If your company is pitching for new business with bigger clients, the likelihood is that they will expect you to undergo a more rigorous screening process before they decide to do business with you. And going forward, they will want to know if you have ticked the data compliance box – if you have not, the likelihood is that they will not want to do business with you and your company will be out of the running.
Disadvantages of data compliance
However, by doing things right, your company will necessarily have to jump through hoops which will incur costs and use up valuable time and resources. If you have competitors who are less concerned about compliance than you, you may lose out because they will have the advantage of flexibility and speed, which in the short-term could make them more desirable partners.
Advantages of data compliance
In our experience, the advantages of being compliant will typically outweigh the disadvantages within 18 months. So if you are pitching for clients you would like to have a longer-term relationship with, compliance is an absolute necessity.
Data compliance and data protection prove that your company is ethical and is a positive way of showing potential clients that you are a safe company to do business with.
In order to become data compliant, you have to document and map your processes. But this can turn out to be a very useful exercise.
Your processes usually develop organically, often on an ‘as and when’ basis, e.g. when you need to hire new staff, but you have not yet written a recruitment process; given the time pressures, it is more likely that you will write the process retrospectively once you have successfully recruited.
Writing formal processes for your company is a form of housekeeping. It is always a good idea to start from scratch and use it as an excuse to think about the way you do things, questioning if they are efficient and effective. If not, this is the ideal time to revise your processes to help the company going forward.
A data compliance review is also an ideal time to get rid of old data you no longer need. We are finding that some of our clients who run law firms are holding on to data that’s 25 years old – just in case it is needed – often on obsolete systems. The new legislation will encourage us to purge this data, streamlining our clients’ systems at the same time as ensuring they are GDPR-ready, giving them the competitive advantage of compliance at the same time as saving valuable space, resources and money.