6 min read

Writen by Ana Mishova

Posted on: September 27, 2023

Managing the Role of the EU Representative in the USA in 2023

Since the enactment of the GDPR, US organizations have been benefitting from the role of the GDPR rep in a variety of ways. We explore seven of those ways.

Increasingly, the world is connected and driven by data. The greater the role of data, the greater the importance of data protection. Several US states have been upping the ante in terms of protection legislation recently, and they have all taken their lead from the EU’s data protection legislation, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Yet while the GDPR exerts an increasing influence on the way US companies do business here in the US, its primary role is to protect the data of EU citizens. If your organization collects, stores or uses the data of EU residents, it is as bound by the GDPR as it is state or federal law.

How does a US business that’s a very long way from Lisbon, Lyon or Leipzig ensure it complies with the GDPR? By working with a GDPR representative.

The role of the EU GDPR Representative

The GDPR rep has been ‘a thing’ for US businesses since GDPR was enacted in 2018. Those responsible for drafting the regulation wanted it to apply to all personal data connected with EU residents, wherever it was processed (because there’s little point in creating data protection legislation that has no effect beyond your borders). The way it achieved that was through Article 27 of the GDPR, which created the role of the GDPR EU representative.

Any organisation anywhere which processes the personal data of EU residents is required to have a presence within one of the EU member states in which it operates, so that citizens and authorities have a point of contact to exert their rights or ensure compliance.

If you don’t happen to have an EU base of operations, you can meet the requirements of GDPR by appointing a representative within the EU.

Five years after the enactment of GDPR, we review the practical impact of the EU GDPR consultant for US businesses.

Avoiding Fines

Perhaps the simplest and traditionally most compelling reason to appoint a European representative for GDPR is to avoid the fines that can stem from non-compliance. Your GDPR rep can help you avoid penalties which can (and have) reached eye-watering sums for US businesses.

Enabling Practical Compliance

If a data subject in the EU wants to check what data you hold about them, or an EU authority needs to get in touch about, for example, a data breach, how would you handle the request? US companies using the GDPR services of their representative know that the rep will always be the first point of contact.

They will handle the translation. They’ll advise on next steps. They will help you manage your response in a compliant way. US organizations are finding that their GDPR reps make it easy to turn the theory of compliance into practical reality.

Building Trust

Since GDPR was enacted, the importance of personal data to individuals has only increased, yet only around a fifth of consumers trust organizations with their data[1]. GDPR reps have been helping more US businesses build reputations for data responsibility, which is helping to build trust not just with EU consumers but at home too.

Streamlining Cross-Border Data Flows

In a globalized business landscape, cross-border data transfers are routine. However, these transfers must adhere to data protection regulations. An EU GDPR representative plays a pivotal role in facilitating seamless data flows between your EU and US operations. With a representative in place, you can navigate cross-border data transfers more confidently, ensuring that your business operations remain uninterrupted and compliant with international standards.

Mitigating Risk

No amount of effort can entirely remove the risk of data breach. But appointing a GDPR representative can dramatically reduce the risk of breach, and the financial and reputational damage that could flow from it. It also ensures that, in the worst-case scenario, you have established policies to follow and an expert by your side, which can help improve outcomes and make life less stressful.

Expanding Globally

US companies with aspirations of expanding into EU markets have found the GDPR rep to be indispensable in helping to pave the way for market entry by demonstrating commitment to EU data protection standards.

Gaining A Competitive Edge

With consumers eager to see organizations treat their personal data with greater care, complying with GDPR via your EU rep can set you apart in the global market, giving you a competitive edge over non-compliant counterparts.

The EU GDPR Representative – A Strategic Investment

Five years ago, US organizations brought onboard a GDPR rep because it was a requirement of doing business in the EU. Today the element of compulsion remains, but many see it as subordinate to the benefits and opportunities a GDPR representative can bring.

In many ways, the EU GDPR consultant is a strategic investment who can help build consumer trust, facilitate cross-border data transfers and drive expansion. The rep has also become a physical expression of corporate values. When you say that data security and ethical data practices are part of who you are, the GDPR rep helps you show it.

Explore how our GDPR services can support you now, get data protection advice or, for questions about your next steps, call us on +1 303 317 5998.

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