By now most people, at least those who have businesses that work store any customer information and data, have heard about GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union. However, having heard the term GDPR and truly understanding what it means, along with all of the pros and cons, are two separate things.

Let us dive into the GDPR benefits first.

Why Was the GDPR Implemented?

The deadline for companies to be compliant with GDPR was May 25, 2018. Companies that have already been in business are required to comply with all of the requirements that have been outlined in the legislation, and so are companies that are just now started up.

If you have any dealings with people who are living in the EU where you will need to collect their data and information, whether you store it or not, you need to abide by the GDPR. This is true even for companies that are not based in the countries in the EU.

If you do business with a consumer or company who resides in the EU you are obliged to follow the GDPR rules. To understand what GDPR is and how it affects your business it is a good idea to read up on what GDPR means for individuals rights in the EU about how data about them is stored.

Several buildings with curved architecture, and reflective surfaces in soft light.
Picture by Austin Li on Unsplash.

All of the regulations have been put in place as an update to the last time that they had online privacy regulations initiated, which was all the way back in 1995. The governments today see how important it is to provide data protection legislation that is going to be relevant to the times and the technology that are in use today.

There are massive breaches in security and data that happen on a regular basis and having some regulations in place can help to provide some added safety for consumers out there.

While the GDPR benefits currently only apply to consumers who are in the European Union, if it proves to be successful, similar regulations might soon find their way to quite a few other parts of the world, as well.

Cons of the GDPR

Of course, when companies found out that this was going to come to a requirement, many of them started to panic. They did not know what they would need to do to become compliant, and they did not know how much it was going to cost them to do so. The fact that all companies, both large and small, have to abide by the regulations made some small businesses panic, as well.

One of the biggest disadvantages of GDPR was the amount that it cost for companies to get their data information affairs in order and in compliance. It took time and money. Fortunately, smaller businesses tend to have fewer data to worry about, so it was not quite as costly for them to get squared away. For larger companies, appointing a data protection officer was necessary.

Some companies did not like the fact that there was going to be more red tape for them to wallow through, and many did not like the fact that the government was trying to regulate them. This was felt especially by companies that were not in the EU and who only had a handful – or even just one – a customer who was from a country in the EU.

There was, and continues to be, a fear of the massive fines that can affect a company if they are found not to be compliant with the GDPR. A business can be fined up to $23.5 million, or 4% of their global annual revenue if they are not compliant. This is not something that any business is going to take lightly. Consider just how much a fine of this much might do to a company that is relatively small, or even mid-sized.

There does not seem to be any wiggle room when it comes to following the compliance guidelines. Those who are not complying with the rules are going to find that they are in some serious trouble, as there is likely to be legal action taken against companies swiftly.

Cybersecurity. Picture by Kaur Kristjan on Unsplash.

GDPR benefits everyone – Pros

However, even though there are indeed some perceived drawbacks of having the GDPR, it is important to consider all of the benefits that it is bringing about, as well.

There are many cybercriminals out there who are constantly looking for exploits that they can use to get into applications and networks. They want to get into the website infrastructure so they can let fly havoc and steal data and customer information.

GDPR Benefits customers and businesses

Cybersecurity is not something a business can ignore any longer, and it is not something that they can put on the back burner and “get to later”. The GDPR makes sure that increased cybersecurity is made very important for companies to get right, and that is why they have large fines for those who do not get on board.

Ultimately, the goal is to provide the customers and clients with more control over their data, as well as more protection for the data that companies are using. The regulations provide the customers with some measure of peace of mind that they did not have before. It might not be a perfect system, but it is going to be better than what it was.

Additionally, companies need to think about the GDPR benefits for businesses. Having leaks and data breaches at a company is going to be bad for business. Not having any breaches will be a sign of trust.

Customers are not going to trust companies that have these types of issues. When there is improved cybersecurity and accountability for companies, it can change help to give individuals the added protection that they need.

When the customers feel that they can trust the companies that are in charge of the data, they are going to be more willing to share the data.

This is because they know they are doing so in an environment that is secure. It has the potential to help the company’s increase the trust people have in them, along with an increase in its customer base.

GDPR is not going to disappear, and even though there might be some drawbacks, there are far more benefits to it for everyone. Companies that are just starting out now will want to make sure that they have everything for compliance before they start.