The top 6 GDPR compliance stumbling blocks that every business offering services in European countries should watch out for


GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation is a data security law concerned with the citizens of the European Economic Area and the European Union. Any company which uses personal and commercial data of these citizens must comply with the rules of GDPR.

Summarizing the GDPR rules; it not only directs companies to use and store client data but also verifies whether or not that data is secured properly, making it mandatory to inform the clients regarding any kind of data breach.

Here are some GDPR compliance statistics:

  • As per research by Spiceworks, 70% of EU and 75% of UK IT professionals favor GDPR at large.
  • According to McDermott, Will & Emery, 60% of respondents stated that GDPR guidelines have streamlined their organization’s workflow owing to data management solutions in the form of collection, protection, and usage of the personal information.
  • A Verizon Data Breach Investigations report explains that above 2000 data breaches and 40,000 security incidents happened in 2018, with 32% of them being related to phishing.
  • As per research from the DMA, 62% of consumers revealed their confidence has increased when it comes to sharing personal data due to the improved data security laws.
  • According to the Deloitte report, 21% of the respondents were of the view that GDPR has provided them with business enablement, competitive edge, and improved reputation, apart from data security.

So, let us get started and discover the compliance pitfalls which are most common amongst businesses. Here are the top 6 GDPR compliance stumbling blocks:

1. Believing you need not comply with the GDPR guidelines

One of the most common stumbling blocks for staying in compliance with the GDPR guideline is the belief that your business does not need to comply in the first place. Just as we discussed above, all the companies that are collecting personal data of Europe citizens have to follow the data guidelines set by GDPR.

If you think that you are a non-Europe registered company and need not follow these guidelines, but are still operative in the EU, you may be liable for a penalty by GDPR. So, before starting with your services in the EU, make sure you understand each and every GDPR guideline.

2. Inability to delete customer data

An important GDPR derivative, the right to delete customer data, mandates businesses to delete complete master customer data upon their request. In the past, businesses used to delete only a portion of customer information while still using their contact numbers for marketing purposes.

This kind of approach has been completely abolished with the GDPR guidelines, which clearly states that in no way can the businesses use customer data after a customer declares the termination of his/her relationship with them. So, proper methods need to be built for data management processing and deleting master customer data records in one go. Also, it is important that the businesses keep evidence of whatever they are deleting from the master customer data to avoid any kind of legal or penalty hassle.

3. Cherry-picking GDPR guidelines

Most of the businesses simply focus on the most-discussed GDPR elements like the need for a DPO( data protection officer), consent management, and the right to delete personal data. However, these do not constitute all the elements of GDPR as there are 11 chapters with 99 articles that explain the complete guidelines in detail.

This makes it evident to go through all these guidelines and comply with the same before providing any services in the EU and collecting any personal data of its residents.

4. Personal information identification failure

The GDPR directives which are related to the personal information form its backbone. Businesses have to understand that the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is not just limited to a customer’s contact information, IDs, BAN (International Bank Account Numbers), e-mails, and more.

If businesses need to be GDPR compliant, they also have to consider the unstructured customer data like IP addresses, social media posts, geographical locations, profile images, etc. So, make sure you have read the complete personal information GDPR compliance before collecting and using any.

5. Using customer data other than intended

What most businesses do is that they collect customer data on behalf of something and then use it for marketing purposes. If your business has gathered customer data for taking care of the customer query or complaints, you must use their data for that specific purpose only. The GDPR does not allow for any kind of vulnerabilities when it comes to the usage of customer data.

So, make sure your marketing team is aware of this fact and that they are not sending out attractive deals and offers to them via the medium of e-mails, calls, or in person.

6. Not taking legal assistance

Irrespective of the fact that on what scale you provide services in Europe and gather customer data, it is imperative to take legal assistance in order to be sure of compliance with the GDPR. Businesses have a lot of tasks to handle, and if they have to go in-depth of these guidelines, understand, and implement them into their systems, it will definitely appear to be an overwhelming task.

Getting an experienced and skillful legal counsel on board is recommended as one cannot match the expertise of a professional. Apart from this, taking the help of data management outsourcing providers is also a viable option as they have an in-house expert team who can assist you completely on the same, along with managing your data and unproductive back-office tasks.


GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is vital for any business that is directly or indirectly involved in business activities in Europe and uses the personal information of the residents. Every business must try its best to avoid the above-mentioned stumbling blocks when it comes to keeping compliance with the GDPR as failing to do so not only costs a company in terms of a financial loss but also hampers its business image, along with the elimination of trust that the customers have in their brand.

Adriene Raynott is a Sr. Business Analyst at Cogneesol. She loves to write and research on different business subjects like outsourcing, business technology, retail management, legal, and data entry services to share valuable information that leads to business growth.