Many argue that data is worth more than oil – and they are right. In fact, of the top 10 companies in the world by market value, five of them have data at the core of their businesses and of the others, only one is in the oil industry. So in an age when a digital footprint is a valuable commodity, it makes sense for companies to be accountable for every aspect of the collection, storage and usage of data in their business.
Overseas operations add a layer of complexity when it comes to compliance – just ask British Airways, which was fined a record-breaking $189 million for their data breach in 2019.
Penalties like these emerged after the European Union introduced the General Data Protection Regulation in 2018 and gave individuals control over their personal data. Companies that breach the GDPR risk fines of up to â‚¬20 million ($22 million), or 4% of their global turnover, whichever is higher.
Data Privacy vs. Data Protection?
When operating global projects, the way a company uses, and stores data will need to comply with all local and international rules. To understand the severity of data breaches, it helps to clarify some of the basics.
What’s the difference between Data Privacy and Data Protection?
Data Privacy ensures that only the right people have authorized access to data.
Data Protection is how your personal information is used by organizations and how to secure against unauthorized access to data.
Data protection is a mostly technical challenge, while data privacy is more complicated and relies on factors like how sensitive the data is and why it is needed.
What ‘Data’ Is Potentially at Risk?
The Data that is potentially at risk of a breach, includes:
- The contact details of your current customers, such as names, addresses, work history and even financial information like bank account details;
- Information about visitors to websites, including IP addresses, country of visitor, what the visitor looked at, any keywords or downloads used and how long they spent on each page.
- Any prospective clients including older lists of previous clients and contacts;
- Lists of potential sales leads from external companies that provide commercial lists;
- Company employee’s information such as personal information, sensitive HR information and financial data.
The potential impact of a breach is significant. It’s not just the huge fines but also the loss of reputation and standing in a company’s industry, and most importantly, the individuals affected by breaches.
Trust through Technology
While compliance can appear to be daunting, the data a company can glean from potential clients is invaluable and leads to improved products and services. So, as long as data continues to provide insights, companies will still continue to collect and analyze it.
However, people are becoming increasingly aware that companies may store information about them but most are unaware of the rules and regulations. Just 8% of European Internet users are ‘very aware’ of data privacy and protection rules, according to the CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust 2019. In fact, more than half the world is completely unaware of these rules.
Businesses that can confidently and responsibly handle their clients’ and employees’ information and data will gain greater trust in the marketplace, especially if they are able to do this globally.
Secure Your Overseas Employees – Consult with Specialists
Even though data is used in many employees across a host of departments, it is easy to forget that behind all the data there are individuals, so every company has an obligation to protect personal information.
This may appear straightforward for a business with just a handful of clients or employees based in one country. However, as soon as you expand globally the laws and risks grow exponentially.
If you are hiring people internationally for your project, it is vital to comply with data protection and privacy laws covering HR and payroll. Thankfully, companies such as Employer of Record (EOR) can enable a company to compliantly employ overseas and will guarantee the compliance of your staff in the country of your choice without any risk to the business.
About Elements Global Services:
Elements Global Services is an award-winning HR technology & services company. Elements provides employment solutions in over 160 countries – covering everything from payroll, benefits, HR, local compliance to visa & mobility. Headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, Elements has a global network of offices and employees delivering innovative solutions to its growing customer base. Elements’ Direct Employer of Record model helps companies expand, onboard, manage & pay employees worldwide. Visit elementsgs.com or LinkedIn for more information.