Research conducted at Infosecurity Europe 2016 has found that many IT professionals are still unaware of what the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) means for their organisation. 20% of respondents were unaware that a data breach could lead to fines of up to €20 million or 4% of a business’ annual turnover, while over a quarter of the respondents (28%) didn’t know that, under the GDPR, a data breach should be reported within 72 hours.
iStorage carried out the survey during the course of the annual event in London. The survey gathered insight from a wide range of professionals including IT managers, Chief Information Officers, IT-focused senior executives, Chief Technical Officers, company directors and IT consultants.
It follows on from a previous iStorage survey conducted last year that revealed half of all respondents didn’t understand what the GDPR is. While there’s now greater understanding around the GDPR, the details surrounding it remain somewhat unclear, in turn highlighting the need for further education.
“2016 is the year of data security,” stated John Michael, CEO of iStorage. “It’s the topic on many organisations’ lips, and rightly so. The period between now and the GDPR coming into being should be used effectively as this is the minimal time that companies will need to come to terms with new data obligations. We’re discovering that some IT professionals are still unaware of the impact the GDPR will have on their business and, more worryingly, if it even applies to them.”
Protecting personal data
A vital area of importance within the GDPR is the requirement for businesses to implement measures designed to provide appropriate protection for the personal data they hold. This means the ‘pseudonymisation’ and encryption of personal data is essential. However, a quarter (25%) of all respondents surveyed were unaware that personal data must be encrypted in order to comply with the GDPR.
Another part of the new regulation is the requirement for a Data Protection Officer (DPO) within certain businesses. Although interviewees were aware of this requirement, iStorage found that 60% of respondents didn’t know that a DPO wasn’t required for organisations employing under 250 members of staff.
“It’s important to send the message that the GDPR is very much on the horizon and applicable to all organisations,” continued Michael. “Our survey shows that there’s still confusion and a lack of understanding around the GDPR. Therefore, rapid education is a must. All businesses will have to ensure that personal information is protected by adequate security so as to prevent any data breaches which can lead to hefty fines.”
Of course, many security breaches occur from the theft or loss of portable storage devices. “Businesses should ensure that all portable media devices containing personal information are robustly encrypted to the very highest standard,” concluded Michael in conversation with Risk UK.