Being data compliant has rapidly become a global priority as most countries have adopted legislation to address privacy concerns. The UK GDPR, EU GDPR, and Australia’s Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme are prime examples.

In the UK, the GDPR has transformed most businesses’ relationships with data by placing governance (through the ICO) over the processing of personal data from individuals inside the UK. The bottom line is businesses that operate in the EU and UK must comply with the GDPR, making 100% data compliance necessary.

Here’s how to ensure your SMB is data compliant:

  1. Treat data as a strategic asset

Data compliance begins with changing your perception of data from something you are lumped with into an asset that can grow your business.

Data is a unique competitive advantage, and it should be treated as a unique resource. Start by identifying all the data you hold and own; consider how it can be analysed and how it can be used to improve your products and services.

There is value in data; you just have to use it properly.

  1. Compliance legislation is key

To be 100% data compliant, you have to comply with all the legislation that governs your business. In the UK, this will probably be the UK GDPR.

Understanding and adhering to evolving data legislation should be a priority. Start by identifying the legislation that applies to your business and get familiar with it. Ask for help if you don’t have the skills to analyse your own business.

  1. Develop a data strategy

What is a data strategy? A data strategy is a plan for responding to data breaches to ensure you meet your legal obligations.

Start by risk assessing your business to prioritise the management and security of the personal data you hold. Build backup, recovery and breach notification protocols into your data processes to protect your business if a breach occurs.

  1. Make security a priority

If you don’t make security a business priority, you aren’t taking it seriously, which can leave gaps in your defences. The bottom line is legislation expects your business to have implemented data-protection measures!

Start by running an IT audit of your business. Look for weak links, vulnerabilities and opportunities. Analyse your supply chains to ensure that your business is only exposed to other companies with robust security protocols. Take action on all problems and upgrade your systems wherever possible to assure the security of your systems.

  1. Get support when you need it!

Consult a legal expert to risk-assess your business. Third-party providers will help you get compliant and identify quick wins for your business. A reputable data security firm can also test and strengthen your IT systems.

In today’s digital economy, there is no excuse for poor data controls. Getting your business 100% compliant is the minimum legislation expects.