GDPR's impact on business is big. Channel companies can help enterprises avoid penalties.

June 20, 2019

5 Min Read


Nectar’s Seth Oestreicher

By Seth Oestreicher, Chief Operating Officer, Nectar

One year on, we’re constantly reminded of the rules and, better yet, penalties associated with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and compliance as it continues to dominate headlines. The rules are designed to give EU citizens more control over their personal data. Companies have to make sure personal data is gathered legally and under strict conditions, and those who collect and manage it must protect it from misuse and exploitation, and respect the rights of data owners.

Channel-Partners-Insights-logo-300x109.pngFundamentally impacting every industry from retail and financial services to health care, GDPR has shaped the way we communicate. No matter what industry you fall into, there’s little doubt the term has been an office buzzword since it came to fruition in May 2018. With the anniversary of the regulation, it’s important to reflect on the impact that GDPR has had on how we do business and, more importantly, issues that are continuing to arise for enterprises as they work to avoid the stiff penalties.

To become compliant as quickly as possible, enterprises are looking to their channel partners for compliant-ready solutions that protect the data and privacy of individuals. However, compliance is a journey, not a destination. As it has affected nearly every industry, it’s surprising there’s a lack of conversation around compliance in unified communications (UC) systems, with security for communication being one of the most dominant areas that GDPR looks to protect.

From an enterprise perspective, GDPR evaluates customer data, employee data, voice system data or any other sensitive information existing on any system. This also extends to how the information is stored, where it is stored, how long it is stored and when it is purged. UC is used in most businesses’ everyday practices — a notification on Skype relating to a meeting or, let’s be honest, a funny meme from a coworker. Salesforce and Microsoft Teams, to name a few, are used worldwide every day.

Enterprise adoption of UC solutions is on the rise and, according to Synergy Research Group, subscribers for UC platforms are expected to grow at a rate of 27% over the next five years, again proving that compliance will continue to be a journey and not a destination as the way we conduct business changes. Enterprises are driving this shift as remote workers and international business exchanges are on the rise, forcing enterprises to adopt solutions that ease communication between employees and customers. After all, communication is key to success for any enterprise.

In both voice and network infrastructure, a majority of businesses are going through a channel partner for a UC solution. It’s rare to find a customer building a voice solution themselves, but if they are, it is vital to invest in a compliant solution immediately, or they will hear the hard knock of auditors at their door. Channel partners realize the value of providing solutions that are GDPR compliant, and in return are seeing shortened sales cycles, given the urgency of the mandate. The advice for enterprises is to …

… evaluate and re-evaluate your solutions to ensure compliance. By working with a channel partner, enterprises receive assurance in compliance. This relieves the financial and time-consuming burden placed on the internal team, deployment of resources, and bringing in auditors, all in hope of avoiding the hard-to-swallow fines that will come if the business is not abiding by regulations.

The true opportunity for enterprises is to invest in a solution that combines both software and services that are readily available and compliant. More traffic is crossing the network than ever and will continue to rise as customers look to move to the cloud and take advantage of other emerging applications. Managing these solutions is on the shoulders of network operators and IT managers. Soon, we will see channel partners solutions dismissed if they’re not compliant. Enterprises have a bigger focus on how to support the applications of tomorrow, meaning GDPR-compliant solutions will be the main selling point for any channel partner. Anything short of a one-stop solution that eliminates the headaches in having to sort through, acquire and manage many different vendor relationships will sink.

So, what’s the call to action? All enterprises, whether UC solutions are deployed within your environment or not, should look to the channel to ease the burden of compliance and avoid fines for violating the regulation.

Seth Oestreicher, chief operating officer for Nectar Services Corp., brings more than 25 years of diverse leadership experience in working with technology companies. In his role at Nectar, Seth drives business operations, including plans, policies and procedures to ensure extensive and sustainable growth for the company. He previously served as chief technology officer of EFT Network, a provider of payment processing solutions, and before that spent 15 years at Xand Corp., a data center, managed services and cloud services operator, where his last position was COO. He also did pioneering work on natural language search engines; community specific content delivery and network applications when he was with Physicians’ Online. On LinkedIn, follow Oestreicher or Nectar Services Corp.

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