Only one in four Cork firms confident of meeting the deadline for GDPR compliance
Alarm bells should be ringing on data protection, according to the results of a new survey conducted by Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) at Cork Chamber and it@cork. Local firms were asked about their preparedness for the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018.
EEN at Cork Chamber and it@cork are this week running ‘Get to Grips with Data Protection’, a seminar to support SMEs get ready for GDPR and providing expert advice. GDPR relates to personal data and brings most companies into the sphere of regulation by the Data Protection Commission.
“Whilst awareness of the potential impact of the regulation has grown substantially in the last few months,” says Katherine Fitzpatrick, EEN manager at Cork Chamber, “The evidence we’re seeing is that most firms are still not taking action.”
“From the 100 businesses who completed the survey, it is clear that there is an appetite amongst smaller companies for industry bodies like it@cork and Cork Chamber to help them navigate GDPR regulation by providing real actionable guidance,” says Gillian Bergin, a director of it@cork.
“Our seminar booked out very early pointing to a definite demand for knowledge and a willingness to get started. But at this stage only 15% have begun a Data Protection Register to start documenting their actions in becoming compliant. The biggest challenge reported by business in our survey is forming a reliable understanding of the regulation and upskilling their key staff”, Ms Bergin added.
“One of the challenges facing firms is that GDPR is principles-based rather than rules-based. “, Katherine Fitzpatrick explained. “Whilst the intention is that this gives flexibility to firms in the way they comply and hopefully future proofs the regulation, it also introduces uncertainty around how far measures must go to achieve compliance. Essentially, GDPR asks companies to adopt a risk-based approach to compliance, so they need to understand the how the principles of data protection apply to their operations. Until practical experience is built up, this uncertainty can prompt either over-reaction or a wait-and-see approach. Waiting is dangerous given that most companies that have started the process estimate it will take them at least 7 months to become compliant.”
EEN at Cork Chamber and it@cork will continue to support local firms in the countdown to GDPR over the next number of months. BiznetCork Skillnet, the Cork Chamber Business School, is rolling out a number of data protection training courses to help companies with sector specific challenges. Further detail can be found on www.corkchamber.ie