Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry | 3. Purged and Cleansed
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3. Purged and Cleansed

01 Jun 3. Purged and Cleansed

Clutter is one of the greatest enemies of efficiency and stealers of time  – Don Aslett

I feel purged and cleansed in one sense, but on the other hand stressed and confused.  My email inbox has almost exploded with companies suddenly wanting to ‘stay in touch’, wanting to ‘keep you on our mailing list’ and inviting me to ‘review our privacy policy’.

As an individual GDPR is a term bandied about on the evening news, on radio discussions as well as my poor struggling inbox.  Do I really need all this hassle? What is it all about? And why does it affect me?

Let’s start with the letters GDPR, these stand for General Data Protection Regulation which came into force on 25 May 2018 across the entirety of Europe.  The UK is included regardless of whatever happens with BREXIT. It has taken about 7 years to come into play and replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive.   In the 23 years since this directive emerged, technology and data has changed its face many times; so an overhaul is probably long overdue.

For me as an individual, I now have the power to ask companies what data they hold on me and, what they intend to use it for.  I can ask them to destroy anything that could identify me. Some companies will have legitimate reasons to keep my information for instance medical or financial data.   One would hope that any company I deal with would store my information safely and not sell it on, but I used to receive hundreds of cold calls in the past.   There is now a certain assurance that companies will comply with this regulation and high fines will be issued to those who are non-compliant.

It may take a while for the calls to be eradicated completely but already I have seen a reduction.  I found a certain cathartic mindfulness about cleansing the inbox and unsubscribing from companies who I once bought an obscure item as a gift from and no longer wish to be bombarded with their marketing spam.

As a company owner I admit to being stressed, still a little confused by the enormity of the whole GDPR thing. I have joined the throng of other businesses and sent out opt in forms for my clients wanting to be on my mailing lists.  Different lists for different customers as the one thing I have found out is ‘one size definitely does not fit all’ and each business holds different information for different reasons.

I am now the proud owner of new lockable cabinets with keys.  I had these before but they were so old and the keys replicated for different people to access that I had lost count.   I have a shiny new but already well used shredder for disposing of documentation securely. I have a fresh new updated policy file with some very simple policies, some more complex.  ‘Just in case’ policies and ‘what if’ policies which has opened my mind to how and what I need to keep; why and where.

My phone is now fingerprint accessible with a backup code to get in and my laptop also, I am still working on the face recognition process.  My computers in the office are timed to lock out and require a secret password to access them.  I have the passwords locked away and securely unavailable.  These are just the start of what I am now having to justify to myself and my staff.    Staff information is just as confidential as my clients and in most cases I hold more data on them.  I then realised other data I hold.

If, like me you suddenly find you have not opted-in to be included on a mail out or information options it is possible to go onto a mailing list.   Just as when we connect with a new company we may have to opt in, as we always have done but the process will be clearer with a definitive reason for them keeping my data.

If you have opted out of Chamber mails by mistake, please contact Fran Hill to be added in again.

If you would like to join the chamber please download the membership form here.

We will be supporting Gillingham in Gear on the Town Meadow on Saturday 2 June.



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