About a year from now, the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) will take effect. Many analysts are strongly concerned that companies will not be able to achieve compliance with these strict data privacy regulations in time.

Prioritizing GDPR Compliance

According to an Imperva survey of 170 security professionals conducted at this year’s RSA Conference, 51 percent of respondents admitted that the GDPR would impact their companies, IT Briefcase reported. Additionally, 43 percent indicated that they were “evaluating or implementing change in preparation for GDPR,” while 29 percent said they were not preparing. A separate 28 percent indicated that they were unaware of specific preparations for the GDPR.

These findings are consistent with a recent NetApp survey of 750 chief information officers (CIOs), IT managers and C-suite executives from France, Germany and the U.K. SecurityWeek reported that 73 percent of those surveyed expressed concern about meeting the GDPR deadline. The report identified Germany as the most prepared nation, followed by France and the U.K.

Gartner recently issued a call to action on the matter. In its view, the newly empowered position and the actions available to individual data subjects will tilt “the business case for compliance and should cause decision-makers to re-evaluate measures to safely process personal data.” Gartner also estimated that by the end of 2018, less than 50 percent of all organizations will be in full compliance with GDPR.

The Complexity of Compliance

The thought behind much of this concern is that the implications and complexity of GDPR compliance have not yet fully sunk in for many organizations. It is far too simplistic to think that if personal data is kept safe, compliance will be assured. The simple lack of a security incident at any given time is not sufficient evidence of GPDR compliance.

Gartner advised companies to prioritize preparing for data subjects that are exercising their rights under the GPDR. There are two new extended rights under the GPDR that allow for withdrawal of consent as well as the right to be forgotten. These rights require organizations to know specifically where data is located. The analysis associated with this task is a major undertaking that can stretch across the entire organization.

It is time for companies in the EU markets to take GDPR regulations seriously. They should use the next year to prepare for and achieve compliance.

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