Prepare for data breach law or face hefty fines

Considering the financial penalties that could be imposed by not complying with the general data protection regulation that becomes EU law next May, it would be reasonable to assume the Irish business community had made adapting to the coming changes a top priority.

The evidence suggests otherwise.

While IT firms such as Dublin-based Ward Solutions and Cork-based Smarttech say awareness is finally growing, it is not happening quickly enough.

Statistics from recent surveys of Irish businesses are a cause for concern — shades of the stereotypical Irish attitude of leaving things until the last minute come to mind.

Ahead of the Data Summit in June, a survey to coincide with the event found 66% of Irish businesses are unaware of their obligations under the general data protection regulation.

It found 47% of respondents are unsure where the data protection responsibilities lie within their companies and 62% are either unsure how long their business stores CCTV footage or have no related privacy policy in place.

This is despite repeated warnings that companies who fail to comply can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover, or €20m.

To paraphrase Donald Trump, €20m is no small potatoes — it would be prudent to spend now on shoring up data protection rather than be caught with a whopping fine down the line.

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