Maintaining your business contacts database under GDPR

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How to maintain you business contacts database under GDPR

The European GDPR or General Data Protection Regulations came into effect in the third week of May this year. With these regulations in force, fines will become tougher and the regulations a lot stricter than before, across every industry. Small businesses are talking about the new GDPR which is why it makes sense to be prepared to deal with new regulations. So, what exactly is GDPR and how does it affect my business contacts database?

What is GDPR?

The European GDPR works on the basis of two major principles which are giving you more control over your personal data and secondly, regulations will become more simplified with regard to international business operations. If your business was established in the European Union, then it will be governed by GDPR. BREXIT will not have any effect on GDPR.

Any business that processes a large volume of data including personal data or which processes large amounts of special category data will be forced to hire and use a Data Protection Officer, DPO, who will be entrusted with the task of ensuring the company complies with GDPR obligations.

Supplier and customer data

Small businesses in the UK will need to handle data related to past as well as existing suppliers and customers. The first thing a small business must do is know its data. Secondly, it will need to identify whether or not the business relies on consent to process information. Such activities will prove to be harder to deal with under the new GDPR because your business will need to get clear and specific as well as explicit consent to use data.

Business contact databases & security measures

Businesses must take a close and hard look at their security measures and policies which should be updated and be kept compliant with GDPR. Also, your business will need to properly address access requests which should be processed within thirty days.

Under GDPR, Subject Access Rights will undergo a change which is why it pays to keep in mind that citizens have the right to access all of their personal information, and anything that is faulty with the information will have to be rectified or completely erased. Every request needs to be made under a timeframe as well as a deadline of thirty days, which can only be extended if exceptional circumstances warrant it.

Employee training

Businesses must also train their employees to report serious breaches within three days. These employees must know exactly what a data breach is and they should build processes that are able to identify a breach or red flag in time. At the same time, businesses must also do their due diligence on their supply chains and they will also need to make sure that all suppliers and contractors are complying with GDPR.

GDPR affects any business that has been established in the EU and it also affects some companies that are based outside of the European Union. It is therefore important for your business to identify how often it deals with personal data.

A small business that collects data on a regular basis will need to make sure it is complying with GDPR – no matter how the data is stored. Also, businesses must identify whether they fall under the Data Protection Act. Small businesses that do so will need to accept that GDPR regulations are a lot stricter than DPA.

Customer relationship management

Employing a Customer Relationship Management system, CRM, would be highly beneficial as it has many features to help you keep organised. It allows you to register your leads and contacts. You can then search for this contact in the search bar on the CRM system and it will show the contact. The CRM will also help you understand your customers’ needs and behaviour, giving you an opportunity to identify this and market your products to them at the right time.

Also, the CRM can be used my multiple users even, in different departments, and they all see the same content, so there is less need to be sending emails of your spreadsheets around as you can edit all of the information on the CRM and it is updated for everyone in real-time, which gives everyone an updated version. It is important to keep your business contacts database up to date. However, you can manage this to restrict users from certain aspects of the CRM if it is needed, such as withholding edit and deleting permissions to preventing users from exporting certain CRM data. This also helps with security.

It is done in the cloud so it is all online based which means that there is no need to install this on every employee’s computer which will be very time consuming. However, since it is online based, it could be a target of attacks, so it is important to ensure that your employees use secure passwords and keep them to themselves.

Since this is cloud based, the majority of CRM’s also have mobile apps so you can access the CRM while on the move. This makes it super convenient and always on hand. This means that you can immediately respond to client’s requests to deliver the best service possible, rather than telling your client you will do the task when you are back in the office, which you may need to write a note to remind yourself to do this, which could easily be lost or forgotten. You can even schedule a reminder on the CRM for example to give the client a follow up call.

We have also provided some information on GDPR and further reading on GDPR and have created a data resource if you have any other concerns on.

I hope that these tips have provided you with valuable information to help you maintain your business contacts database and remain compliant with GDPR.

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