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Data protection is a hot topic everywhere these days, and it’s about to get hotter. In May 2018, a European privacy law is due to take effect that will require big changes around the world.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will require new privacy and data protection regulations on any organization that offers goods or services to people in the European Union, or that collects and analyzes data tied to EU residents – no matter where that organization is located.

This is an important step forward for individual privacy rights, giving EU residents more control over their personal data, which is precisely defined by the GDPR. It’s the first update to European privacy regulations in more than two decades. It’s also an important opportunity for Microsoft, our customers, and our partners.

IDC estimates that this regulation represents a $3.5 billion security products and services opportunity for partners and customers working to comply with GDPR rules.

Three ways partners can help customers comply with GDPR

1. Data Protection Officers

One requirement under GDPR is that certain companies must hire Data Protection Officers (DPOs). This person is responsible for informing employees of their compliance obligations as well as conducting the monitoring, training, and audits required by the GDPR. DPOs can be hired directly by the company or can be contracted from outside the company.

“Partners could also offer a project management role, whereby in the event of a breach they coordinate, for example alerting first responders, and then manage the overall process. Because when a company gets breached, the biggest challenge they have is maintaining business.”
Nigel Gibbons, Director of Cybersecurity and Cloud Computing, VBC

The International Association of Privacy Professionals estimates that at least 75,000 DPOs will be needed to meet GDPR requirements, and partners may even build this role into a managed service offering.

2. Detection and Notification

The GDPR also requires organizations to report data breaches, in certain circumstances, to the relevant authorities within 72 hours of detection, along with notifications to affected individuals. These notifications must include details on the breach and recommendations for how individuals can mitigate the impact. Partners will play a major role in helping customers build and maintain these detection and notification systems.

3. Risk Management and Mitigation

Lastly, companies must demonstrate that they implemented risk management and mitigation measures, even in absence of a privacy breach or customer complaint. Partners can add massive value here, offering services such as periodic assessments to identify gaps in risk management and migration processes.

The opportunity is global, and we’re here to help

It’s important to remember that even though this is a European regulation, it will require compliance from non-EU organizations. Many companies worldwide will be bound by this regulation, including Microsoft. Partners around the world can build a business around helping organizations comply with these regulations.

“Where organizations are struggling with complexity in their current IT estates, I think GDPR represents a pivot point where these companies are making the decision to become compliant, moving from a multi-modal technology architecture to a more simplified one. Microsoft has the best technology to meet those needs, which puts partners in a strong position to make the most of the opportunity.”
Nigel Gibbons, Director of Cybersecurity and Cloud Computing, VBC

When it comes to preparing for the GDPR, we’ve got your back. Microsoft has a long history of helping our customers comply with complex regulations. You can trust Microsoft to provide the products and services you’ll need as you work to help your customers comply with these new regulations. Please visit www.microsoft.com/GDPR in the Microsoft Trust Center to learn about the new law and how Microsoft can help you prepare.

How do you plan to make the most of this exciting partner opportunity? Share your thoughts in the comments below

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