How GDPR Affects Field Service & Property Management


How do you feel about recent news stories relating to the misuse of private information? Yes it’s enough to make one more paranoid about what you share online.
But it should also prompt you to have a look at how your company functions. How will your customers feel about how you handle their information?
Perhaps, like me, you’re astounded that prominent social media platforms didn’t have everything in place to protect their clientele. Surely they must be at the forefront of this motion.
But that’s case in point why the GDPR regulations are so necessary. Do you want to make sure you’re not the next breaking news story?
Then listen up.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation is a notion started by the EU. This entity found it important enough to protect its citizens—everyone living inside the EU—and their personal information.
You know private details such as names, contact numbers and banking data are often shared with companies.
The regulations provide strict rules regarding:

  • Required security measures to protect gathered data
  • Data acquisition that can only happen with the knowledge of an individual
  • Consumers must be able to move or remove their personal data according to their preferences
  • The ways data is used—even if acquired legally—will be more regulated
  • How data breaches should be reported

You can see this is in the interest of consumers. The goal is to put control back into their hands.
But it’s actually good news for businesses too. Previously countries used different sets of guidelines regarding data usage. This made it difficult for companies to always comply.
Now—regarding EU clients—you’ll know exactly what’s expected of you.
And if you’re currently in the field service or property management business, we’ll help you make sense of these new laws that will apply from the end of May 2018. Read on to start getting prepared.

What’s Important for Field Service?

Here’s the first important fact: These laws will apply to any company that provides services to EU citizens. You therefore don’t have to be stationed in the EU for this to matter. The UK is also drawing up its own Data Protection Bill, so if you’re providing international services, you better listen up.
Secondly, don’t see these rules as limiting your activities. Rather, use them as guidelines to create a more customer friendly environment.
Because many of the rules require you to publically communicate with clients about how their information is used, you may even garner some respect from the people you serve.
Yes, you’re in a unique niche, so rules such as acquiring a Data Protection Officer won’t apply. This is only necessary if you plan on doing large-scale monitoring of your clients.
But you do handle a lot of clients’ information. Don’t worry, you can still collect it. You just have to work with it more carefully.
Here are a few things you must get in place by the end of May 2018:

  • Create a privacy policy which states what information you collect and how it will be used. This should be understood by all your employees so they know how to handle clients’ information.
  • Ensure your data security is up to date, such as improving password systems.
  • Create a consent form your clients can use to give you permission to use their information. Don’t worry, you’ll find many examples online. Important note: When using these forms online you may no longer have pre-ticked boxes.
  • Your activities probably require field agents to use their personal mobile devices to keep updated with job tickets. Audit all devices to ensure they can keep information secure.
  • Make sure clients can get access to their information if they request it. This can be via online profiles, or you must produce the information within a certain time.

See? It’s not that bad.
Know that penalties for not adhering to these rules can be quite severe. Better be safe than sorry.

What’s Important for Property Management?

Here’s another unique niche. Once again you’re bound to collect many clients’ information, because your activities depend on it:

  • Sellers
  • Renters
  • Buyers

You can continue business as usual, but add a few important guidelines.

Auditing Your Policy
Property management relates to so much of people’s lives:

  • Salaries
  • Energy consumption
  • Age and gender

You’re forgiven if you’re not sure what information exists in your entire system. Many business have functioned similarly until now.
But now you need to audit your systems and decide how to go from there:

  • What information will be gathered in future
  • How will this information be used, such as which data will be shared with third parties
  • How long will you keep this information before it will automatically be destroyed?

All these facts need to be combined in a privacy policy, always shown when acquiring information about clients—whether online or in person—and your policy must be available whenever officials ask for it.

Sharing Information
In the property management industry, you probably share information with third parties. If you want to optimize parking, service delivery or electricity usage, you’ll ask experts to help you and provide data about the tenants on site, right?
Yes, you’ll still be able to do this, but only if clients have given consent.

Auditing Your Partners
Now about these partnerships: Unfortunately, for the information you gather, you’ll be the responsible entity for how the shared information is used, so you need to make sure your partners comply with GDPR too:

  • Do your partners or service providers have proper security systems relating to data holding?
  • Do these partners have privacy policies in place?
  • Are they such large companies that they require a Security Officer? This applies to any company with more than 250 employees.

Yes, the GDPR requires some homework. But complying is worth it. And after all, don’t you want all companies to handle your information with this much respect? Let’s make sure there will never be breaking news about people’s personal data again.

About the Author:


Povilas V. Dudonis is a serial entrepreneur and likes to dig deep into methods and processes of business operations to find ways to reach maximum performance