Whether you’re a business operating in or outside of Europe, you’ve probably come into contact with the General Data Protection Regulation otherwise known as GDPR. Although this legislation has been enforced by the European Parliament, it will continue to impact businesses around the world that have relationships with European consumers.

You can’t deny that GDPR has been a talking point for businesses around the world — in a bid to better protect the data of European citizens. Although the 25th of May has passed, and businesses believe that they have become compliant with the regulations, they must continue to monitor and adjust their operations to avoid the harsh penalties that have been set out. These include: 4% annual global turnover or €20m fee – whichever appears greater in relation to the non-compliant organisation.

We take a look at how continuing traditional methods of data collection such as paper use can be damaging to your overall operations.

Are businesses still storing paper?

More people believe that businesses are steering away from paper usage — especially with the rise of the cloud and digital contracts. However, 31% of businesses are still ‘piled high with paper’ and only 17% are almost paperless all together.

With GDPR taking a greater focus on data protection, handling paper documents has never been more dangerous. Consumers now have the right to know that their data is being handled in the safest way possible and, if not, this legislation has made it easier for them to seek legal action if they require — to help combat potential data breaches.

Making sure that your business is in line with the legislation can be a timely job with additional costs which can be detrimental for an organisations. Because of this, more businesses are opting for paperless solutions.

Many businesses are struggling with the ‘right to be forgotten’ section which is under Article 17. For organisations which have kept information for a long period of time in an insufficient way because there has been no previous enforced structure to follow, this could potentially be detrimental and cause great implications on their business.

As paper documents are fragile, you can never be fully compliant under GDPR if you continue to use them and become at higher risk of penalization. If a customer who has previously given their personal information to your organisation was to make a request to erase their details, you will find yourself asking many questions throughout the process of removal.

As well as this, using paper takes up a lot of storing space and you could forget its whereabouts.  You might even be wondering whether you still have the information; regardless, you will still be required to check, which could slow down business operations on a much larger scale.

Is your business printing paper?

Although your office may be packed with technology that has been acquired over the years, have you been updating it? If not, that’s a problem. Products are becoming smarter, which is allowing us to have greater control over operational activities. These include printers and fax machines, which are now referred to as internet-capable and end-point devices and although this level of accessibility is beneficial, there are some drawbacks that accompany it.

Any GDPR issues that are linked with printing will likely be down to human error. If a sensitive document has been sent to print and, assuming that the printer does not have a pull-print solution (which allows an authorized individual to release the paper), the wrong person could collect the document. If this document has classified data on it, you’ve had a data breach.

If you implement the right features across your printers, you’ll be able to monitor its use — who sent and released what documents. This could make it difficult if you were to have a data breach, as investigations would need to try and find who was responsible and who picked up the documents.

If you opt for paperless solutions across your business, there’s less chance of being penalized by GDPR. Implementing a paperless strategy would also be cost effective for your business, while offering environmental benefits too.

This article was brought to you by retail management software providers, Maplewave.

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