Email Overload: The GDPR is Here (Plus 3 Tips to Save Your Sanity)

How many of you feel personally victimized by the sheer volume of emails you’ve received about the GDPR updates to a company’s privacy policy in the past two weeks? In an effort to see the silver lining (and not make a scene out of a minor inconvenience), I thought I’d offer up a few tips to make it through.

Let’s see a quick show of hands: how many of you feel personally victimized by the sheer volume of emails you’ve received about the updates to a company’s privacy policy in the past two weeks?

I quickly took to Twitter to see if I was alone in feeling overwhelmed, and found many, many reactions (and more than a few treasures.)

Have you ever read a tweet more true?

Say it louder for the people in the back.

No. More. Email. Again. Ever.

This is so relatable it hurts.

Tell me I’m not the only one dancing it out.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

Between my phone, smartwatch and desktop alerts, I’m drowning in email notifications. I’ve read through a few and found most companies, like HubSpot and MOO, had done a pretty good job at explaining the GDPR, and why it should matter to the public (no matter your country of residence.) Being in the cybersecurity and privacy awareness space, seeing this trickle become a full-blown flood over the course of a week intrigued me.

What piqued my interest, specifically, was the timing of it all. The GDPR was adopted back in 2016, with an implementation date of today, May 25, 2018. Even before this, the European Union (the originators of law) had made no secret of the GDPR’s scope and development.

At MediaPRO, we’ve been talking about the importance of the GDPR, creating resources that assist companies on the journey of becoming compliant, and have included GDPR-specific language in our learning for a while now. Yet, it’s only now – in the days and hours leading up to enforcement – that companies are making updates to their policies, and informing consumers of the updates they’ve made to their privacy regulations.

In an effort to see the silver lining (and not make a scene out of a minor inconvenience), I thought I’d offer up a few tips that pair well with a plate of freshly-baked privacy policy emails.

A blessing in disguise: 3 quick tips for being a #GDPRDay winner:

1. Take the time to tidy up

I know the constant barrage of emails is getting old, but use this opportunity to unsubscribe from the products, pages and people that are no longer valuable to you. In the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, author Marie Kondo shares a methodology that can easily apply to your inbox. Pick something up (or in this case, open an email), if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it! 

Smash that unsubscribe button on the company that’s been hounding you ever since you bought that one thing years ago, or from your coworker’s, cousin’s, neighbor’s blog – you won’t miss them, trust me.

2. Review your privacy settings

Data security and privacy is no joke. Both businesses and individuals are at risk of having their sensitive data stolen (or in some cases, given away) on a daily basis. Most recently, the masses were awakened to the value of data privacy on a personal level, with the Cambridge Analytica – Facebook fiasco.

Today, take a page from the EU’s landmark decision to protect citizen data, by locking down your own. Review your privacy settings on social media, web tools, blogs, and the like, to be certain that only the people that you want to have access to your information, have it.

3. Have conversations about the importance of data protection

Whether you’re in the office, at home, or out with friends – discuss with the people around you about what data protection means to you. At home, talk with your parents, siblings, and children about personal privacy and general data protection practices. And at the office, feel empowered to talk about data protection (and cybersecurity) with leaders or teammates.

At the end of the day, the number one risk, and in-turn, the number one defense against cybercriminals, is us – the humans. Do you remember the adage from Smokey the Bear about preventing forest fires? Well in 2018, he’d likely be saying, “Only you have the power to prevent a data breach.” And it’s true!

Bonus tip: Update (and strengthen) your passwords

Though the GDPR and passwords have little in common – I’m willing to bet that you haven’t updated your passwords in a very long time. It’s probably also safe to say there’s many reading that have “weak” passwords, or worse, use the same password for every login. (Only mildly judging)

So take a few minutes today and update your passwords, making each strong (and unique!) It may be difficult to remember, especially going into a three-day weekend, but there’s an assortment of password management tools out there that can streamline the process. Boom! No reason to put it off!

Don’t know how to start the conversation with friends or colleagues around data privacy? We’ve got you covered! Check out our recent infographic, “What Does the Average Employee Know About Data Privacy,” for an inside look at the findings from our 2018 Eye on Privacy Report. Let me be the first to warn you: the data is a bit alarming!

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