Data Protection | Microsoft alerts Corporate Nigeria on new rules

Data Protection | Microsoft alerts Corporate Nigeria on new rules

Data Protection | Microsoft alerts Corporate Nigeria on new rules

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Business owners in Nigeria should pay attention to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), technology industry giant, Microsoft has warned.

Mr John Edokpolor, Lead Commercial Attorney, Microsoft MEA Emerging Markets wants Nigerian businesses to adopt new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was adopted on 27 April 2016 and becomes enforceable from May 25, 2018.

In the GDPR (EU) 2016/679) the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission intend to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union.

The new regulation became a law in April 2016, but given the significant changes some organisations will need to make to align with the regulation, a two-year transition period was included.

The Microsoft exec, who gave this advice during a media briefing, warns that failure to adhere to GDPR requirements can prevent trade and other dealings with EU businesses after the deadline.

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, he says.

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, he says.

“GDPR is a new European law designed to protect the privacy of citizens by setting new standards in terms of how personal data is handled. As the law affects any organisation with ties to Europe, it is relevant to businesses around the world”, Edokpolor says.

The Microsoft exec explains that that as companies increasingly embrace the cloud, they had an unprecedented ability to capture and store massive amounts of data, advancement in business intelligence technology had given organisations the ability to pull insights from data that are predictive in nature.

Stressing the need for businesses to be steps ahead of customer expectations and needs,  Edokpolor says that it is a significant step forward and truly marks the beginning of a new era, one in which data becomes the electricity power companies.

“An updated governance framework for data protection is a logical policy component of this new age.

“Building on these rules, innovation coupled with trust among businesses and citizens will unlock productivity, help companies to keep their customers delighted and fuel a new generation of disruptors. Ultimately, all of these translate into growth”, he says.

According to him,  “data which was the most important asset in a modern company’s business portfolio needed the GDPR as a logical policy since it would guarantee the privacy and integrity of individuals’ data and with the compliance deadline approaching, many companies were thinking of steps to take to meet the new privacy and data protection requirements as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Edokpolor says that achieving this would depend on how the companies would address three things – people, processes, and preparedness.

Some principles that could help to achieve the compliance include effective data management and creation of data confidence culture as effective data governance demands a people-first approach.

”Every business maintains strict processes for tracking revenue, costs, and all manner of financial flows.They don’t just do this because it is required, but because it makes business sense.

You cannot map your company’s future if you do not know your current state of financial affairs to the bottom line. Companies need to maintain the same birds-eye-view of their data assets, via a solid data governance strategy”, according to the Microsoft exec.

The May 25 deadline for GDPR compliance is not a final destination as there is need to place approach to data governance within the context of a broader digital transformation, Edokpolor says.

“Rather, it is just one stepping-stone in an ongoing journey toward realising the full potential of digital transformation across economies and communities.

“Establishing a firm approach to data governance represents one of the smartest investments a company can make,” he adds.

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