDPR changes.

How GDPR impacts businesses

There’s no doubt that these requirements will also have an impact on the way businesses are operated within the EU and elsewhere in the world.

Now that these regulations have substituted the 1998 EU data protection law, some of the significant changes that businesses will need to adopt include;

  1. A new broader definition of personal data which apart from the basic information of one’s name, contact, medical and financial information, it will also include IP addresses.
  2. Broader customer’s data rights. Your customers will have the right to understand how you are going to use their personal data and what measures you have put in place to ensure that it does not leak to third parties.
  3. Businesses will require to get consent from customers before they collect, store and use personal data.
  4. Companies will be required to have all the necessary data processing documentation and keep updated records of the same outlining all the procedures and information collected.
  5. Businesses will be required to closely monitor their data security systems and report any incidence of data breaches to the national data regulators or users within 72 hours.
  6. Companies will also have to change the way they do email marketing. In order for your business to be GDPR email marketing compliant, you will need clear consent from your customers so that you can continue sending emails to them. New email subscription process will require companies to implement a double opt-in feature as well as easy opt-out features.


Now, you know what GDPR is!

The new GDPR regulations are not too difficult for business owners to implement, and for most businesses, you only need to make a few adjustments in order to remain compliant.

If you’re operating in the United States, you may already be familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act. If not, it’s a simpler version of the EU’s GDPR initiative, but worth keeping an eye on.

Failure for non-GDPR compliance will attract a fine of 20M Euros or 4% of your annual turnover, whichever is greater. A large figure for some!

To learn more about the rules of doing business online, check out our online marketing strategy courses.