Businesses Risking Damaging Fines By Ignoring Implications Of New Data Protection Rules, Says Survey
– Poll Of 2,000 Businesses Reveals Significant Lack Of Awareness And UrgencyThe majority of British businesses are unaware of the new wide-ranging data protection rules which now come into force in less than a year’s time – despite 18% admitting the maximum fine for non-compliance would force them out of business and 21% saying it would lead to large-scale redundancies.
According to a YouGov survey of over 2,000 businesses which was commissioned by national law firm Irwin Mitchell, only three in every 10 (29%) have started preparing for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which commence on 25 May 2018.
GDPR represents the biggest change in 25 years to how businesses process personal information and it replaces existing data protection laws.
Under the new rules, the maximum fine for certain data breaches in the UK will rise from £500,000 to €20million or 4% of global turnover, whichever is larger. Despite this and the fact that virtually all businesses will be affected, only 38% admit to being aware of the rules.
Seventy one per cent are unaware of the new fines and 18% say they would go out of business if they received the maximum punishment. Ten per cent think they would need to make significant job cuts with a further 21% admitting that smaller scale headcount reductions will be necessary.
Joanne Bone, partner and data protection expert at Irwin Mitchell said:
However, Irwin Mitchell’s survey found that only one quarter (26%) of businesses are certain that they would be able to detect a data breach within their organisation. Just 34% say they are confident they would notify the relevant stakeholders within the required timescale of three days.
Other changes under the GDPR include an obligation to be more transparent about how personal data is used. Businesses will also need to have processes in place in case an individual asks for all their personal data to be erased.
Irwin Mitchell believes the low level of awareness of GDPR is caused by a number of misconceptions that exist about the new rules and say this has led to a level of complacency.
This view is supported by 33% of businesses, who think GDPR will have no impact, claiming that GDPR is not an issue for their sector. Twenty two per cent claim it isn’t relevant to their business as they are not a consumer business.
The reality is that the rules encompass a wide range of personal data including employee data, payroll and pension records. They also apply to data in a business context where individuals are concerned, such as sole traders and partnerships.
Irwin Mitchell’s Joanne Bone added:
Commenting on this finding, Stuart Padgham, partner & National Head of Commercial at Irwin Mitchell, said:
“It is important to recognise that taking a proactive approach towards GDPR compliance will potentially reap financial benefits. Good data governance can build customer trust and the right permissions can also help businesses take advantage of the Big Data Revolution and enable them to commercialise their data for competitive advantage.”
Irwin Mitchell’s latest GDPR report can be downloaded from www.irwinmitchell.com/gdpr-