Data is the basis of every business. Either this or that way, companies have to work with data. In this sense, data accuracy is the crucial point for keeping data functional.
Data accuracy affects all parts of your business. As it is directly connected to your decision-making process, it figures your forward-looking strategies.
For this reason, ensuring data accuracy is critical for the success of your business.
What is data accuracy?
Data accuracy, as the essential standard of data quality, refers to the consistency of data with reality. Because more conformity means more accuracy, so the accurate data must reflect the information you require.
This also means that the data is error-free and has a reliable and consistent source of information. Therefore, even though it may not be possible to get 100% truth, you should target to reach the optimum.
Accurate data is substantial for forecasting, planning, program budgeting, strategy development, and any business operation.
Data accuracy also includes totality, validity, and consistency. Your goals, projects, and projection for the future may fail if the data is inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable. It can cause you to make wrong business decisions at critical junctures.
For instance, according to a study, 70% of data managers believe that inaccurate predictions are a hazard to their and the company’s reputation. And inaccurate predictions are usually rooted in inaccurate data.
Hence, data accuracy is the backbone of your business, and you must focus on it cautiously.
The accuracy principle is the fourth principle of data processing in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The GDPR principle is that the companies that collect and process the data must ensure their data is accurate. In addition, companies must admit and practice the policies to keep data subjects accurate.
As a part of the accuracy principle, individuals have the right to demand their right to rectification and erasure. Therefore, the companies must provide these necessary conditions to use their rights. This principle also sustains data security while keeping data up to date and trustworthy.
What does “accuracy” mean under EU Data Protection law?
EU Data Protection law sets conditions for data to be accurate and kept up to date. The accuracy here can be considered as not having incorrect, misleading information.
In the general sense, EU Data Protection law requires these points for the companies in terms of accuracy:
The companies should take responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the personal data they collect from subjects.
- They must recognize individuals’ right to rectification and erasion.
- They also should keep the data accurate by erasing and rectifying inaccurate data as soon as possible when you notice an inaccuracy.
- They should periodically update the information to keep their data accurate.
The law makes a significant distinction between personal data and historical data. If personal information changes, it affects the data accuracy. Then you should update the data to keep it accurate, but historical data may embrace the past and current. So data may be inaccurate, but it may be accurate for the historical data framework.
Does personal data always have to be up-to-date?
The answer to this question is a yes in general terms. The companies must ensure that the personal data is actual and accurate. Yet, it depends on the data’s function and what purpose it is used.
If you use the information for activities requiring accuracy, then personal data must be up to date. Otherwise, the data will be inaccurate and, thus, misleading.
For instance, personal data, including address information, must be valid if your company aims to reach a specific person physically. So, any changes in address information must be periodically challenged and updated. Besides, it provides data security in terms of accuracy.
Up-to-date data is a must for you in that case.
On the other hand, there are cases in that you do not have to update your data constantly. For example, if you do not need the current information of your data subjects, it is not necessary to check the currency of your data.
If you keep personal data just for research reasons like statistics and so on, then you only need personal data on a broad base, and you do not have to hold the data up to date.
To sum up
Data accuracy is vital for your business’s decision-making processes and prediction strategies.
While keeping data accurate, you should provide the conditions to correct information and enable individuals to use their rights of rectification and erasure. The accuracy principle, as is required by GDPR, is the base of your functional, secure and valuable data, which does not mislead you and cause harm for your company.