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More than half of UK businesses aren’t prepared to pay GDPR fines if breached

Research from cyber security and compliance company Proofpoint, shows only five per cent of IT decision-makers have all the necessary data governance strategies in place to be compliant ahead of the May 2018 deadline

Deadline looming
Deadline looming

The GDPR study, carried out amongst 1,500 IT decision-makers across businesses in the UK, France and Germany, highlights a disconnect between perception and reality when it comes to GDPR readiness.

Some of the key findings include the fact that whilst over half (54 per cent) of UK businesses expect a data breach in the next 12 months, only 48 per cent of respondents agree that their business is financially prepared to cover the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) fnes when the deadline arrives on 25 May 2018.

Whilst most UK businesses (77 per cent) believe they will be fully compliant by the deadline, only fve per cent have all the necessary data governance strategies in place to be compliant.

“It’s clear that when it comes to GDPR readiness, there is a disconnect. While the majority of UK businesses are bullish about their ability to meet the compliance deadline, our research shows that for many, the basic requirements are not met,” said Adenike Cosgrove, EMEA Cybersecurity Strategist, Proofpoint.

She added: “With data breaches becoming the new normal and the deadline to comply now less than a few months away, the time is now to identify and protect all personal EU data. Failure to do so could lead to fnancially-signifcant fnes, broken customer trust and in turn, potentially crippling disruption to the business.”

Data breaches are the new normal
Along with high-profle global cyberattacks, the research highlights that data breaches are signifcantly on the rise. More than a third (36 per cent) of UK businesses suffered a data breach in the last two years and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) experienced a data breach multiple times in the past 24 months.

Looking ahead, France seems to have a heightened awareness of this new paradigm compared to its European counterparts. 78 per cent of French IT decision-makers think their business is likely to suffer a data breach, with German respondents (46 per cent) believing that they are the least likely to experience an EU personal data breach.

GDPR is driving IT investments
Interestingly, 65 per cent of IT decision-makers in the UK are seeing increased IT security investments to help bolster their cyber defences and comply with GDPR ahead of the deadline.

Additionally, almost a quarter (24 per cent) have even purchased cyber insurance, implying that whilst reactive measures are in place, these organisations fear current strategies are not suffcient enough to comply with GDPR in time. Cyber insurance can help cushion the cost of a breach, however many insurance policies will not cover fnes for non-compliance.

GDPR preparations are underway
Proofpoint research also found a disparity around which methods are being prioritised to ensure GDPR deadline compliance. 56 per cent of respondents have a user awareness programme on data protection, 46 per cent have encryption for all personal EU data, and 49 per cent have implemented advanced security solutions to prevent data breaches.

However, according to the findings, only half of respondents know (and have documented) what personal EU data their organisations currently hold. This demonstrates that whilst some businesses are implementing strategies and recognise the importance of GDPR compliance, they are still at a signifcant risk of non-compliance to the regulation because they cannot discover where EU personal data sits.

“Despite having two years to comply, UK businesses are still at a critical risk of exposing data and facing potentially colossal fnes as a result,” Cosgrove said. “Over the next six months, organisations must invest in solutions that will enable them to have clearer visibility over EU personal data, solutions that prevent breaches of identifed data, as well as implement solutions that enable them to monitor, detect and respond to any regulatory violations.”

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation will replace the 22-year old EU Data Protection Directive. Failure to comply with the new rules could lead to unprecedented fnes of up to four per cent of annual global revenue or €20,000,000.

To download the full ‘The Great GDPR Disconnect’ report, visit:

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