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GDPR may put businesses at risk and many feel unprepared

Is GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – actually going to put businesses at risk? A survey by information management company Veritas suggests it might. In fact 38 per cent of companies believe they could lose customers or go out of business as a result of non-compliance, and 22 per cent believe a fine under GDPR could force them to reduce the workforce.

Numerous commentators have suggested that the new legislation is more serious than some businesses realise. One guest contributor suggested that GDPR should now underpin a business’ entire data strategy only last week; others have offered guidelines, but the subject has never been far from the headlines.

Majority worried about GDPR

Possibly the most striking figure in the Veritas report is that 86 per cent of the 900 companies interviewed worldwide are concerned that failure to comply with the rules will affect their business adversely. Whether this translates into the same number thinking they are genuinely at risk of non-compliance or whether they were responding to a simple what-if question is a different matter, but it puts the question beyond the trivial.

No doubt some people will see this as a good reason the UK should be repudiating EU laws sooner rather than later as the new framework emanates from the Union rather than the UK. This doesn’t hold much water however, as any country wishing to do business with the EU is going to have to fall into line with these rules about how personal and financial data is handled. That means countries as big as China and the US as well as former members such as the UK.

Considering the matter a little more deeply still, you might conclude that data protection has carried fines for years, and the fact that a new regime is in place is largely irrelevant.

Heavy fines have always put companies and their workforces at risk, but if a company is not keeping client data safe isn’t it reasonable to ensure there is some incentive for them to do so?