It will have been very difficult to have avoided the hype surrounding the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into force this month. Media coverage has been excessive, which is perhaps why it’s all the more surprising that a survey published in April confirmed that 60 per cent of organisations were at risk of missing the May 25th deadline, with only 7 per cent claiming to be already in full compliance. The remaining 33 per cent felt on target for achieving compliance ahead of the 25th ¹.
The new rules from the European Union aim to simplify data protection laws and provide EU nationals with more control over their personal data. If businesses who control or process this data – whether they are based in the EU or have customers from any of the member states – misuse, exploit, misplace or mishandle it, the financial consequences are stark: up to 4 per cent annual worldwide turnover, or up to €20m. The reputational cost and potential loss of business also pose significant risks to ongoing commercial success.
“Not only will a well-designed DMS remove a number of GDPR compliance-based risks, it will deliver tangible improvements to operations too; speeding up processes, improving opportunity for customer collaboration, reducing administrative input, and cutting costs.”
When it comes to personal data contained within business documents, it’s easy to see why many organisations may be struggling to get a firm handle on implementing GDPR compliance. With thousands, sometimes millions, of documents providing the backbone of workflows and formalised customer interaction, managing the lifecycle of these files – and being able to demonstrate to auditors that the personal data contained within them is being handled appropriately – can seem like a daunting task. This challenge is amplified when we consider the multiple departments and people within any given organisation, using different siloed systems and processes (often email servers and paper-based methods) to store and manage documents.
Innovative, intuitive, and intelligent Document Management Systems (DMS) can alleviate a lot of the challenges brought about by the GDPR by:
- Providing a user-friendly, centralised repository for all business documents to be securely stored and managed.
- Championing security with permissions and security templates to ensure only authorised personnel can access files.
- Opening up visibility of a document’s entire lifecycle, with the added benefit of automated numbering and versioning.
Overall, DMS represents an easy and effective means of taking control of business documents and appropriately managing the personal data contained within them. Not only will a well-designed DMS remove a number of GDPR compliance-based risks, it will deliver tangible improvements to operations too; speeding up processes, improving opportunity for customer collaboration, reducing administrative input, and cutting costs.