It’s been about a year and a half since General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in effect. Since that time, there have been tremendous shifts in how companies view and carry out their privacy practices.

This article will explore some of the ways that GDPR has changed the landscape and will offer insights on how companies can further improve their privacy practices.

Let’s dive in.

Companies are more aware — and concerned — about customer privacy

Perhaps one of the most positive things to come out of enforcing GDPR is that it pushed businesses to take customer privacy more seriously. Thanks to GDPR, companies are more cautious with how they collect and share customer information, which in turn helps them build trust among customers.

GDPR also gives brands the opportunity to communicate the benefits that customers will gain by sharing their information. This can be advantageous and can lead to a higher likelihood that the customers will share their data.

According to Acxiom, 58% of consumers are considered “data pragmatists” meaning they will share their information if there is a clear benefit in doing so.

Internal policies have matured

Because of GDPR, many businesses have improved their internal policies to make sure that they’re covered by the necessary legal standards. The new privacy regulations have been translated and consolidated into internal policies and guidelines.

Gone are the days when companies can quickly go live with an initiative and start collecting data. In the post-GDPR landscape, getting legal compliance validation has become one of the most important — and time-consuming — steps when it comes to adopting and implementing new solutions.

Privacy consent management has become more complex

The process of collecting and managing privacy consent has also grown to become more complex since GDPR mandates that personal data is collected legally and under strict conditions. More importantly, companies must obtain privacy consent from the customer whenever their data is collected and used.

This is where things can get complicated.

Businesses can process customer data in various ways — e.g., sometimes all they need is a customer’s email address for their newsletter, while other times they may need more data to personalize the customer experience.

It’s critical that brands ensure that they’re processing customer data based on the specific level of privacy consent that the customer has given them.

For example, some companies collect the email address of their customers for the only purpose of sending them marketing emails, as stated in their privacy policy. In order to honor the data minimization principle of GDPR, some brands prefer not storing and further processing an email address unless the customer also provided explicit consent to receive marketing communication.

Accomplishing this is easy enough for straightforward situations like newsletter subscriptions. But more sophisticated types of data processing — such as customer profiling and personalization — require special handling of privacy consent.

As such, it’s important to adopt a technology solution that makes it easy for businesses to manage customer privacy consent. If they just need to collect someone’s email address, then their system should automatically delete the unnecessary personal information in order to minimize data.

On the other hand, if companies intend to engage in profiling and personalization, then their system must be equipped to collect the data required to implement their initiatives — and have capabilities that are granular enough to support the specific privacy consent gathered from the customers. All this while staying compliant with GDPR.

Cloud4Wi helps companies stay compliant without the GDPR complexity

Working with dozens of large brands and legal teams, Cloud4wi has learned what companies need to efficiently manage customer privacy consent.

Cloud4Wi developed internal processes and product features to give brands all the flexibility and control they need to manage privacy consent. These will ultimately shorten the time to value, reducing the amount of time spent in legal validation.

We designed a flexible option that allows businesses to set the minimum level of privacy consent to be obtained from their customers. Specifically, Cloud4Wi automatically anonymizes personal information that isn’t covered by the privacy consent given by the customer.

So, if businesses just need to collect someone’s email address for marketing purposes, the system will automatically anonymize information they don’t need — such as the customer’s first and last name, gender, age, etc.

On the other hand, if companies need more privacy consent from customers — i.e. for profiling and personalization — Cloud4Wi lets them manage this in their backend settings. The system will then process the necessary customer data (including personal information and behavioral activity) that would enable them to personalize each customer’s experience.

It’s important to note that not all solution providers offer this level of granular control in their solutions, as there really isn’t much incentive for them to do so. But Cloud4Wi cares deeply about helping companies stay compliant which is why we’re putting these features front and center.

Learn more about how Cloud4Wi can help enterprises stay compliant with GDPR. Get in touch today!