At Transformania we work from an unwavering certainty that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is always on your radar, especially with the EU’s tough data protection law coming into force as of May 25, 2018. The EU’s two-tier fine system takes violations seriously and looks to set a standard for other countries still developing or reforming regulations focused on data security and privacy. And most importantly, even if your company operates in the Americas, Asia, Africa, or Australia, the EU’s GDPR still impacts how you store and process data.

GDPR Risks For Companies Lacking Clean Marketing DataAnd even a cursory look at some recent statistics highlights the reasons that GDPR should be high on a business’s priority list:

  • Every 39 seconds a hacker attempts to access a computer with Internet access
  • 25,575 records are accessed in an average data breach according to IBM
  • Data breaches exposed over 4 billion records in the first 6 months of 2019 alone
  • 72% of breaches involved large business victims
  • 90% of known malware is delivered via emails.

And of the millions of breaches that occur annually, Verizon reports that 58% involve compromised personal data, which “includes email addresses, names, phone numbers, physical addresses and other types of data that one might find hiding in an email or stored in a misconfigured database.” This is almost twice as often as reported in previous years, which indicates that an emphasis on internal data security is increasingly important. Significantly, there is no indication that this trend will change in the coming years. On the contrary, risk to data is escalating and with it the potential costs of not setting or maintaining strict data security protocols.

Failure is costly when talking about GDPR and data breaches. The Ponemon Institute, in a report sponsored by IBM, places the average total cost of a data breach at $3.92 million, with the financial repercussions extending across multiple years. EU GDPR regulators have also been very busy, issuing hundreds of fines to companies, including Google and Facebook. In the first 2 years of GDPR, in fact, fines totaled more than $130 million. Not surprisingly, spending on cybersecurity is also skyrocketing, projected to reach $1 trillion by 2021.

What can change, however, is how organizations respond to the insights and guidance provided in the new data security, privacy, and sovereignty regulations coming into action around the world. Data security is no longer simply an IT problem. It is a serious business concern and an issue that means that leadership and marketing teams work closely with tech and security teams in order to maintain both internal data security and privacy.

What does this mean exactly? It means:

  • examining how all contact data is managed and maintained;
  • ensuring that your contact data is “clean” (free of redundancies or outdated information);
  • ensuring that all incoming contact data flows from sales, marketing, and direct customer interactions are provided hygiene checks at each point of input;
  • working toward restructuring the traditional silo approach to data management and replacing it with a more horizontal structure that ensures that all customer information is treated with the same scrutiny and held to a consistently highest standard of accuracy.

One of the key principles of GDPR, in fact, is data minimisation, which emphasizes that organizations can only hold as much personal data as is required to accomplish a given task.

Put simply: What might have been mere nuisances in the past (such as duplicate files cluttering your CRM) are now, under GDPR, high-risk data redundancies or gaps that can expose your company to unnecessary and totally avoidable liability. To put it another way, dirty data is detrimental to your bottom line because of sales inefficiencies the unclean contacts create in your CRM system.

Some relatively basic hygiene steps that can bring you much closer to GDPR compliance include purging or merging duplicate files in your CRM as well as flagging and correcting outdated, incorrect, or incomplete data. Once your data has been cleaned it’s important to develop and execute a formal, continuous hygiene sales contact data regime in order to ensure your data is always returning the highest possible ROI while falling well within the parameters set out in GDPR regulations.

But cleaning data well goes beyond just finagling some regex rules and running a few Excel formulas across your spreadsheets. Cleaning data well means employing high-level A.I.-fueled patent-pending technologies like how Transformania flags, formats and enriches data.

Transformania ensures that your CRM data is clean and compliant through several critical identification features, including:

  • Flagging bad data for immediate updates or deletions
  • Role/title address flagging
  • Spam/abuse decoy flagging
  • Legal name converting
  • Missing organization name enrichment
  • Area code correcting
  • Missing area code correcting.

The future of data security is now and at Transformania we take that future very seriously. We have the innovative roadmap and tools necessary to help your organization reduce data-related risks, protect your organizational reputation, and ensure that you are in the best place possible to protect your business proactively from the increased risk and potential liability of doing business in the rapidly changing world in which we work. GDPR will not go away, and as its mandates expand and other countries like the U.S. take data governance more seriously, having clean data will be even more important than it already is.

Matt Siegal

Matt Siegal

Matt Siegal is the founder and chairman of Transformania LLC, a marketing technology startup whose software automatically detects and corrects problems in marketing lists, thereby improving open, clickthrough, and conversion rates and reducing bounces and spam/abuse reports.