Where has the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) come from? Perhaps in part, it’s due to Gen Z – the young, hyper-connected generation who expect everything online. As organisations have raced to remodel services and build better digital experiences for Gen Z, they’ve unwittingly created a flood of personal data. And now that GDPR is here, the pressure’s on to manage all that data more carefully than ever.
We’ve seen a lot of media coverage about personal data recently. Alarming stories of how our digital footprints are being harvested to drive commercial and political outcomes. GDPR couldn’t really have come at a better time.
I’m sure you’re getting endless new terms and conditions, opt-in emails and privacy updates now related to GDPR. For a lot of people, the instinctive response (despite all the scare stories) is just to accept these at face value. They tick the box, trust that the organisation will treat their data well, and get on with their life. Why is that? Could it be that we’re all becoming a bit Gen Z? That we, like them, now expect to do everything online and demand access to services in digital form – anywhere, anytime?
An unmanageable flood of data?
Gen Z has grown up in the digital age – intuitively pinching and swiping; accessing services on-demand; and viewing content in 4K resolution, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). I can’t think of a generation that has been so technologically advanced compared to the generation that went before.
Most organisations, of course, were born in one of those previous generations and they’re still playing catch up. They’re still on that journey from analogue systems, legacy IT and CAPEX to a digital, agile and service-based model.
To help make that transition, they’ve sought to better understand the expectations and preferences of Gen Z. And thankfully, Gen Z has been happy to give that data up (in exchange for something valuable). It’s something they’ve been doing their whole lives – posting personal views on social sites, sharing details on dating apps and using services that log their likes and dislikes.
In fact, such is their comfort in relinquishing information, organisations have become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of Gen Z data. They never planned for it, and they’ve found it difficult to manage. As a result, many use analytics tools, artificial intelligence and cloud services to process the data and generate business insights. But this has created additional copies, which has further added to the flood. I see it as a bit of a data spiral.
So, what’s the issue? Well, with GDPR now in force, organisations are much more accountable for what they do with all that spiralling data. And we know there are severe consequences for those that fail to meet the standards.
We’re all Gen Z really
Data volumes may be exploding today, but I think we’re a long way off from reaching ‘peak data’. IDC predicts that volumes will swell to 163 ZB by 2025 when 75% of the world’s population will be connected. Data is fast becoming the fuel that powers everything we do – as consumers, within the business, and across public services.
Regulations like GDPR can’t be ignored, clearly. There are big financial penalties for non-compliance. But they shouldn’t be underestimated either. Potentially more damaging than the regulatory fines will be the reputational damage if organisations don’t handle personal data with care.
So, the pressure is on to get to grips with personal data. What are you collecting? Why? How’s it being used? Where’s it being stored? Who’s got access?
Getting a clear picture of your personal data in this way will make it easier to comply with GDPR. Once you know where it all exists, you’ll be able to analyse risk accurately and put the right remedial actions in place.
How ready are you for GDPR?
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