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Security Think Tank: Minimise data to cut costs and comply with GDPR

How can organisations maintain usability and keep support costs low without compromising on security?

A company’s typical approach to reducing customer support costs is to outsource customer-facing operations to countries such as India.

This often happens with little regard to data protection legislation. Companies seem to be able to withstand the humble fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office and a spot of bad press.

As it stands, regulatory pressure is just a nuisance. The benefits of cost reduction far outweigh the cost of putting things right if they go wrong.

But with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this is set to change. Huge companies could be brought to their knees with a threatened fine of up to 4% of their global turnover. The benefits of cost reduction will no longer outweigh the corrective costs.

Inevitably, customer support costs will go up, and, most likely, the costs will be passed on to customers. That’s right – customers will be paying an additional premium to the companies they buy services from to protect their own data. Sounds kind of odd, doesn’t it?

So the only real way to start reducing customer support costs is to start reducing the cost of protecting their data. This doesn’t mean taking shortcuts – it means going through a serious data purging exercise and storing the bare minimum of customer information that a business needs to operate.

Marketing and recruitment companies will be heavily affected, as will most government departments, but then that was always the point of GDPR – to get rid of this superfluous personal data storage that just causes everyone a headache.

I am looking forward to the day when I don’t have to set up an account every time I want to buy a pair of socks online, or be tempted to give away my details to win an iPad. GDPR will herald a new era of common sense and force companies to start looking at reducing data protection costs, just to stay competitive.

Don’t need it? Don’t store it. Put a plan in place before you lose your competitive edge. Don’t leave data protection to the last minute. ..............................................................................................


Tim Holman is CEO at 2-sec security consultancy. ........................................................................................................................... .....................................................................................

This was last published in March 2017

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