Only 1 in 20 organisations claim to be ready for GDPR

There is a growing concern that European businesses are simply not ready for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to a study conducted by BSI. Even though 97% of organisations admit that the implementation of the GDPR will affect their business, just 5% say they are fully prepared for the new data regulation, with 33% stating that they are just over half way to compliance.

The GDPR comes into effect on the 25th May and will require all organisations to comply with stricter rules concerning the data protection and privacy of data subjects (citizens) within the EU. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to €20 million or 4% of an organisation’s annual global turnover, with supervisory authorities expected to crack down hard to encourage greater compliance.

Just a few weeks away from the deadline, the research from the Cyber Security and Information Resilience division of BSI has found that European businesses are aware of the looming deadline – but far from ready. Over half of organisations surveyed highlighted their concern regarding the role of their employees in GDPR compliance, with one in five businesses revealing that they had experienced a data compromising incident in the past 12 months. The Data Protection Commissioner reported 2,795 valid data security breaches in 2017, an increase of 26% from 2016.

  • The research also revealed that 1 in 5 senior managers are actively engaged with the GDPR on behalf of their organisation
  • 36% are allocating a substantial level of resources to meet GDPR requirements
  • 97% of organisations admit that the GDPR will affect the way they conduct their business.

Data Protection Officer

While specific sectors (e.g. public authorities) and organisations engaged in high risk data processing are obliged to appoint a Data Protection Officer under the GDPR, the survey found that:

  • Only 27% of organisations have a DPO training programme in place
  • More than half of organisations do not provide data protection training to employees
  • 63% of businesses have not assigned a DPO.

Privacy Impact Assessments

An additional key requirement of GDPR is Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) (a risk-based assessment used to ensure that the rights and freedoms of individuals are protected when any processing of their data is performed by an organisation), and alarmingly the research revealed that over 40% of organisations surveyed weren’t aware that PIAs will be a mandatory requirement and only 12 per cent claimed to have a good knowledge of PIAs.

Commenting on the research, Stephen O’Boyle, Head of Professional Services at BSI, said: “There’s a lot of talk surrounding the GDPR but with less than one month to go our research shows that organisations are still unprepared and don’t fully understand what’s required of them. Becoming GDPR ready is less complicated, less expensive and less daunting than many businesses think.

Data processing is an issue for everyone and awareness levels are increasing – the recently published Data Protection Commissioner annual report highlighted that complaints had increased by 79% compared to 2016 and this year it’s anticipated that this figure will be even higher. The new General Data Protection Regulation was set up to benefit everyone and having the right systems in place is not only good practice but will ensure that organisations build trust and transparency with their customers and minimise privacy and security risks for the future.” concludes Stephen O’Boyle.

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