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Open-i Advisors

Get to Know our Consultants: Stacey Servo

By Get to Know our Consultants

Open-i Advisors relies on the amazing talent of our consultants, whose experience and capabilities span the globe and a variety of industries. This blog post series is about helping you get to know a bit more about our consultants and where they come from.

Stacey Servo is the Founder of New2Lou, a social resource for newcomers and founding member of Wild Accelerator, a micro-accelerator and idea & early-stage startup initiative geared towards female entrepreneurs. She is an engineer by trade and natural problem solver specializing in marketing & growth strategy, community & brand engagement, thought leadership, social impact optimization, stakeholder engagement and partnership strategy. Never afraid of a new challenge, she dives deep into her work to discover not only solutions for her client’s toughest challenges, but also new opportunities.

This Q&A will help you get to know what experiences Stacey Servo brings to the Open-i Advisors team.

OiA: We’ve all come to Open-i Advisors from diverse backgrounds. What are some of your career or personal highlights to date?

Stacey Servo: One of the highlights on my engineering career was working on Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, who’s goal was to be the world’s first zero carbon, zero waste city. I worked on a team who built a custom application to track and analyze city-wide resources and predict future demand.

My second career highlight was as an entrepreneur. I built a social-driven startup called New2Lou to help and engage newcomers and expanded to multiple markets. In Louisville alone, we built up a network of over 15,000 active and engaged young professionals within 5 years. I always tell aspiring entrepreneurs to find a need and fill it, especially if it aligns with your personal experience and passion.

OiA: Outside feedback is enormously important for businesses. What’s some feedback that you’ve received personally that helped you grow?

Servo: Build a network of people with similar goals and aspirations and find mentors to help you achieve your goals. Work with companies that inspire you and are aligned with your goals and passions. Actively engage with your community. It not only builds long term relationships, but also feels great and helps connect you to your community – a win-win.

OiA: We all try to bring a lot to the table at Open-i Advisors. On the Open-i Advisors team, what’s your superpower?

Servo: I’m a super connector. I build long term relationships with people around the world and love making connections to help build teams, partnerships and products. I’m also great at identify gaps and coming up with creative solutions.

OiA: We’re fond of the saying, “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” What’s one thing you think an organization should immediately start measuring that they likely aren’t?

Servo: Community engagement and social impact. These can be difficult to measure which is why many companies are struggle, but once you establish your goals and metrics and align these to your overall company goals, you quickly can see the impact.

OiA: What do you love doing in your spare time?

Servo: I grew up in Northwestern Montana just outside of Glacier Park, so love spending time outdoors. I enjoy hiking, paddle boarding, skiing, yoga, camping and reading a good book in a hammock in the trees.

Get to Know our Consultants: Brandon J. Roy

By Get to Know our Consultants

Open-i Advisors relies on the amazing talent of our consultants, whose experience and capabilities span the globe and a variety of industries. This blog post series is about helping you get to know a bit more about our consultants and where they come from.

This Q&A will help you get to know what experiences Brandon J. Roy brings to the Open-i Advisors team.

OiA: We’ve all come to Open-i Advisors from diverse backgrounds. What are some of your career or personal highlights to date?

Brandon J. Roy: My major work experience to date has been B2C brand marketing management at the L’Oréal Group, with luxury fragrances being my segment and category; lots of great scents! My primary mandates were brand strategy and operational marketing; my role was to use local insights to devise optimal strategies to launch products within my portfolio of brands into the Canadian market. A rich experience that regularly exposed me to sales analysis, local sourcing & product development, demand planning, operations, retail merchandising design, experiential retail, sales management and digital strategy.

Prior to this, I had the opportunity to dabble within business development at a nonprofit and spent a summer learning the ins and outs of agency work for clients in the health sector. My current passion project is my personal brand, Happy Tears Accessories, with a mission to bring more positivity and happiness practices into everyday life through vibrant, daily accessories.

For every engagement I’ve pursued up until now, whether in my personal or professional life, I move towards opportunities that my intuition tells me I will enjoy and with people I will enjoy doing it with. This very same mindset has lead me to Open-i and I am so thrilled join this team.

OiA: Outside feedback is enormously important for businesses. What’s some feedback that you’ve received personally that helped you grow?

Roy: “Test and learn” and “fail fast.” As personal growth is a product of learning, for this reason, these two pieces of advice come to mind right away for me.

In a digital marketplace, consumers are incredibly dynamic which provides an exciting opportunity for businesses to test ideas very quickly and learn from them through real-time feedback. Sometimes these ideas take off and sometimes they don’t; this is where ‘fail fast’ comes in. The question we should ask ourselves is how can we quickly take the feedback received and carry on, knowing a little more than we did yesterday. The people working in any organization don’t want to be paralyzed by fear and so, the organizations who can perpetuate a mindset of experimentation and learning, have the best opportunity to grow their people, keep them around and reap the biggest rewards.

Taking it a step further, I would even take the word ‘fail’ completely off the table and say: ‘test and learn fast.’ 

When you “fail” in the traditional – something I tried did not meet my expectations – kind of way, there is always something to learn and carry forward. This pure fact of learning makes you better off than you were before and therefore, would we really stand to call it a failure? In my humble opinion, it simply cannot be!

OiA: We all try to bring a lot to the table at Open-i Advisors. On the Open-i Advisors team, what’s your superpower?

Roy: I self-identity as a creativity confetti cannon with the power to inspire people to think bigger and differently.

I am always primed for launch and thrive off of a collaborative brainstorming session or any opportunity to flex my creative muscles.

OiA: We’re fond of the saying, “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” What’s one thing you think an organization should immediately start measuring that they likely aren’t?

Roy: HAPPINESS. Hands down!

We’re at a time where the world is more and more machine-driven, replacing the tasks traditionally performed by people. What this will continue to do is move these people into jobs where collaboration and these very human attributes grow in importance; attributes like feeling mentally well, feeling well in our daily work environments and well in our relationships with the people we see with each day.

I see organizations now catching a glimpse into the hard data that is looking closely at happiness and well-being indicators and seeing how they are proving to be not only a part of the formula for life, but also part of the formula that leads to increased productivity and ultimately, an organization’s financial success. 

OiA: What do you love doing in your spare time?

Roy: I am a spin instructor and teach 5 times per week! Energy is contagious and I feel lucky to go into a dark room for 45-minutes and leave it carrying that energy into my personal and professional lives. Plus, I get to take my loves for dance, music and personal growth learnings into that room, too, and that’s just the best.

Announcing Taylor Tricarico as Open-i Advisor’s Managing Partner

By Announcements

Our Newest Partner and One of Our Original Employees is Leading OiA’s Expansion

Open-i Advisors (OiA) is happy to announce the promotion of Taylor Tricarico to Managing Partner. Taylor has been with OiA since the beginning and has proven herself a valuable member of the team ever since through her problem-solving ability, her broad experience and understanding of business, her belief in the company and her proactive efforts to help OiA grow. She brings a valuable skill set to the current team of partners and has the vision to see OiA through our next stage of expansion.

“Taylor was the first person to really believe in Open-i Advisors; she’s been with us from the start.  She is passionate about helping our clients, and her knowledge of how to assess our clients’ challenges quickly, and then turn around a solution, is remarkable.  I am thrilled that we were able to have her join Open-i in this capacity, and I can’t wait to see what she can accomplish to assist it’s evolution.” – Hilary B. Osborne, Co-founder & Senior Partner

Taylor has the ability to understand the bigger picture and to quickly identify opportunities for improvement and growth for our diverse client base, and Open-i Advisors. Her breadth of skills and experience means she is both a smart strategist and a methodical tactician. A unique hybrid that makes her essential as Open-i Advisors plots their course for expansion. Taylor explains, “I am a high-level problem solver and ‘boots on the ground’ project manager at my core. Using these characteristics to help companies define and reach their own definition of success is my passion. Open-i Advisors is the perfect platform for me and I am thrilled to be in a position to take the organization to the next level so we can help even more organizations grow and thrive.”

Over the next few years, Taylor intends to assemble an expanded team of skilled, experienced consultants who share OiA’s values and passion for helping companies succeed. The team will engage a mix of early stage startups, established companies and non-profit clients. Taylor has experience working with clients in a wide range of industries throughout the world, but the prospect of working with more local, early-stage companies that need help building the company or organizational structure around their core ideas and values stands out in her mind. “I love the energy and passion that new leaders, innovators and start-ups exude,” said Taylor. “It energizes me.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Taylor Tricarico for many years, and there’s nobody I trust more to drive towards getting our clients the best solutions to their complex problems. She has been an integral part of Open-i Advisors since we onboarded our very first customers, and I am very proud to see her assume the role of Managing Partner at Open-i Advisors, Inc.” – Christian Dawson, Co-founder & Senior Partner

Taylor’s approach to OiA’s growth is purpose-focused and driven by her knowledge that  the services and expertise the OiA team can provide is truly transformational for companies and individuals. She has big plans for OiA and there is no one more ready to lead in our next chapter of expansion.

About Open-i Advisors:

Open-i Advisors mission is to empower businesses with data-driven, growth-focused strategies. To learn more about Open-i Advisors, go to https://openiadvisors.com/

You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure

By Insights

Finding the Best Data to Drive Decision Making

“It’s all about the data and you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Listening to one’s gut is important when starting a new business, but I am a strong believer in using data to validate what the gut is saying.”

-Lance Crosby, CEO, StackPath

Data helped launch the first person to the moon, but it also nearly sank Coca Cola in 1985 when it launched New Coke after more than 200,000 taste tests. If you’re going to use data to make decisions, it’s essential that you use the most accurate and relevant data you can find.

From our extensive work in the cloud services industry, Open-i Advisors knows the best data sources to use for your business decisions. In this article, we want to share those data sources with you. But first…

Why Use Data-driven Decision Making?

As human beings make observations over time that help them make better decisions. But there are limits to our human cognition – whether it’s being able to accurately remember sales figures for the past 20 quarters, or to figure out what complex variety of conditions lead to different business outcomes. Data helps us essentially extend our natural decision making capabilities.

Data driven decision making is important for any company in any industry, but it is especially important for industries growing as quickly as cloud services. Trends are constantly changing and, in order to manage your company’s growth in the midst of change, you need to pay attention to your surroundings.

Luckily, when you are working in an industry that is technology-based, there is a significant amount of macro data available, including data about the entire industry down to the micro perspective on each data transfer. So, what data should you look towards in order to make the most informed decisions?

Collecting Data

Broadly speaking, you should be collecting and reviewing data from your company, your competitors, and your industry as a whole, to make sure that you have a full understanding of where you stand. Your company data helps you understand where you are right now, your competitors’ data helps you understand where you otherwise could be, and your industry data helps you understand trends and better plan for the future.

If you understand the trends, you understand the market opportunities. You also understand the threats to your industry and have a stronger sense of how to navigate them.

Data Sourcing Recommendations

When looking at data sources, it is important to consider the reliability of the data and its actionability. Without this combination, you will either be left staring at numbers without any next steps or left taking actions that might lead you down the wrong path.

Each of the below sources were selected because the underlying research and data-collecting methodology are strong and because the information is relevant to the decisions made within the cloud industry. As you examine other data sources, it is important to make sure that they meet the criteria of reliability and actionability as well.

The cloud industry is wide ranging. There are many segments of the industry that are important to examine and the following recommendations should give you a strong jumping off point:

See a more in depth overview of these sources and some suggestions on how to interpret the data in the first 20 minutes of the video below:

Hank Shocklee, Producer of Public Enemy, Coming at You Live from CloudFest 2019!

What is the frequency of the future? Just as hip-hop transformed music and popular culture, so has the internet transformed the way we listen to music, and how culture propagates. Today’s new hardware would have been sci-fi in the Eighties, and emerging distribution platforms bring your music in the ears of millions with a click. Where does that leave artists, labels, and the audience?Hank Shocklee, producer of Public Enemy, was instrumental in the hip-hop revolution—and he’s been at the forefront of the digital revolution as well. Live from CloudFest 2019, hear from a legend what that future frequency will bring.

Posted by CloudFest on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Using Your Data

How you use your data is as important as the data itself. The relationship between your goals and your data should be circular. Your goals should inform how you interpret data and in turn data should influence your goals. Don’t just track any key performance indicators (KPIs), first  make sure that they are the right KPIs to track.

Use the data you collect to answer questions that you have about your business and the future. Compare how you are doing to other companies and the industry as a whole and see if the data available can help you predict what your numbers might look like, if you stay on course or if you attempt a new strategy.

What you learn from the data you collect will inform not just your decisions, but your overall direction.

If you lean into the data, you can see where the market is heading.

Innovate, execute, grow.

Be mission driven, but do it by the numbers.

At Open-i Advisors, we provide our clients with data-driven growth strategies, action-oriented insights, and go-to-market plans that lead to business transformation. We specialize in helping companies navigate growth and change.

Learn How to Unleash the Power of Domain Data

By Insights, Uncategorized

We teamed up with our friends at DomainsBot to share our best tips and highlight a few simple things anyone can do to use domain data more effectively.

The result is a whitepaper that you can download from here right now. We have tried to keep it simple and accessible, suggesting a few “low hanging fruit” steps that we believe would give positive results quickly, and be the starting point for a broader adoption of BI and stronger, data-driven growth.

In this whitepaper you will find inspiration to:

  • Discover new opportunities through competitive analysis
  • Use data to build personas and improve your customer experience
  • Find the real value of your marketing spending
  • Drive loyalty and retention with reactivation campaigns

DomainsBot and Open-i Advisors have helped some of the most successful companies in the domain and hosting industry use data more effectively to gain a better understanding of their market and customers, and to make smarter business decisions.

 

Download the Whitepaper today!

how to cut expenses

7 Cost-Cutting Tips for Cloud or Internet Businesses

By Business by the Numbers

Cloud services have grown exponentially, and software as a service led in 2017. This sector registered almost 30 percent growth last year alone.

With growth comes competition. The market for SaaS and other cloud services has become much more crowded in the past few years. To compete, you have to be lean and flexible.

That’s why you want to know how to cut expenses. Not only will it help you compete more effectively, it will also help you grow and maximize earnings.

If you’re looking for ways to cut costs in your business, try one of these seven tips on for size.

1. Focus on Your Design

Have you given much thought to what your interface looks like lately? If your customers are always calling in for help, you may have a poor design.

You can save yourself some time, money, and frustration by putting a little bit more into your UX/UI efforts. A good design is intuitive for your clients. In turn, they need less training and support to use your product or service efficiently.

Just how much is better design worth? Experts estimate each extra dollar you put into your design now will yield $10 to $100 in savings later on.

The reason for this? Fixing a problematic design is going to cost more than creating a great design at the start.

2. Think about Energy When Asking How to Cut Expenses

When Bitcoin took off, one of the most interesting stories was how much energy the company was using. Some reported it was using as much power as Denmark.

You might wonder how a company could use up so much energy. The answer lies in the inefficiency of the network and equipment.

You might not be using as much power as a small European country, but you should take a good look at any equipment you buy. Also, think about how you configure your network.

If you rent from someone else, ask about how efficient their network is. The price you pay reflects their costs.

3. Question the Budget Breakdown

How much do you spend on any one budget item line? Some think they must invest a particular percentage into sales and marketing.

In all truth, the right amount varies for every company. Most experts say SaaS companies need to invest more in their sales and marketing. They look to SalesForce and others as examples, since they invest heavily in this area.

How does spending more on sales and marketing help you when it comes to cutting expenses? It helps you strategize.

If you want to invest 10 percent of revenue in an activity, you’ll need to adjust the budget accordingly. This encourages you to look for efficiencies and cost-cutting measures.

With a goal in mind, you’ll be able to find more ways to cut spending.

4. Embrace the IoT

As a SaaS company, you likely know about a bit about the Internet of Things (IoT). You may not have thought of IoT enabling smart devices to help cut costs and save money.

Smart devices can do things like sense low network traffic and engage in energy saving. This helps with utilities and associated overhead costs.

The IoT can help in other ways as well. You could use it to monitor your security or assist with network maintenance. It could assist with compliance tasks, which can be time-intensive and costly.

5. Think about Outsourcing

Outsourcing is considered one of the great ways to cut spending by most business leaders. It works for SaaS companies too.

Ask yourself if you have all the in-house experts you need. If not, consider sending part of a project out to another team who does have the expertise and skills. You might also consider getting access to technology you don’t have in-house.

Think about customer service as well. Could you deliver better service to your customers if you had around-the-clock care? Outsourcing can help you achieve this goal.

Other aspects of your business can also be outsourced, such as HR, payroll, IT, and so on. Outsourcing frees up your time to focus on your areas of expertise.

6. Look at Your Insurance Bill

Another of the tried and true ways to cut expenses is to revisit your insurance. Insurance can be a large cost for businesses. Some businesses will have to carry several types of insurance.

Depending on the state, you may need business property insurance or commercial auto insurance, for example.

As a provider of technological solutions, you also want liability insurance. If something goes wrong with the product, you’re protected from customers who were harmed and seek to sue you. This is important in a world where data breaches happen all the time.

Look at your insurance policy. Are you paying too much for what you have? Look to bundle different types of insurance to get the best deal. Don’t be afraid to shop around, especially if you’ve been with the same company for some time.

7. Move to Remote Work as Much as Possible

Take a page from your own book and work remotely as much as possible when cutting expenses. This reduces your investment in property or rent.

It’s cost-effective to rent a conference room as you need it than to own your own building or pay rent on a regular basis.

See also if you can save on space for your servers if you own your own. It may not always be possible, but cutting property costs can be a great way to keep overhead down.

There Are Many Ways to Cut Costs

Now you’ve seen how to cut expenses in a variety of ways for your business. These aren’t the only cost-saving measures you can take.

By taking cost-saving measures, you can free up capital and use it to reinvest in your business. This, in turn, can power your growth in a competitive market.

If you’re looking for additional ways to both grow and cut your costs, ask the experts. They can help you discover new ways to continue growing your business.

marketing strategy

10 Tips for Building a Marketing Strategy for a Cloud-Based Business

By Insights

Ads, ads, everywhere. To reach today’s consumer, you’ve got to get creative with your marketing strategy.

In fact, 71% of respondents said ads are more intrusive than they used to be. This means they’re not responding to traditional messaging.

It’s time to get creative to skyrocket your cloud-based business.

Here are the ten top tips to create a killer marketing strategy that’ll set you up for success.

1. Build a Brand

Step one: Create a brand worth remembering.

Your brand is the foundation for all your marketing messaging. It’s what will attract your target audience, give you a competitive edge, and make you memorable.

Here are the six steps to creating a successful brand:

  1. Determine your target niche audience
  2. Define your mission statement
  3. Do market research for your industry
  4. Ignite your brand’s differentiators
  5. Design your brand to match your mission and resonate with your audience

Follow these to a tee and you’ll build a brand worth following.

2. Find a Unique Voice

What’s your brand’s voice?

Define distinct adjectives that describe your brand’s voice. For example, is it:

  • Professional
  • Mature
  • Knowledgeable

Or is it:

  • Casual
  • Approachable
  • Fun

These are just ideas. Whatever you choose for your brand’s voice, make sure it matches the brand you created and your audience will get it.

The point of this is to make your marketing messaging stand out. Remember it’s good to be polarizing — You want to niche yourself down.

3. Create a Content Plan

You’ve heard it before: Content is king. But why?

The fact is, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing… and generates 3x more leads.

So it definitely needs to be part of your cloud-based businesses marketing strategy.

Content marketing is so effective because it’s informative. Gone are the days of traditional outbound marketing…

In are the days of creating info-rich, stand out content.

Your marketing strategy needs a content plan. Here are the steps to make yours:

  1. Clarify your mission and goals
  2. Identify key performance indicators
  3. Get to know your audience
  4. Figure out where you’re currently at with content
  5. Decide on content types to focus on
  6. Allocate resources
  7. Create a content calendar
  8. Create the content
  9. Distribute and start marketing
  10. Track performance

This is a basic outline of everything you need. The most important thing is to create quality content and be consistent!

4. Be Consistent

If content is king, consistency is queen.

Your audience will need constant reminders of who you are and what you do. The only way to do this is to be consistent in your marketing strategy.

Marketing is about long-term gain — It rarely gets instant gratification or results.

So ask yourself: “How can I put systems in place for sustained consistency, no matter what else happens in my business?”

This might mean incorporating artificial intelligence. It could mean hiring a team.

Whatever solution you choose, make sure it’s going to give you the impact and ROI you need.

5. Focus on User Experience

Consumers are focused on getting exactly what they want in this world of endless options. And they expect you to deliver.

How can you provide as personalized of an experience as possible in your marketing strategy?

Here are the steps to take to ensure a personalized customer experience:

  1. Implement the right technology
  2. Gather as much data from your customers as possible
  3. Use the data to personalize across all marketing channels
  4. Always update and keep gathering data

Personalization is all about listening to the customer and acting on the insights.

6. Leverage Social Media

Let’s get social!

The best way to spread content organically, build an audience, and execute your marketing strategy is social media.

The key question to ask yourself here is: What social media channels are my target audience using?

Then identify what type of content they’re engaging with on these channels.

This will help you choose which channels to use. Then, how to create a content marketing strategy that will work on the platform.

Focus on one or two platforms when you first start your marketing strategy. This will ensure you can grow an audience and not spread your content thin.

7. Create a Feedback Loopback

How will you gather insights from your existing customers?

Make sure you have a feedback loop integrated into your marketing strategy. Here are the three steps to create a feedback loop:

  • Gather metrics. You can do this with surveys via email, on your website, or on social media
  • Learn from the metrics and get insights. This means identifying patterns
  • Apply the knowledge and insights to your marketing strategy

This will ensure you have continuous metrics to use for improving your marketing strategy.

8. Long-Term SEO Development

Search engine optimization will help your marketing strategy long-term by driving traffic to your site.

Naturally, conversions increase when you get more traffic!

To add SEO to your marketing strategy, you’ll need to:

  • Create page titles
  • Do keyword research and planning
  • Create meta tags
  • Submit your websites to directories

This will set you up for ongoing, long-term rankings in search engines to drive traffic to your site.

9. Build Your Website

Your cloud-based business needs a home base on the world wide web.

Build a website that is mobile first and focused on the user experience. This will be the end goal for your marketing efforts.

Driving traffic to your website and sales pages will increase brand awareness and conversions.

But your website needs to be on point and stand out from the competition.

Make sure it’s consistent with your brand, has a great load time, and the copywriting matches your unique brand voice.

10. Keep Testing and Improving

You can drive more sales with data than by staying in the dark. Make sure you have a plan in your marketing strategy to track relevant KPIs.

Remember, the best key performance indicators are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Relevant
  • Industry specific

Be picky when choosing your KPIs. Your marketing strategy will rely on their insights, so they need to give you the information you need.

Next Steps for a Killer Marketing Strategy

You are so ready!

You can now create your killer cloud-based marketing strategy. It’s all about building your brand, paying attention to your audience, and creating an amazing strategy based on feedback.

Still not sure where exactly to start? We’ve got you covered.

Check out our results-driven consulting to get support in building your cloud-based company’s marketing strategy.

gdpr compliance for us companies

What Cloud Providers Need to Know About GDPR Compliance for US Companies

By Data Governance

Are you a US-based cloud provider and are yet to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation?

You need to abide by this new directive to avoid hefty fines and penalties.

But your company is based in the US, why should you comply with a European Union law?

Well, most business owners think that they don’t need to worry about the GDPR because their companies are based in the United States. But the truth is that the GDPR applies to every company that does business with the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA).

In this piece, we’ll look at what you need to know about GDPR compliance for US companies. But before that, let’s explain what GDPR is.

What’s the GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation is a new EU legislation that seeks to regulate data collection and security of personal information of the EU and EEA citizens.

Simply put, GDPR is a law that seeks to control how organizations collect, store, process, and use EU or EEA data.

The law was adopted on 14th April 2016 and came into force on 25th May 2018.

Under this new legislation, organizations cannot collect, store, manage, or use personal information of an EU resident or citizen without their consent. The law enshrines certain rights which data subjects have to their information, including:

  • Consenting to the collection, storage, and processing of personal information on a case by case basis
  • Knowing why, where, and how their data is being processed and used
  • Ability to opt out of data collection, storage, or processing at any time
  • The right to have data held by a company changed to reflect the actual condition
  • The right to copy or move personal data from one source to another (data portability)
  • The right to have information deleted entirely

The personal information in question includes names, email addresses, photographs, birth-dates, medical data, phone numbers, and any other information that you can use directly or indirectly to identify the data subject.

GDPR Compliance for US Companies

The GDPR is applicable in the EU and EAA, of course, but it also affects foreign companies that deal with or process sensitive data from EU or EAA subjects–which includes customers, end users, and employees.

This means that US companies that do business in Europe are affected by the new EU law.

Are US-Based Firms Without EU Ties Exempted from This Law?

Even if your company has no direct EU operations, you still need to comply with the EU directive.

Why?

First, the GDPR compliance will make it easy for you to do business with US-based firms that have ties with the EU. Compliance will also incorporate self-governance into the company and reduce regular interventions by the enforcing authority.

Potential clients will also trust your company more, and this will make them more willing to share their personal information with your company.

Abiding by the GDPR will also make it easy for your company to expand to Europe and other regions that are affected by the EU law

The Specific Rules a US-Based Cloud Provider Must Follow

Cloud-service companies should be among the first companies to comply with the GDPR.

To be GDPR compliant, a cloud provider must follow the following rules:

  • Invest in a system that allows data subjects to see and even delete information that concerns them when necessary.
  • Report data breaches that pose a risk to customers to the relevant data privacy supervisory authority within 72 hours
  • Make data policies clear and easy to read and understand
  • Comply with the “privacy by design” principles

Besides, since your cloud service company handles sensitive data on and monitors data subjects systematically on a large scale or has more than 250 employees, you’ll also be required to hire or outsource a data protection officer (DPO).

According to Article 29 Working Party (WP29), a DPO will play the following roles:

  • Educate firms and employees about the new EU law and the protection of personal information.
  • Help firms to address data protection problems proactively
  • Train employees involved in collecting and processing Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Act as the contact point for the firm and the European Union’s data privacy supervisory authority

The DPO should also inform the customers how your firm is using their personal information and the security measures put in place to protect it. The officer manages all processes and records related to data collection and processing.

What Happens If a US-Based Company Doesn’t Comply with the GDPR?

According to the EU, non-compliance could lead to penalties or fines of up to 20 million euros. Some violations could also result in criminal charges that could lead to a jail term.

The EU is unlikely to start imposing these fines and penalties right away. Why?

Well, the interpretation of the new EU law is still vague, and this makes it hard for most organizations to know for sure if they comply.

The EU is more likely to go slow at first and focus on large corporations, but you shouldn’t take chances.

Tips to Stay on the Safe Side?

Here are some tips that can help US-based cloud providers prepare for GDPR compliance:

Understand the Law

The first step to compliance is to understand what the General Data Protection Regulation is all about and how it affects your company. This way, you can implement the necessary changes with confidence.

Audit Data

US companies also need to learn more about the data they have: who collects it, where it’s located, who can access it, and how much personal information they have.

Auditing data will help the US cloud providers come up with reliable systems that will keep a lid on sensitive data.

Give Customers Control

US companies should introduce new policies and regulations that make customers feel that they’re in control of their data.

These companies should also introduce new systems that allow data subjects to define they can use the data they collect.

Commitment to the GDPR Compliance

US company owners should not let the DPO and the compliance department do all the work.

Everyone in their organization should be aware of the implications of the EU law. This will make the compliance process smooth.

Wrapping Up

The General Data Protection Regulation will affect all organizations, corporations, public authorities and individuals that do business with the EU. Therefore, you should ensure your cloud-service company is GDPR compliant.

Our comprehensive guide and essential tips on GDPR compliance for US companies will certainly make the process easy and successful.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or are in need of GDPR consulting.

Meet Open-i Advisors at Toronto’s infra//STRUCTURE Summit

By Announcements
This week, members of the Open-i Advisors team will be attending the first infra//STRUCTURE Summit, an exclusive Internet infrastructure industry event in Toronto hosted by our good friends and partners at Structure Research.

What to expect from infra//STRUCTURE?

infra//STRUCTURE (June 13 to 14, 2018) will bring together executives from across the Internet infrastructure ecosystem – cloud, managed hosting and data centre – for high-value networking and a frank discussion about the industry’s status and future directions.
Structure Research analysts are thought leaders in this industry, producing insightful qualitative research about the Internet infrastructure industry and where it’s headed. Our quantitative “by the numbers” approach benefits from staying updated on these trends and we look forward to learning from Structure Research and bringing our own skills and expertise to the table.

Meet us there!

Want to meet with Open-i Advisors during infra//STRUCTURE Summit? Contact us today! We’d be happy to talk with you about the industry and your specific needs.