Many businesses “unaware” of GDPR, study reveals

More than half of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are still unfamiliar with the general data protection regulation (GDPR), despite the new rules coming into effect in May next year.
GDPR will enhance the protection and limit the use of consumer personal data, and brings heavy fines for those companies which flout the rules – up to 20 million euros for the biggest of businesses.
However, law firm Collyer Bristow, which published the figures, found that some 30 per cent of executives at companies with over 1,000 employees say they are still not familiar with GDPR, compared to around 55 per cent of smaller businesses.
Likewise, 18 per cent of companies say the maximum fine would push them into insolvency.
Real estate and construction-based sectors were least aware of GDPR, with 35 per cent of executives not familiar with the new rules.
Patrick Wheeler, partner and head of intellectual property and data protection at Collyer Bristow, said: “Our survey shows that a lot of businesses – particularly SMEs – in the UK still have a long way to go to be GDPR-compliant by May, and the clock is ticking. This is despite all the recent publicity.
“It cannot be overstated just how far reaching a change the GDPR will be to the data protection landscape in the UK. It impacts any business that deals with personal data – no matter how small.
“The potentially-enormous penalties mean that no business can afford to treat its data protection policies and procedures as a low priority.”

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