It is easy for people to think that GDPR was a fad from 2018 and is no longer relevant. But all businesses, no matter how big or small, use personal information, and data protection compliancy is an ongoing process. It is vital that businesses have the right structures in place to ensure this compliancy as well as being able to operate their businesses effectively.

Setting up a robust GDPR programme can seem daunting at first. There are a number of steps to be completed to bring you to a standard level of compliance, such as a gap analysis, data mapping, policy creation and staff training. This can present a challenge for small businesses and sole traders, as the cost can seem to outweigh the benefit.

The good news is that although there is an outlay of time and resources at the outset, once this is done, GDPR is normally a matter of review and maintenance. And the benefits are greater than simply avoiding a fine of up to 4% of your turnover (or €20,000,000 whichever is higher) or legal action by a disgruntled data subject.

When GDPR is done well, it moves from an external compliance obligation to a valuable internal operation. Understanding the personal data that you are processing through your organisation helps you understand your business better. You can assess whether the processing activities are advancing your strategic goals. You can make informed decisions about marketing and development plans. And you can identify, assess and address possible risks in advance before they become a problem.

For me, data protection is all about relationships and relationships are built on trust. Trust is the most important factor in your business. When customers, clients, investors and funders understand that you have taken the time and invested in your bespoke data protection process, that can only be a good thing for your business.

See the Resources section for all the tools you need on your GDPR Compliance Journey.