What are your business’s ambitions? Are you hoping to merge with a complementary organisation, or perhaps ultimately be acquired by a bigger player? No doubt you’ve done your research into how to position yourself most attractively. You’ve worked hard to get various key factors in order: your products or services, your workforce, your finances. But what about your data?
A recent report by data consultancy Merrill Corporation found that, following the implementation of the GDPR in May, data protection postures and practices have become significant factors in mergers and acquisitions. Organisations considering joining forces with others, whether in partnership or ownership, are recognising that compliance with stringent data protection and cybersecurity regulations is critical to the cost and success of any merger or acquisition programme. The researchers surveyed nearly 550 accountants, lawyers and other M&A specialists from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and found that over half of them said that deals they had worked on since the implementation of GDPR had been abandoned because of concerns around compliance with the new regulation.
Compliance is an attractive quality
Organisations that are failing to comply with relevant data protection and privacy rules are considered much riskier propositions for mergers and acquisitions than those with their practices in order. First, they need to be made compliant, which may involve investing in new technology or staff, and perhaps significantly altering internal processes. Second, until compliance is achieved, they are at significant risk of reputational and revenue damage, since they are both more likely to suffer a data breach, and required to report any such incident under the terms of the GDPR.
All this means that if your organisation is not following the relevant data protection and privacy frameworks to the letter, you are not only severely jeopardising your chances of a successful deal, but also reducing the value of your business at a stroke.
There is, however, another crucial piece of the puzzle. Compliance alone is not enough. You also need to be able to demonstrate that compliance. Readying your organisation for a merger or acquisition depends in no small part on presenting your business in a clear, comprehensive, honest and attractive way, foregrounding your strengths and helping the proposed partner or buyer to understand precisely what kind of proposition you are. You might know that your data protection practices are watertight, and that you have robust technology and systems in place to protect your and your customers’ data. But, if you cannot prove that knowledge to external parties, then the default assumption is likely to be that you have not come up to the mark.
Introducing Compliance Manager
This is where solutions like Vigilant Software’s Compliance Manager can be invaluable in helping you to prepare for a merger or acquisition, by helping you to get all statutory and regulatory requirements in one place, achieve clear and comprehensive data mapping and share that mapping with relevant third parties.
Want to learn more about how we can help your organisation position itself perfectly for a successful deal? Watch our short introductory videos: vsRisk Cloud, the Data Flow Mapping Tool, the DPIA Tool and Compliance Manager.
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