While meetings industry organizations scramble to figure out GDPR, Cvent—an event management software provider—wants to let you know it’s been on top of it for a while.
“Everybody should be concerned if your business plan includes interacting with European individuals,” said Larry Samuelson, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Cvent. “We’re dealing with it both with our clients that hold only internal meetings, that have employees from the EU, or have clients and products in the EU.
"We have 27,000 clients that do business in the EU, he added.”
And the challenge may soon expand beyond the European Union, according to Cvent.
“I think there’s going to be more and more countries that jump on and add their own flavors to it,” said Cvent CIO Pradeep Mannakkara. “Companies need to be able to manage that and leverage other companies that can help manage that process.
"We look at ourselves as a company that can take some of that burden off," he added. "Cvent has a process that can essentially alleviate some of those things. Our software can help track that and deliver that message, all stored in one place.”
Meeting planners can find themselves left in the lurch by collecting data that may seem innocuous on its face.
“What are you doing with my mobile number, my IP address, my home address, whether I’m a vegetarian or not—what are you doing with that information?” Samuelson asked. “At its core, one of the requirements is to get consent.
"It’s important to understand that it is a different mindset in Europe than it is in the U.S.," he said. "The concept that [privacy] is a fundamental right is a very big deal, and it’s something we have to be very sensitive to. This gives individuals the ultimate power over how the information is being used.”
Samuelson added that Cvent’s effort goes beyond the standard U.S. Department of Commerce’s EU-U.S. Privacy Shield self-certification process.
“Cvent decided to go a step further,” Samuelson said of Cvent’s use of TrustArc's SaaS platform privacy compliance software and verification. “To my knowledge we’re the only one in the event space to have a third-party audit that certifies us.”
The investment, according to Mannakkara, represents the company’s longstanding dedication to being ahead of the curve on data privacy issues.
“These are not things that we’ve done just for the sake of GDPR,” he said. “These are [concerns] that many have ... [and] we’ve invested more and more over the years [after] seeing what’s going on around the world and hearing from our customers. Being a key player you don’t wait to see what to do.”