Majority of largest UK and US companies unprepared for GDPR

Over half of firms listed in the FTSE 350 and Fortune 500 are not preparing themselves in time for imminent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


Wednesday 3

Majority of largest UK and US companies unprepared for GDPR

That is according to new research by law firm Paul Hastings, which reveals only 43% are setting up an internal GDPR taskforce, while just one-third are hiring a third-party to conduct a regulation gap analysis or give advice.


This is despite 94% of FTSE firms believing they are on track to implement GDPR, with the number rising to 98% among Fortune companies – suggesting they are significantly underestimating the technicalities of compliance.


“The confidence among major corporations seems mismatched with reports of their implementation efforts,” Paul Hastings global co-chair of privacy and cybersecurity practice, Behnam Dayanim, said.


“Achieving GDPR compliance is an enormous task – one that in our experience, almost inevitably requires dedicated resources and budget.”


The regulation comes into force in May this year, and is designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe, giving extra protection to citizens’ data privacy, and applies to all firms that do business inside the EU.


Breaches can hit institutions with fines of up to 2% of their previous year’s global annual revenues for a first offence, and 4% for repeat offences, while criminal penalties are also possible.


The Paul Hastings research involved a survey of 100 general counsel or chief security officers from FTSE 350 companies, and 100 from Fortune 500 firms, in July 2017.


Despite being one of the crucial requirements for “business involved in the large scale monitoring of individuals”, it was found that just 29% of FTSE firms have hired a data privacy officer or additional privacy staff.


This number is even lower among the Fortune companies, while it was also found that just 10% of UK firms have an allocated budget for GDPR compliance.


“With so few companies undertaking key compliance measures to date, it will be a race to the finish line for those needing to meet the terms of this wide-reaching regulation,” Dayanim continued.


“This unfortunately seems to be setting up a scenario for multiple investigations and enforcement activities once the implementation date arrives.”


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