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Survey finds that GDPR is still confusing global organizations; and preparations are lacking

With the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) deadline set for 25th May 2018, a global survey shows that many organizations are ill-prepared due to uncertainty about the criteria for compliance. The results show that 37 percent of respondents simply don’t know whether their organization needs to comply with GDPR, while 28 percent believe they don't need to comply at all. Respondents in the UK appear better informed, with 25 percent of ‘don’t knows’ and just 13 percent under the impression that they do not need to comply.

The survey, commissioned by WatchGuard Technologies, examined the views of more than 1,600 organizations and was conducted by independent market research firm, Vanson Bourne.

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 organization, 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 organizations are still unaware or mistaken about the need for GDPR compliance, leaving them three steps behind at this stage,” said Corey Nachreiner, chief technology officer of WatchGuard. “In the Americas, just 16 percent of organizations 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 organizations 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 organization is to compliance.

Of those who reported that their organization 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 organization 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, and companies are feeling the pressure. For organizations that are not yet GDPR compliant, respondents estimate it will take an average of seven months to complete the requirements. To bridge the gap, nearly half – some 48 percent -of respondents’ organisations are, or might, seek assistance with compliance from an outside party.

WatchGuard.com


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