GDPR: Many firms nowhere near ready

There are slightly more than 40 days to go until GDPR is introduced and many customers are still not ready

With just a handful of weeks left before the GDPR data compliance regulations come into force the vast majority of customers are still struggling to get prepared.

Throughout the countdown to the 25 May introduction there have been pieces of industry commissioned research to try and find out how ready customers are. The conclusion to most of those has been that around two thirds are not confident about their ability to deal with GDPR.

That is the case again with a major study from NetApp, which looked at how firms across the UK, France, Germany and the US were feeling about the data regulations.

The headline finding was that 67% of businesses were concerned they would not meet the deadline. Only 40% of the firms quizzed felt confident they knew where their data was stored.

Those findings from the storage giant come with just 43 days to go and indicate that to those resellers trying to offer support to customers the need for their help is far from over.

“We have known for a long time that GDPR is coming and would have hoped that the level of concern among businesses these days would be minimal. That clearly is not the case, even though the GDPR, data compliance, and privacy questions will undoubtedly affect businesses that touch EU citizens’ data," said Alex Wallner, NetApp senior vice president and general manager EMEA.

"The whole ecosystem is responding to the requirements of GDPR, from resellers to hyperscale cloud providers to manufacturers. Enterprises can tap into this expertise, build up resources, and future proof businesses with GDPR compliant data management," he added.

Although many businesses don't feel ready for GDPR the message about its consequences has got through with the majority expressing concerns about the impact to the business and reputation if they fail to protect data.

Fears of not only a hit to reputation but potentially a danger to the existence of the business is not without some justification.

Mark Baker, field Product manager at Canonical, said that no one could afford to ignore the GDPR regulations.

“GDPR is a big change in data security and compliance requirements and shouldn’t be taken lightly. For many, compliance is just another obstacle to overcome but with the severity of the fines in place and the harm a data breach can cause in the modern age, no business can afford to bury their heads in the sand," he said.

"Companies should begin preparing, if they haven’t already, by analysing their technology platforms to ensure they know where customer data is held and how it is managed. Once a full audit is carried out, it will be clear exactly what needs to happen to guarantee GDPR compliance and the right action can be taken. For those organisations which continue to ignore the upcoming changes, the fines and resultant reputational harm has the potential to cause even the largest of businesses to fail," he added.

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Under article 30 of GDPR, you must document your processes and policies and draw up a network diagram showing where PII is stored. As a technical author, I know how long it will take to pull these components together as I am currently working on such a project. Don't delay.
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