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Survey Reveals that Many Companies are Behind Schedule to Achieve Global Data Protection Regulation Compliance

McDermott-Ponemon GDPR survey shows that almost half of companies don’t expect to have adequate GDPR processes in place by May deadline.

A major survey sponsored by international law firm McDermott Will & Emery and carried out by the Ponemon Institute has revealed that many companies are behind schedule to achieve Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance by the looming May deadline. The survey results show that 40% of companies only expect to achieve compliance with the regulation after May 25th 2018 when the Regulation comes into effect.

The McDermott-Ponemon study surveyed companies across the US and Europe on their understanding of the impact of GDPR and their readiness for it. Key findings of this important benchmark survey are:

  • 52% of the companies responded that they expect to be compliant on or before the May 25th deadline, and an additional 40% expect to become compliant after the deadline (NOTE: 8% of companies were not sure when they will achieve compliance)
  • 60% of respondents say GDPR will “significantly change” their organizations’ workflows regarding the collection, use and protection of personal information, with 71% acknowledging that lack of compliance could have a detrimental impact on their companies’ ability to conduct business globally
  • The difficulty in preparing for data breach notification, a cornerstone of the regulation, is the most difficult obligation according to 83% of respondents – with 68% saying that inability to comply with the notification requirement poses the greatest risk to their companies

Mark Schreiber, McDermott partner and a leader of the Firm’s Global Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice, said: “There is a lot more work to be done for GDPR readiness, this study shows. These findings reflect the demanding nature of GDPR and the anxiety around complying with it. A key issue here is prioritising what can be done in the remaining time before that May deadline and acting on those high risk areas.”

Ashley Winton, McDermott London partner and Chairman of the Data Protection Forum, commented: “Compliance is more than just updating your privacy policy, and so it is heartening to see so much wholesale change to workflows and an appreciation that business-as-usual processing will change after May 25. However, it is particularly interesting to see which sectors are making the most effort to get into compliance, as it is not just consumer or retail facing companies. With markedly disparate levels of compliance expected by May 25, it will be interesting to see what the regulators response will be.”

The survey shows that companies are investing heavily in attempting to achieve GDPR compliance. The average annual budget for compliance is $13 million according to the findings – a figure that one in three companies expects to review annually. More than one in five (22%) believe that a budget allocation will continue indefinitely in their organisation due to a need to continue with investment in technologies, governance practices and staffing. Respondents believe that the majority of the budget will be spent on Managed Services (28% of spend), followed by Personnel (19% of spend) and technology (17% of spend).

Larry Ponemon, founder of the Ponemon Institute stated: “The risks of failing to comply with GDPR have been most often reflected by organisations’ fear of the potential size of the financial penalties that non-compliance could bring about. The headline figures – fines of up to €20m or 4% of global turnover, whichever is the greater amount – represent a potentially massive fine for companies.”

About McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, with offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Seoul, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC, and a further extending reach into Asia, enabling a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.

About The Ponemon Institute

The Ponemon Institute was founded in 2002 by Dr. Larry Ponemon. Headquartered in Michigan, The Ponemon Institute is considered the pre-eminent research centre dedicated to privacy, data protection and information security policy. Annual consumer studies on privacy trust are widely quoted in the media and our research quantifying the cost of a data breach has become valuable to organisations seeking to understand the business impact of lost or stolen data.

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