Why GDPR compliance goes beyond a CISO's agenda?

Updated: Jul 29


Vector image of a see-saw with GDPR on one arm and CFO on the other.
Attempt to be GDPR Compliant is a full organizational exercise

Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) already have a lot on their plate, don’t they? From routine audits to managing IT risks within the company, they seem to be at the forefront of the company’s information security hull, sailing it towards safety and revenue increase. Managing compliance is one of the key responsibilities a CISO undertakes, with the EU-mandated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance often taking the helm.

Even as the central accountability lies with the CISO, GDPR compliance requires unanimous support and collaboration of all functions within the organization. But more than support, the leadership across functions, including the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) are reliant on being GDPR compliant, making it a core part of their agenda.

CISO - IT Security Compliance

One of the pivotal statements that GDPR aims to make is that Information Privacy is now considered a Human Right (Article 8). A CISO is responsible for developing and implementing information security programs and policies. CISO also responds to data breaches and other security incidents. The CISO also anticipates, assesses, and actively manages any emerging threats. By the virtue of his role, a CISO is the ultimate owner of GDPR compliance in an organization.

CFO - Financial Risk Management

Any organization that does business through website, email, online marketing, cloud-based, or a SaaS solution, comes under the jurisdiction of GDPR. GDPR non-compliance can be expensive, with fines that can go up to 4% of the previous year’s annual global turnover or €20M, whichever is higher. Thus, non-compliance becomes a financial risk. CFOs have to actively identify, manage and mitigate risks, bringing GDPR non-compliance high on their agenda. When organizations treat non-compliance as a financial risk, they can only take appropriate steps to instill GDPR adherence.

CMO - Impact on Brand Image

GDPR did not come out of the blue and was the answer to data privacy-related concerns among EU residents. But a wise Marketing Head will see it as an opportunity to create a positive public image for the company. As per Cisco Consumer Privacy Survey 2021, 86% of participants across the 12 countries (5 Europe, 4 Asia Pacific, and 3 Americas) cared about their data privacy. Meanwhile, 79% said that they are willing to take measures to protect it. Thus, GDPR non-compliance will erode the trust of EU-based consumers and consumers worldwide in the brand.

CRO - Trust Builder Among Businesses

It is not presumptuous to assume that companies generally don’t deal with other companies or countries actively or passively committing Human Rights violations. Worldwide corporations pulling back from Russia due to the Ukraine-Russia Crisis is a great example. Thus, GDPR compliance helps instill trust in credit amongst corporations, business partners, and customers. Even remote associations with companies can bind financial risks. So Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) should treat GDPR compliance as an opportunity to gain trust points with business partners and B2B customers.

GDPR Compliance as an Investment

Due to these reasons, GDPR compliance becomes not a liability but an investment. Such an investment can be made on behalf of the company and benefit it in the long run. You can start implementing GDPR compliance through any of the following ways.

In-house Teams

Large organizations typically build a dedicated in-house team for GDPR compliance compatible with their complex business operations.

Consultants

Enterprises struggling to build the right capability in-house, either due to lack of right resources or bandwidth constraints, outsource to consultants with expertise in the domain to actively manage GDPR compliance.

Infosec Compliance Companies

Perhaps the best choice for medium and small businesses is to automate their GDPR compliance requirements through compliance automation software. Such companies go beyond GDPR compliance and cover adherence to other security standards like SOC 2 and ISO 27001 at the same time.

Scrut Automation is a smart and radically simple Governance, Risk, and Compliance automation platform for growing startups and mid-market enterprises. With Scrut, Compliance teams can reduce ~70% of their manual effort in continuously maintaining compliance towards SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, PCI DSS, and privacy laws like HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA. Schedule your demo today to see how it works.

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