Confusion and lack of preparation in the face of looming GDPR deadline – Help Net Security

With the GDPR deadline set for 25 May next year, many organisations are ill-prepared due to uncertainty about the criteria for compliance. 37 percent of respondents to a Vanson Bourne survey simply don’t know whether their organisation needs to comply with GDPR, while 28 percent believe they don’t need to comply at all.

looming GDPR deadline

According to the GDPR criteria, any company that stores or processes personal information about EU citizens must demonstrate compliance. Of the respondents who don’t believe the law applies to their organisation, one in seven collect personal data from EU citizens, while 28 percent of respondents unsure about compliance also said that they collect this type of information. The results show that many companies are misinterpreting which types of data constitute a mandate for compliance.

“Once enforcement for this new legislation begins, companies all over the world will feel its impact. Unfortunately, the data shows that an alarming number of organisations are still unaware or mistaken about the need for GDPR compliance, leaving them three steps behind at this stage,” said Corey Nachreiner, CTO at WatchGuard. “In the Americas, just 16 percent of organisations believe they need to comply. With sensitive customer data and non-compliance fines at stake, every company with access to data from European citizens needs to ensure they truly understand GDPR and its ramifications.”

Lack of preparation

While many organisations have been aware of GDPR for some time, just 10 percent of respondents – including those in the UK – believe their company is currently 100 percent ready.

In another illustration of the lack of clarity and communication around GDPR, 44 percent of respondents stated that they don’t know how close their organisation is to compliance.

Of those who reported that their organisation needs to comply with GDPR (35 percent of total respondents), the majority, 86 percent, believe they have a solid compliance strategy in place. But, 51 percent of those respondents believe that their organisation will need to make significant changes to their IT infrastructure in order to comply.

Although the findings show that firewalls, VPN and encryption are the security measures most likely to be involved in compliance strategies, only 18 percent of respondents said that sandboxes would play a role in their GDPR plan.

Time is running out

For organisations that are not yet GDPR compliant, respondents estimate it will take an average of seven months to complete the requirements. To bridge the gap, 48 percent of respondents’ organisations are, or might, seek assistance with compliance from an outside party.

“Penalties for noncompliance are steep and the deadline is just around the corner,” said Nachreiner. “Companies stand to lose four percent of their worldwide revenue if they haven’t met all the requirements by next May. The only way to prevent unnecessary fines and frustration is to take a good hard look at the criteria, assemble a GDPR plan of action and begin implementing it immediately.”

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