3 Ways GDPR May Affect Your Customers

Save to My DOJO

3 Ways GDPR May Affect Your Customers

Several years have passed since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented in May 2018. This regulation remains a pivotal aspect of data privacy and protection in the EU, and its impacts have been widely felt across global businesses. GDPR, which replaced the EU’s 1995 Data Protection Directive, focuses on giving EU citizens more control over their personal data and has set a new standard for data privacy worldwide. 

Even if your business is based outside the EU, GDPR’s reach may still affect you, especially if you have customers in the EU or deal with EU citizens’ data. This ongoing relevance of GDPR means that understanding its implications is crucial for businesses worldwide. In this context, I will explore how GDPR continues to shape customer interactions and the services you must offer to remain compliant and respectful of data privacy norms.

What’s the Big Deal With GDPR?

There are some very specific rights granted EU citizens with GDPR that may impact your customer’s business operations.

  • Data Breaches – GDPR makes any personally identifiable information protected, requiring it’s processing to be handled in a way that ensures it is never misused.
  • Right to Access – EU citizens have the right to access their own data, which includes detail around how it has been processed, the reasoning behind the processing, who the data has been shared with, and how the data was acquired.
  • Right to Erasure – EU citizens have the right to request that their personal data be erased (providing your customers aren’t engaged in any active business with said citizen).
  • Right to Data Portability – The citizen has the right to transfer any personally identifying information (PII) to another organization using a common data format.

How Does it Impact Your Customers?

First and foremost, let me clarify that I am not a legal expert, and this should not be taken as legal advice. However, I will strive to offer some practical insights into how GDPR typically affects businesses, including smaller enterprises. In discussing the following three key areas, the aim is to understand the impact of GDPR and identify opportunities to adapt your services to support compliance and enhance customer trust.

Impact 1 – How They Collect Customer Data 

Under GDPR, explicit consent is mandatory for anyone completing a web form. This marks a significant shift from the passive opt-in methods previously used. If your customers are engaging with EU citizens online, their web forms must be updated to reflect this change. This involves clear consent mechanisms, transparency about data usage, and easy opt-out options, ensuring compliance and building customer confidence.

Impact 2 – How They Process Customer Data 

GDPR elevates personal identifiable information (PII) of EU citizens to a protected status. Businesses must implement robust processes to handle the collection, usage, transfer, and sharing of PII responsibly. They also need to establish protocols for responding to individuals’ rights, such as access to their data, requests for erasure, and data portability. This may involve overhauling existing data management systems and training staff to handle data according to GDPR standards.

Impact 3 – How They Engage You to Manage Customer Data 

As a service provider, you’re already integral to implementing, managing, and safeguarding your clients’ critical systems and data. With GDPR, your role becomes even more pivotal. You may need to assist your clients in several areas:

  • Where is their customer data? – To comply with data erasure requests, businesses must know precisely where the PII is stored. You can offer services to map out which systems and applications contain PII, ensuring comprehensive compliance.
  • Have we had a data breach? – Rapid identification and response to data breaches are crucial under GDPR. You can proactively establish monitoring systems for user and system activity, helping to not only detect breaches but also define their scope.
  • How do we delete a customer record entirely?GDPR’s right to erasure requires that customer records be deleted from all systems. This can be complex and involves more than just pressing ‘delete.’ You can offer solutions that ensure complete and compliant data removal across multiple platforms.

Keeping GDPR in Context

Remember, this only applies to companies that do business with EU citizens. It should also be noted that that’s a pretty large number of companies in the world. So, the application to GDPR is likely less of a concern for the very small mom-and-pop businesses (as the likelihood of their single-store pizza shop being the target of the EU government) and more for any larger entities that have multi-national customers.

Since the initial adjustment period, which concluded in May 2018, the landscape of data protection and privacy has continued to evolve. Surprisingly, many businesses are still grappling with GDPR compliance. As we move forward, it’s crucial for companies to stay informed about the latest developments in GDPR. They should explore various service offerings to assist their clients in adhering to these regulations. This includes both one-time solutions and ongoing support to ensure continued compliance. Keeping abreast of GDPR and helping your customers navigate its complexities should be a top priority for businesses in this interconnected digital age.


If you still haven’t considered the implications of GDPR after more than five years, you definitely need to start NOW. Even if you think it doesn’t apply to you, chances are you have a customer that services an EU national in some way/shape/form, and you don’t want to have your customer deal with the legal fallout from that if you (The trusted IT Advisor) misses it.

For those of you who have already dealt with GDPR, what were your thoughts on the process? Was it time-consuming? Was it difficult to see where it applied?

Altaro O365 Backup for MSPs
Share this post

Not a DOJO Member yet?

Join thousands of other IT pros and receive a weekly roundup email with the latest content & updates!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *