London businesses have weathered the storm of Brexit and the pandemic to once again come out fighting. The Evening Standard have highlighted the continued residence of top banking firms in the Square Mile, and London Loves Business have reported that 44% of London SMEs are reporting increased profits this quarter. Despite all of this, there are regulatory rumblings that might have a big impact on businesses of all sizes. Data, privacy and its protection are currently undergoing a to-and-fro between the UK and EU regulators. Being aware of the risk, and staying well ahead of it, will help new businesses to transition seamlessly.
Protecting yours and customer data
The first step is in establishing your digital footprint. Both employers and employees leave traces wherever they head on the internet; social media companies and digital services hoover this data up into archives, which, under GDPR, are made available. Your LinkedIn data archive can be easily requested and downloaded, and the same goes for Facebook. This is important – while GDPR is now three years old and, as City AM outlines, has not been terribly disruptive to business – it does still have the clout to fine businesses. Minimizing digital footprints, and fine-tuning your data retention policies, is crucial, especially with regulation on the horizon.
As Politico outlines, the EU has just granted the UK ‘adequate’ data protection status, which means it is content that the UK and its businesses as a whole will do enough to protect the data of customers linking in from the EU. However, the British establishment may change regulations that affect this rating – in turn creating a situation where businesses will need to individually demonstrate their reliability to the EU and its firms. This makes an individual policy of data retention and management even more important. Businesses should have a formal compliance and retention policy anyway, but if you can do that to a high level, it will ensure you are not entirely reliant on legislative safeguards and will be able to demonstrate on a case-by-case basis your data protection credentials.
Appealing to consumers
Londoners are a liberal people when it comes to data privacy. According to City AM, 3 in 4 Londoners are happy to share their private information in order to speed up transactions and get a better service; yet, according to the Fintech Times, 50% of people as a whole are concerned about data privacy. This doesn’t mean that companies can, or should, be as laissez-faire with the information they receive. Improper distribution or access of personal information records make up the bulk of GDPR actions and fines. Businesses in London must act to ensure that they keep fair records of their data and that it is GDPR-compliant.
This is, ultimately, in the best interests of business. Avoiding fines and improving customer engagement are two no brainers when it comes to protecting revenue. With diligence and a coherent data policy, they’ll come with ease.