By Juliet Umeh
Data management is becoming a big issue across the world and Nigeria is not exempted. Being one of the most populous African countries with over 180 million people, the country is generating a lot of data hence the need for proper management.
To ensure that individuals’ data are not used for purposes they ought not to, experts have raised alarm that there’s need for data to be properly governed.
This, however, led the European Union, EU, to set up General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, to countries under it on May 28, 2018. The regulation means that whoever is doing business with EU citizens must comply or else face penalty in a case of regulatory breach.
Unfortunately, most countries doing business with EU countries are ignorant of the regulation and how it can affect them if they run foul of it.
In order to sensitise Nigerian companies on this issue and how they can ensure compliance with GDPR, a data company, Hitachi Vantara, in collaboration with a computer firm, Allied Computers, gathered different organizations’ Chief Risk and Compliance Offers in Lagos recently. Experts who spoke at the event said Nigeria must abide by the directives since it hosts different nationals or does business with citizens from other countries including EU.
Director, Data Intelligence, Hitachi Vantara, Africa, Mr. Manfred Gramlich, said there’s need for Nigerian companies dealing with EU to understand the impact breaching the GDPR can have on their businesses.
He said: “Hitachi can help Nigerian businesses in their journey to GDPR and other regulations compliance requirements.
He urged the Chief Executive Officers to have understanding of those regulations to prevent data breaches which can have adverse effect on their companies and reputation.
Hitachi Regional Managing Director, West Africa, Mr. Akinwale Awosokanre, also reinforced the position of Gramlich, saying that, anybody that does business anywhere in the world with EU entities, companies and keeps record of data concerning those entities are affected with GDPR irrespective of whether they are in EU or Nigeria. He said organizations should govern and manage data properly and also ensure that data are released to the right people.
He said Hitachi Vantara can provide an end to end solution for anything related to GDPR to ensure companies are not penalized.
Awosokanre added: “Hitachi has been involved in doing this in order countries and felt the need to bring it home and localize it.”
Also speaking, General Manager, Allied Computers, Mr. Olatunji Kehinde, said they understand that it could be explosive if a company runs afoul of the regulations.
“We discovered that a lot of people don’t understand the regulation and how to go about compliance. So this event explained the process of getting compliance, the tools and technology needed to achieve it.
“If you have a foreign partnership deal with EU-based company or with an EU citizen, then you are affected, whether airline, bank, card payment service provider.
“So every Nigerian company is advised to comply. However, the best way to understand compliance is to approach Hitachi and Allied Computers who can help build a compliant solution that is required to navigate the intricacies of the regulation” he added.
Meanwhile, Speaking from legal point of view, a Barrister with Aidan Partners, Kunle Ajagbe, said there’s need for compliance in Nigeria.
He said: “What Nigerian companies who have any business with EU or EU citizens must do is to comply, upgrade their standard of operation, and ensure privacy of data that has been shared with them. That is the only way to avoid the breach and penalty attached to the operations of the GDPR,” Ajagbe said.