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A quarter of London business still unaware of the GDPR

With just four months to go until the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect, almost a quarter of businesses in London are still unaware of the incoming legislation.

A poll of 500 companies commissioned by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) found that 24 per cent knew nothing about the GDPR, and only 16 per cent consider themselves prepared for it.

21 per cent said that they ‘would like to prepare’, but need to find out more about it. The proposal for the GDPR was released on the 25th January 2012 and the regulation was adopted in April 2016.

Demonstrating an unsurprising lack of understanding, more than a third (34 per cent) said that the GDPR was not relevant to them.

Tony Connor, head of marketing at Datapipe, said: “The report…is a significant cause for concern. GDPR brings in the most sweeping changes to data regulations since the Data Protection Act of 1998, and all businesses which handle personal data, regardless of size, need to be compliant…

“GDPR will impact all business units, from marketing, to sales, to IT: the compliance requirements that arrive with these sweeping new data protections rules should not be underestimated. Understanding data responsibilities, as well as the nature and location of data is key. All businesses need to be paying much closer attention to the security of their IT infrastructure and, fortunately for those businesses unaware of GDPR, it is not too late to implement changes and become compliant with the imminent regulations.”

Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the LCCI, said, “Businesses that are already vigilant about their data protection responsibilities are unlikely to be unduly burdened by the new legislation.

“However, we would urge businesses to take this opportunity to review their processes to see if they need to make any changes to be compliant.”

The GDPR will come into law on the 25th May this year, replacing the existing Data Protection Act. It will enforce new rules on data privacy and security, with harsh fines for non-compliance: up to £15 million, or four per cent of worldwide annual turnover. Today the maximum fine is £500,000.

Despite the length of time that business have had to prepare for the GDPR, there is still a huge amount of confusion. Confidence in preparedness is low, terms are still being questioned, Brexit is causing chaos and some IT leaders have even questioned whether the regulation is in effect already.

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