One-third of UK organisations have no formal data-cleansing processes as yet

A survey by Royal Mail Data Services has revealed how UK organisations are waking up to the ills of poor data management practices and are improving such processes to comply with the GDPR when it comes into effect.

One-third of UK organisations have no formal data-cleansing processes in place even though the GDPR is less than a year away from being implemented across Europe.

While many UK organisations, as revealed by many surveys and reports, continue to remain ill-prepared for the GDPR which is set to come into effect in May 2018, a number of them are now becoming aware of how poor data management practices can hurt revenue and impact their reputations at the same time.

In fact, the number of organisations that are concerned about non-compliance with the GDPR has risen by 242% over the past year, and half of them are also worrying about whether third-party data sources will comply with the GDPR’s strict permissioning guidelines.

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As a result of the increased understanding of the GDPR, many organisations are now focussing on the quality of the customer data they hold and the effectiveness of their existing data management processes.

The Use And Management Of Customer Data report by Royal Mail Data Services has also warned that organisations without comprehensive data-cleansing processes will eventually lose out to ones that use accurate, complete customer information to drive sales, retain customers, and enhance their brand positioning.

'The problem of poor-quality customer data has blighted business for many years, and as the GDPR deadline approaches, those companies that lack effective data management processes will not only continue to suffer an unnecessary hit to the bottom line, but also potentially risk non-compliance with tightened data regulations,' says Jim Conning, Managing Director, Royal Mail Data Services.

Despite the increased awareness, the preparedness of UK organisations for GDPR is still a long way off the mark with as many as one-third of UK organisations having no formal data-cleansing processes in place even though the GDPR is less than a year away.

As per the Royal Mail Data Services report, even though 24.2% of organisations believe better data quality and analysis will improve the performance of their marketing campaigns, 22.9% of them have admitted that poor-quality data is holding them back and another 20% of them admitted that their organisational cultures don’t value the importance of maintaining good-quality data.

'It still comes as a surprise that a large proportion of organisations today have no formal processes or solutions in place to either cleanse or enhance customer data on a continuous basis.

'Yet data quality is of paramount importance to support customer acquisition and retention activities. Rather than regard the enforcement of the GDPR as an unwanted regulatory headache, companies should view it as a spur to action to improve and enhance data quality in order to provide a truly customer-focused marketing experience,' Conning adds.

Back in October, an Annual Market Survey by SailPoint revealed that even though the adoption of formal BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies will help organisations comply with the GDPR and prevent data leakage, the adoption of formal BYOD policies trails the adoption of BYOD in the UK, thereby placing sensitive corporate and customer data help by a number of organisations at risk.

According to the survey, 7 out of 10 (72 per cent) organisations have embraced BYOD and SaaS application adoption, while only 53 per cent have formal policies in place to protect corporate data.

'For enterprises to have full visibility into who has access to what, understanding the ‘who’ in that equation is more important than ever. This is why putting identity at the center of security strategies is the best approach for defending and protecting today’s modern enterprise,' said Juliette Rizkallah, CMO at SailPoint.

Therefore, in order to prepare adequately for GDPR, aside from embracing the best data management practices, organisations must also embrace formal and watertight BYOD policies to ensure they know who has access to what data and how can sensitive data be restricted to a few individuals.