GDPR to Business – enemy or opportunity?


Recently, Apple announced it will demand its privacy icons in all apps offered in App Store (meaning – if you haven’t done so yet, be sure to implement Apple’s requirements ASAP – otherwise, your users may have trouble using your app).

Why am I mentioning this? Because Apple – as one of the largest (market cap) companies in the world – noticed that privacy is becoming more and more important for its customers. This fact has become so obvious that Apple started to use it as its market advantage (it even got in conflict with the FBI for not allowing a back door to its operating system). As opposed to Google which is yet to follow.

If you watched the movie Margin Call (I recommend watching it since it shows the start of the 2008 financial crisis), the owner of the company (played by Jeremy Irons) said: “There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat. Well, I don’t cheat.” Apple wanted to be the first among the biggest market players (which in this case also means smarter) to be recognized as a privacy-friendly company. Others will follow (and always be second).

Sure, I am not saying Apple is spotless and without a privacy sin. What am I trying to say is, be first in privacy and get customers’ attention. It is not that hard – I just don’t recommend listening to all the rumors which spread around, that GDPR is ruining businesses. It really isn’t. After the initial investment (mostly time), this topic (if implemented correctly) may almost run on autopilot.

So, this is one way to look at privacy. The other way is from your perspective. Besides Margin Call, I also recommend watching a Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma and you will get to know why i.e. Facebook’s author of the Like button left Facebook. Maybe, you will notice the importance of privacy from other (personal) perspective. And then, you will also understand how your customers feel about their privacy.

A hint instead of a conclusion

One last thing – part of the GDPR requirements is also in line with information security best practices. The highest cost of a hacker’s attack in Slovenia is 2.4 million EUR. Do you want to pay such an enormous price for an attack? Well, if you want to protect your organization from hacking attacks, you need a person who is properly educated in information security (the “average IT guy” is usually not equipt with the (proper) information security knowledge). In the US, the average salary of a Chief Information Security Manager (CISM) has already reached  $150.000 and it’s rising. In Europe, we are a step or two behind. Right now, it is the best time to hire a CISM or educate one or two employees to become CISM, before it gets really expensive – just note that there will be a defficit of 3.5 million information security experts in 2021 solely. So get one now, while you can, for a normal (Slovenian) price.

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