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Corporates Unprepared For GDPR, UK Government Warns

A new report released in the U.K. finds companies are unprepared for the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

A press release published last week by gov.uk highlighted a government survey that found only 38 percent of businesses have even heard of GDPR. For the businesses that are aware, a bit more than a quarter said they’ve made changes to their operations in order to comply with the new rules aimed at data privacy and security.

Less than half of the companies that said they’re making changes said those initiatives include changes to their cybersecurity practices, mostly by making official changes to company policy.

The survey, conducted for the government by the Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute and the University of Portsmouth, also found that businesses that are taking action on GDPR are focusing on training staff and implementing new technological systems within the enterprise.

GDPR comes into effect in May, just months after the U.K. implemented its Open Banking rules to comply with the EU’s PSD2 regulations, which similarly have implications for data protection and privacy.

In a statement, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, said the survey is intended to boost awareness of the rules.

“These figures show many organizations still need to act to make sure the personal data they hold is secure and they are prepared for our Data Protection Bill,” he said, adding that the National Cyber Security Centre provides free guidance to companies to help them become GDPR compliant, according to reports in ZDNet.

But businesses shouldn’t only look at compliance as the key motivator behind adopting GDPR rules. Elizabeth Denham, information commissioner, stated that there are benefits to companies under GDPR.

“The GDPR offers a real opportunity to present themselves on the basis of how they respect the privacy of individuals, and over time this can play more of a role in consumer choice,” she said. “Enhanced customer trust and more competitive advantage are just two of the benefits of getting it right.”

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