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What is Consent Management, How it Works, & Why it’s Important for Data Compliance

Type: Blog

Just a few years ago, companies could obtain and monetize their customers’ data in any way they wanted. But with the recent rollout of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies can no longer gather personal data without the consent of data subjects.

A company faces significant fines by not adhering to the provisions of these and other relevant legislation. For example, in 2019, France fined Google €50 million for breaching GDPR policies.

To manage the collecting of user consent while avoiding fines, many businesses now use consent management platforms (CMPs). At PossibleNOW, we provide companies with such platforms to adapt to the needs of their businesses, ensuring compliance with regulatory legislation and helping companies build trust with their customers by managing data responsibly. 

Consent Management Platform (CMP) Explained

A consent management platform (CMP) is a tool that ensures a company’s compliance with relevant consent regulations, such as the GDPR. A CMP is a tool domain owners or publishers can use for collecting consumer consent. It also helps with managing the data and sharing it with ad vendors.

For a website with thousands of daily visitors, using the CMP simplifies collecting consents by automating the process. That makes it a more efficient and cost-effective way to stay GDPR-compliant.

What are GDPR and CCPA?

Understanding the importance of consent management platforms requires looking into the legislation that mandates the use of such tools. While there are laws in various jurisdictions that govern consent management, the most well-known and widespread is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which the European Union put into effect in 2018.

The GDPR is legislation that covers data privacy and protection in the EU zone. Its mission is the protection of the personal information of all EU residents.

According to the GDPR consent definition, a data subject’s consent must be specific, informed, freely given, and unambiguous for it to be valid. That means the data subjects must know what they are consenting to, willingly give consent, and must expressly agree to the purpose of the collection of their data. The subject can also withdraw consent at any time.

The GDPR covers not only the operations of companies within the EU but also foreign companies and websites that transact with EU residents.

On the other hand, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a state law within the U.S. that protects the data privacy rights of Californians. As California is the 5th largest economy in the world, this law affects a vast majority of businesses in the US. Any company conducting business in the state of California must abide by the CCPA.

PossibleNOW’s consent management platform takes into consideration the legislation of all relevant jurisdictions, including the EU and California. Having such a system in place eliminates the risk of breaching the data laws of any country or jurisdiction in which your website has users. Our platforms are built with compliance-by-design, ensuring that as regulations change and evolve, so do our products and services.

For more on consent management platforms and how one can benefit your organization, be sure to talk to our CMP experts at PossibleNOW.

The Function of a Consent Management Platform 

A consent management software’s primary function is handling the entire visitor life cycle from getting a visitor’s consent to processing the data subject’s information. It also ensures that the process complies with GDPR provisions and other relevant legislation.

Collection of Consent

A consent management platform obtains consent by presenting website users with a notification, often a pop-up form. The GDPR requires that the pop-up notification must inform users that the site collects data. The notification must also state the type of data the website collects and how it will use the information.

After perusing the information, site users can decide whether to share their information as well as how much data they are willing to share. The form’s language must also be clear that it is seeking consent. Otherwise, the user will be unable to make an informed decision.

Users must willfully give consent. If a website stops a user from accessing content until they provide consent, that site is in breach of the GDPR. Also, if a company intends to use a visitor’s data for more than one purpose, it must provide separate requests for each purpose to allow the user to decide which purpose to accept or decline.

Being transparent about your practices and purposes of data collection helps your customer trust that you are only collecting what you need and for a specific reason. Building this foundation of trust is a cornerstone of good customer relationships that evolve over time, expanding customer lifetime ROI and retention.

Storing Collected Data

Consent managers store user consent and other information. The information proves useful for completing GDPR-compliance audits. The stored information must show:

  • Identity of the consent-giver, such as their name, email, cookie, or device ID
  • Reason for the consent 
  • Date and time of the consent
  • Information about any consent withdrawal by a user, including the date of withdrawal

Consent Processing

Our CMP provides an admin panel for monitoring received consents and data-subject requests. It is important that any CMP not obstruct the data subject’s rights provided by the GDPR. These user rights include:

  • Right of access to given data
  • Right to delete provided data
  • Right to restrict processing
  • Right to rectification
  • Right to data portability – the choice to transfer the data elsewhere
  • Right to object to processing

Quality CMPs such as the one offered by PossibleNOW satisfy these rights by giving users access to change or withdraw their consent and to delete data at any time, as well as providing a record of history to satisfy any audit requests.

When Is User Consent Required?

According to the GDPR, a company or website needs user consent before it can lawfully process a data subject’s information. But the GDPR also provides five scenarios in which case a company can utilize a user’s information without consent. The scenarios are:

  • Legal Circumstance: When the company needs legal information to complete specific processes, such as verifying a criminal record
  • Contractual Requirement: When the company needs the information to complete a business transaction, such as fulfilling an order from the data subject
  • Vital Interest: When the company needs the data to protect a life
  • Completion of Official Tasks: When a company or agency needs the data to carry out its official work. Public officials do not need consent to collect data to fulfill their duties. Examples of such officials are police officers, school authorities, hospital personnel, and so on.
  • Legitimate Interest: When the company has a legitimate reason to process a user’s personal data.

Does My Website Need a Consent Management Platform?

Every company website that has traffic coming out of the EU, California, or anywhere else with data privacy laws needs a consent management platform. Without one, it risks facing financial penalties for gathering personal data without proper user consent, as well as reputation damage for being noncompliant.

Even though consent rules have been around for several years, many companies are still not compliant with consent gathering and management requirements. If your company is not GDPR-compliant, we advise you to rectify that by installing a third-party consent-management solution such as the one we provide at PossibleNOW.

Our industry-leading CMP tool automatically collects data consent on your behalf and ensures that your operations are GDPR-compliant. Our platform is effective regardless of your users’ locations and their applicable consent laws, and was created with “compliance by design,” meaning as regulations evolve and change, so does our platform, keeping you in compliance..

In summary, you should contact us for assistance implementing the right CMP if your company’s website does any of the following:

  • Collects and processes users’ personal data for marketing, analytics, behavioral advertising, content personalization, and similar purposes
  • Carries out behavioral profiling for automated decision making, such as deciding what content to show visitors
  • Transfers user data overseas, such as from the EU to other countries for processing
  • Collects sensitive information about ethnicity, religious belief, biometric data, and political opinions.

Aside from collecting consent to perform the above, our tool also lets data subjects exercise their right to access, rectify, delete, and transfer their data. Considering that your company needs consent to legally perform personalized advertising and marketing, be sure not to delay in lining up a CMP.

Why CMPs Are Important for Data Compliance

A CMP’s primary purpose is to collect and store consent, but how the tool accomplishes this can vary. Most consent management software generates website pop-ups that inform users about the site’s usage of your data and offers options to reject or accept that consent.

If the user does not agree, you have no right to store or use their data, and legally, you must delete it. In most cases, users are willing to give consent so they can receive personalized ads about products and services.

The primary benefit of a consent management platform is helping companies like yours run a transparent and trustworthy business. Considering that 80% of consumers prefer patronizing a business they can trust with their data, you cannot afford to ignore management of consumer consent. 

Customers engage with businesses in various ways, from visiting apps and websites to receiving emails and clicking ads. Not every engagement will generate new customer data, but when it does, it must be transparent with how it handles that data. Non-transparent companies have to change their data collection methods to comply with the provisions of recent data privacy laws, such as the GDPR.

Fortunately, your company can easily establish transparency and GDPR compliance by using a consent management platform. By working with the right consent management provider, you will have everything your company needs to obtain site visitors’ consent to collect and share their data for online marketing purposes.

Failure to comply with the consent stipulations of the GDPR, CCPA, and other relevant legislation can lead to hefty fines. Major corporations that failed to adapt, such as Google, have had to pay millions of dollars or euros in fines. Aside from the financial repercussions, such publicity also damages a brand’s image – something many companies are unable to recover from.

For example, Facebook faced severe backlash for not being transparent about how they were using customers’ personal data. While some brands survive the public outcry, small- to mid-sized businesses with fewer resources may suffer worse fates.

Instead of risking such an outcome, ensure your company’s compliance with data privacy laws by investing in our CMP at PossibleNOW. We provide a solution that positions you to scale any consent law compliance audit. The platform will also simplify being transparent about how your company uses consumer data, which in turn will build customer trust.

Choose Our Consent Management Platform

PossibleNOW is a leading consent management provider with years of experience in the consumer regulatory compliance industry. We deliver comprehensive solutions that tackle not just surface consent collection and processing issues but every aspect of privacy compliance.

Our pioneering tool, MyPreferences, equips our clients with everything needed to engage their customers without breaching consent laws. That includes the GDPR and federal and state laws from across the globe. The platform is user-friendly and optimized to keep up with current regulations as they evolve. With the platform in place, your company will always be audit-ready.

MyPreferences satisfies the consent management requirements of each business by being highly configurable. You can modify the platform to meet your company’s needs based on the local legislation of your users, or to match use cases and other relevant factors.

As your consent management provider, PossibleNOW places you in the best position to collect and process consent with better results. Our system will ensure that you never face the financial and reputation repercussions of breaching consent laws and best practices.

To implement and configure MyPreferences to maximize consent collection and management across your enterprise, be sure to get in touch with our compliance experts today.

MyPreferences: The Leading Consent Management Platform

The right consent manager for your organization will do more than collect consents. Our industry-leading CMP, MyPreferences, is the preferred choice of global brands because:

  • It delivers more opt-in rates in a compliant manner.
  • It offers robust configuration and customization options to fulfill your unique requirements.
  • It contains advanced features that deliver more insights and protect revenue.
  • It provides multilingual consent language that you can configure to match your users’ country, region, or locale.
  • It offers support for express consent via an easy-to-understand checkbox.
  • It stores consent records with pseudonymous IDs and offers a one-click option for withdrawing consents.
  • It provides consent preferences that let your users choose how much data your company can access.
  • It delivers a comprehensive auditable history that contains each user’s consent date/time, text, and more.

Launch Now With Our Consent Quick Start Program

Are you worried about the cost and hassle of integrating a CMP? Save time and money by choosing our Consent Quick Start Program from PossibleNOW. It is a ready-to-launch solution for complying quickly with consent management requirements across your enterprise.

Become GDPR- and CCPA-compliant in less time by using our Consent Quick Start Program to capture and correct consent at all levels. You can also rely on the tool for transferring consent to downstream ad partners, managing your consent history, and more.

To get started, please contact PossibleNOW today to schedule a consultation.

What Our Customers Say

We could go on forever about the benefits of preference management, but sometimes it’s better to let our customers do the talking.

Listen to their challenges and solutions — and get inspired!

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