POPIA: it’s not as scary as you suppose

Proper now, there’s a phrase that’s holding many South African enterprise executives awake at evening — and it’s not Covid-19. Whereas few had been wanting, POPIA, the Safety of Private Data Act, got here into impact on July 1 2020, and it’s going to basically change the way in which South African companies cope with customers’ private info.

POPIA establishes quite a few minimal necessities that companies and different organisations should adjust to when coping with private info: how they collect it, use it and defend it. This contains having to implement measures and procedures to safe that info.

These new necessities apply to each single entity within the nation that processes any private info, together with all companies. Companies have 12 months to get their home so as, with fines of as much as R10-million for non-compliance.

How will POPIA have an effect on my enterprise?

In fact, POPIA shouldn’t come as a shock to any enterprise: knowledge safety and compliance is a dialogue we’re having with most of our prospects anyway. It impacts each enterprise, and each a part of the enterprise, even to the extent of making certain your suppliers and your employees are compliant as effectively.

POPIA will have an effect on completely different organisations in several methods. Usually talking, you’ll must assessment your knowledge assortment and storage insurance policies, and embark on a journey of creating your total firm extra data-savvy.

Your enterprise might have to alter its method to buyer info, and this can be a dialog that needs to be pushed from the highest downwards. If ever there was a time to spring-clean your info, that is it. Ask your self: what private info will we maintain? How will we get it, and why do we now have it? Is the consent we now have legitimate beneath POPIA?

From a advertising and marketing perspective, you’ll should rethink the way you attain new prospects. The times of shopping for a database after which bombarding these in it along with your advertisements and advertising and marketing messages are gone. Legally, your T&Cs paperwork should change. You may’t simply have catch-all clauses: you really should get individuals’s specific consent to assemble and use their knowledge. And in the event that they wish to be forgotten, you need to allow them to go.

What’s the profit for my enterprise?

POPIA is a superb alternative for native companies to overtake not solely their knowledge insurance policies, however their total method to knowledge safety, and transcend mere compliance to create a supply of belief and benefit with their prospects.

A part of the problem is that many corporations nonetheless see knowledge safety and compliance as a price, a grudge buy or a box-ticking train. To us, it’s the precise reverse: it’s a saving, when you think about the staggering influence and price of information breaches for corporations.

Firms that get proactive about compliance are creating large strategic benefits for themselves. Finished correctly, compliance makes what you are promoting extra danger conscious, extra clear to regulators and you’ll be able to cut back operational prices. 

So what do I do subsequent?

Discover out what’s legally required to maintain your prospects secure and hold their private knowledge out of hurt’s method. On the similar time, you’ve obtained to guard what you are promoting info, which is your supply of aggressive benefit.

However to make it work, you need to realise that knowledge compliance and safety is a steady course of, not a once-off occasion. You’ve obtained to plan forward, and ship a transparent message all through your organisation that you simply take knowledge compliance and safety significantly. It’s not only a query of putting in a number of firewalls and a few bells and whistles: it’s a tradition that needs to be embedded and strengthened.

Finally, it’s a good suggestion to talk to an knowledgeable, or your managed enterprise companies supplier, to evaluate the influence of POPIA on what you are promoting. That method, you possibly can flip compliance to your benefit.

To study extra in regards to the POPI Act an the way it impacts you, click here.

Daniel Lotter is Head of Innovation at Itec

About Itec Group South Africa

Itec is southern Africa’s fastest-growing workplace automation, manufacturing printing and tele- communications options supplier. By way of its 47 southern African branches, the corporate implements whole workplace options based mostly on imported, industry-leading, and award-winning merchandise.

Itec serves medium-sized and huge companies in sectors as various as monetary companies and retail, supporting its revolutionary options with proactive service supply. A few of its 18 000 prospects embrace Worth Logistics, Implats, Division of Housing, Enterprise Connexion, ADT, Rand Refinery, First Nationwide Financial institution, Anglogold Ashanti, Nationwide Well being Laboratory Providers and ADvTECH.

Itec administration rebranded the corporate in 2004 following a merger of the separate copier, printer, and fax enterprise items initially established in 1987.

For extra info, please go to www.itecgroup.co.za