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The Importance of GDPR Compliance for Nigerian Businesses

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Adebayo Sanni, MD of Oracle Nigeria
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By Adebayo Sanni

The deadline for compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come and gone.

 

And while it happened without too much fanfare in Nigeria, companies that think they can ignore the legislation and maintain a business as usual approach are in for a rude awakening.

 

Any organisation (irrespective its size, industry or geographic location) that has dealings with a company or people inside the European Union (EU) must adhere to it.

 

Those not willing to do so, face fines of either 20 million euros or four percent of their global revenue.

 

Already, the past few weeks have seen a notable increase in emails from subscription lists mentioning data privacy and how the personal information of subscribers are stored and kept safe.

 

For cloud providers that have customers around the world, this is a significant piece of regulation. However, even a small start-up in downtown Lagos that provides a service to a person living in France must be compliant.

 

While a lot of focus is currently on companies inside the EU, it will only be a matter of time before ‘outside’ businesses and services are reviewed and audited.

 

Of course, the cloud provides many benefits to organisations that are required to be GDPR-compliant.

 

Not only does it provide a more secure platform, but the environment is robust and continuously updated to reflect the latest technology innovations.

 

This results in a smoother migration path when it comes to data security and management with GDPR in mind.

Changing behaviour

At 68 pages with 99 separate areas of focus, it is hardly surprising that many feel intimidated by the GDPR. For those providing cloud or ‘as-a-service’ solutions, there are four key requirements to consider – data security; rights of individuals; documentation and security audits; and data breach notifications.

 

But even before one can delve into the technical aspects of compliancy, the reality is that many Nigerian businesses need to change the way they view and use data. Certainly, the situation is not unique to the country with many others struggling to adapt to a new way of capturing, storing, using, and sharing data.

 

It all starts with consent and whether the user agrees to the kind of data being stored about them and what it will be used for.

 

This forces a re-think in the way data is collected. Companies should carefully review whether the information they collect about their customers are necessary and, if it is, how securely is it stored and protected from external systems.

 

The days of blindly sharing customer data and insights with third parties are a thing of the past. An important aspect of this is to make sure the language used in data collection policies is written in a way that the layperson can understand. So, no more hiding behind legalese or difficult to follow technical concepts.

 

Already, there is a groundswell of support to the mantra ‘your data, your property.’ Nigerian businesses must ensure they keep this in mind.

 

This is also where the critically important ‘right to forget’ component of GDPR comes in. A consumer can delete his or her profile at a business with the personal information needing to be wiped clear. Just consider the impact this will have on social networks.

 

Local guidance

Fortunately, Nigeria has the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill for companies to fall back on. Even though it is still awaiting presidential assent, the bill does provide organisations with guidance on data handling, collection, and use in the country.

 

Furthermore, compliance is not something that is done once and forgotten. Instead, decision-makers need to continually review and assess their data management strategies and policies. The GDPR is an ongoing concern that requires an integrated approach to data.

 

Fundamentally, local companies do not have the luxury of using disparate databases and systems any longer. They must all be integrated, with the data securely stored every step of the process.

 

Even though the deadline of 25 May is long forgotten, companies must review and assess their policies to ensure they do not fall foul of regulators. The cost of not doing so is too severe to ignore.

 

Adebayo Sanni is MD of Oracle Nigeria

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Copyright Commission Warns Schools against Pirated Books

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John Asein
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Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has vowed to prosecute institutions and schools that use pirated books.

 

It said it would work with the Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) to explore ways of creating safe corridors for the distribution of legitimate books.

 

Mr John Asein, NCC director-general in a statement to mark the World Book and Copyright Day, held every April 23, said the fight against book piracy will be intensified.

 

According to him, the Commission would continue to develop policies and strategies to facilitate a culture of respect for authorship and copyright works.

 

“We will step up our enforcement and prosecutorial activities to stem the tide of copyright infringements both off and online.

 

“We will also reinvigorate our compliance checks in schools and other institutions of learning to sensitize them on the need to patronize only genuine copies of books through legitimate channels of distribution.

 

“Henceforth, proprietors, heads of schools and authorities in charge will be held vicariously responsible for any pirated books distributed to pupils and students through their schools.

 

“We shall also be taking appropriate steps under the law to sanction institutions found involved in mindless and unconscionable use and promotion of pirated books,” NCC said.

 

The Commission has embraced developments in the international copyright community to create a more inclusive culture of access to published works for blind and visually impaired persons.

 

It noted that Nigeria, in October 2017, ratified the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.

 

“We have also gone ahead to make provision for the domestication of the treaty in the new Copyright Bill which was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council.

 

“On a more practical note, the Commission, with help from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and its Accessible Book Consortium, is collaborating with the Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB), the NPA, the Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria (REPRONIG), and other key stakeholders to provide more books in accessible formats for blind and visually impaired persons in Nigeria,” Asein said.

 

According to him, a pilot project on capacity building assistance, provision of accessible books and assistive technologies to students in that category is ongoing.

This, he said, is another demonstration of the Federal Government’s policy on inclusiveness, equal access and non-discrimination against persons living with disabilities.

 

He urged stakeholders in the creative industry to support the government’s efforts to revamp the sector and build a copyright system that will help to maximize its potentials to national economic development.

 

Theme of this year’s celebration is: “Discover the World through Reading”!

 

The statement added: “The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1995 declared April 23 as a special day to focus on the wonderful world of books and the enduring role of copyright in promoting and protecting the rights of authors and other stakeholders.

 

“The day is also an occasion to celebrate the contribution of books and authors to our global culture as well as highlight the connection between copyright, creativity and books to the propagation of our common values as humanity.

 

“For us at the NCC, it is an opportunity to again underscore the importance of creativity to our collective development aspirations as a nation, with particular emphasis on respect for copyright and the effective protection of the rights of our authors. “As we join the world to celebrate the book as an enduring legacy, it is saddening to note the decline in our reading culture. This has become a major national concern in Nigeria for its youth population.

 

“The essence of reading, particularly for leisure and personal enjoyment, cannot be over emphasized.

 

“Reading is to the mind what physical exercise is to the body; it is food for the soul, the chisel that helps shape who we become in today’s knowledge driven world.

 

“Books develop the personality and stimulate imagination, taking us to faraway lands that we may never visit physically. Reading unlocks the potentials in us and fires our creative talents to innovate and build our society.

 

“Incidentally, the book remains the most resilient and prevalent copyright work today. It has helped grow human civilization and over the centuries has contributed to the development of virtually all fields of human endeavour, including education, religion, research and entertainment.

 

“In today’s digital world, it is imperative that authors and publishers should make changes in their business and distribution model so as to make the book more attractive to younger readers on the new media and digital platforms.”

 

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Why We Listed on NYSE by Jumia

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Jumia Technologies has clarified its recent listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), while assuring its global customers, Nigerians inclusive of better services to come.

 

Ernest Eguasa, chief financial officer, Jumia Nigeria, said that its major drive in joining the New York Stock Exchange was also to showcase the digital innovation happening in Africa.

 

He explained that the company decided to settle for the NYSE because investors have a marketplace and tech focus in New York than in any other place.

 

He said: “We contemplated several venues, ultimately, we met a lot of investors and New York seemed the more natural place given the number of investors familiar with the business model.

 

“We made a logical choice as this is the largest stock exchange in the world; many technology companies are listed on the NYSE (Alibaba, Twitter, Snap.).

 

“The NYSE listing shows that innovation is happening in the African continent – it shows an innovative, dynamic and modern Africa.”

 

He further explained the Initial Public Offering (IPO), stating that the move was about creating more trust and raising the public profile to help with the business.

 

According to him, the company has been private for seven years, and “we see a lot of positive aspects to being public.”

 

“Raising the public profile is going to help us bring more sellers to Jumia. Many sellers or partners are yet to know about us, and once they do, we hope they will be keen to work with us.

 

“This IPO is all primary, and is about providing the resources to the company and not to selling shareholders.

“We also hope this will help us build even more trust with consumers, in particular, those who are still not comfortable with e-commerce, may now see us as an established company and, we hope this will help our growth and consumer adoption,” he added.

 

Also, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the listing will help us with talent recruitment, retention, as we aim to attract more attention from top talents,” Eguasa added.

 

The CFO also noted that although the two CEOs are French, Jumia’s management and staff in most countries are largely local, including country heads.

 

Speaking further, he said; “It is important to note that we directly employ more than 5,000 people in Africa and believe that our business has a significant indirect impact on job creation across the continent.

 

“Nigeria is our headquarters in Africa, and our incorporation in Germany, is a way to get foreign investors excited to send funds to Africa to boost our operations.”

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Freshworks Integrates with WhatsApp Business Solution

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Freshworks, a global leader in customer engagement software, has integrated its customer engagement suite with the WhatsApp Business solution to offer on-the-go conversational support via WhatsApp. Over 1.5 billion people from 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends, family and businesses, anytime and anywhere.

Freshworks now helps businesses efficiently manage and route user conversations happening on WhatsApp and other channels, via Omniroute™, Freshworks’ patent-pending technology within the Freshworks customer engagement suite.

Omniroute™ provides customer service agents with a unified view of customer inquiries regardless of channel and helps them respond to those inquiries more efficiently. What results is better customer service and more efficient support through WhatsApp and the rich variety of other seamlessly integrated channels in the Freshworks platform.

WhatsApp is a simple, reliable, and private way to talk to anyone in the world. The WhatsApp Business solution helps businesses and customers connect quickly and easily. With the Freshworks integration, users can now reach out to businesses with any query, directly on WhatsApp, so businesses can immediately respond and offer support.

Freshworks recently launched Proximity, a set of features for Freshchat, their modern messaging software to bring businesses closer to users. The integration with the WhatsApp Business solution further fulfills this promise while giving businesses the power to manage conversations at scale. Responses can be text, images, GIFs, attachments or even canned responses.

The Freshchat dashboard provides separate insights on WhatsApp conversations, like chat volume and productivity within the WhatsApp channel. The integration is already available in four continents leveraged by support and sales functions across verticals like e-commerce, media, travel, and finance.

“Users no longer have to jump through hoops to reach out to a business – all they have to do is flip out their mobile and engaging with their favorite brand is just a message away on WhatsApp,” says Girish Mathrubootham, CEO of Freshworks.

“Omnichannel customer engagement is becoming the imperative to providing great customer support. The integration with the enormously popular WhatsApp platform enables customers and prospects to get in touch with businesses instantly, offering support through this widely used medium of choice.”

Supr Daily, a direct to home dairy products delivery service in India, uses the Freshchat integration with the WhatsApp Business solution to broaden its customer support opportunities.

“Today’s customer wants a convenient way to reach out to brands. WhatsApp is a user-friendly way to communicate; as such, it’s also the easiest way for many of our customers to reach out to us.” says Tarkeshwar Singh, Senior Product Manager at Supr Daily.

“We actively promote WhatsApp as a medium to connect with us and we now see about half of our customers use it for support queries. The Freshworks integration made it possible for us to provide great quality and quick support to our customers, which is indispensable in our business.”

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