Nigeria’s large and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in Europe or transacting business with European residents are in for a tough time should their website be hacked and data leaked leading to wide range fines of up to 20 million Euros or four per cent of their company’s global revenue.
This is according to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new European law designed to protect the privacy of citizens, by setting new standards in terms of how personal data was handled. As the law affects any organisation with ties to Europe, it is relevant to businesses around the world.
Failure to adhere to GDPR requirements could prevent trade and other business dealings with European Union (EU) businesses after May 25 2018. The new legislation is a milestone on a journey into a new era, where data is the fuel powering companies of all shapes and sizes, from all sectors.
Lead commercial attorney, Microsoft MEA Emerging Markets,John Edokpolor, informed LEADERSHIP at a training held at its Nigerian office on the looming deadline that “the GDPR was developed in part because in our digital era, people want more control over their privacy, in order to trust technology. Creating this confidence, both within your organisation and with your customers, is key to making sure you’re making the most of data-driven, business-critical insights.
“The May 2018 deadline for GDPR compliance is not a final destination. Rather, it’s just one stepping-stone in an ongoing journey towards realising the full potential of digital transformation across economies and communities. Viewed in this light, establishing a firm approach to data governance represents one of the smartest investments a company can make.”
Edokpolor added that “the law talks about enhanced privacy protection for EU residents. The law stipulates that the consent has to be there, the data has to be stored in a way that the data subject can ask for his/her data. It also stipulate that you have to have a data processing officer (DPO) for large companies. The EU sets the law while its member-states regulates it.”
Speaking to LEADERSHIP recently, First Bank of Nigeria, MD/CEO, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan , said his bank has been working on making sure it complies with the GDPR in the last two years, assuring that with the compliance deadline of May 28 approaching, First Bank has put in place all the necessary safeguards.
The GDPR which was established in April 2015, and takes off on May 25, 2018 effectively, replaces the EU Data Protection Directive of 1995. It affects companies in EU, companies doing business with EU residents and companies not in EU but have branches or representative office in EU. It also affects companies or not for profit organisations monitoring EU residents online.
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