July 09, 2021

What the PDPA Means for You and Your Business

What the PDPA Means for You and Your Business

The four letters PDPA, standing for: Personal Data Protection Act, may send shivers down the spine of many business leaders. Because they simply see it as that thing that must be considered in everything they do or face the eye-watering fines and reputational damage that has already impacted hundreds of businesses across Singapore.

But this shouldn’t be the case. In today’s increasingly data-driven world, the PDPA was established to ensure good management of personal data by organisations and to give users greater control over their personal data. And in fact, the regulatory legislation presents many opportunities for businesses and consumers alike.

In this article, we’ll explore what the PDPA means for you and your business, recent amendments to the legislation and the benefits it brings. Complete with a look at some of the ways Shred-it can help you to ensure compliance, to avoid joining the ever-growing list of organisations to receive fines from the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) for not doing the right thing.

When was PDPA Implemented?

The PDPA was passed by the Parliament of Singapore on 15 October 2012 and was implemented in three phases, with the first phase of general provisions came into effect on 2 January 2013. Since then, however, there have been some key amendments to the legislation, with the latest amendments taking effect on 1 February 2021 [1].

In short, these changes now see companies being penalised more heavily for data breaches, with the maximum amount that a company can now be fined for a data breach amounting to 10% of its annual turnover or $1 million, whichever is higher. 

Organisations are now also required by law to inform both the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) and affected individuals of data breaches that result in or are likely to result in significant harm. But on the flipside, businesses will also be granted more freedom to use personal data to innovate under changes to the PDPA.

Benefits PDPA Compliance Can Bring to Your Business

Rather than simply seeing the legislation as more red tape to navigate, it’s important to understand its data protecting qualities – and to use it to your advantage. One such benefit is its encouraging of having more accurate, secure, and organised data. 

Organising office files, updating customer profiles, and putting safer data measurements, while laborious, is essential to supporting compliance. The PDPA is a great incentive to get these jobs done and refine your document management policies, making your business more efficient and secure.

Perhaps most important of all is the better customer relationships this supports. By showing your customers you’re fully compliant with the PDPA, this builds trust and promotes the confidence that’s essential to creating solid and successful business relationships.

In response, this also enhances your own business reputation. Trust is and always be a cornerstone of business – and the legislation is a sure-fire way to earn and maintain that trust. Or to look at it another way, loss of trust (and the subsequent loss of business) is reported to now make up the largest share of the cost of a data breach according to the Cost of a Data Breach Report [2].

How to Support PDPA Compliance

Last time out, we explored ways to protect your company from data breaches – with the steps contained within all essential to supporting compliance with the PDPA. But one of the most vital steps included within is employee education and awareness. Because awareness is the first step to action – and being comfortable dealing with and reporting data breaches is key to reducing the human error often attributed to data breaches.

In addition, it always pays to partner with a document destruction specialist, like Shred-it. By ensuring any documents are securely destroyed, this greatly reduces the risk of a data breach by preventing the piling up of confidential data. But our expertise doesn’t just extend to paper, with the same proven, state-of-the-art, chain of custody protocols and leading shredding technologies used to destroy various types of media.

In today’s data-driven world, it’s more important than ever to understand what the PDPA means for you and your customers, to unlock the potential of data, in a secure manner. Get in touch today for a no-obligation quote, to see how our services can support both your data security and ensure compliance with the PDPA.

[1]  The Straits Times
[2]  Cost of a Data Breach Report

Disclaimer: This article is provided for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should not take, or refrain from taking, actions based upon the content of this article. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes. Please seek professional legal advice.