UK firms ahead of EU rivals in getting ready for GDPR D-Day

DataIQ News

British businesses are streets ahead of their European counterparts when it comes to getting in shape for GDPR, beating even the ultra-efficient Germans into a cocked hat, according to a new study by data specialist W8 Data.

The research, which was carried out among the top 10 European countries by GDP, discovered that only 29% of UK organisations either do not know about or feel totally unprepared for GDPR.

The UK is significantly ahead of other European nations in terms of its confidence towards compliance, with only half of German firms (52%) feeling ready for GDPR. Spanish and Swedish organisations were found to be the least prepared, with almost three quarters (73% and 71% respectively) saying they would not be ready for the new regulation.

The study also found that perception of GDPR in the UK has shifted over the last six months from being predominately negative to predominately positive, with increasing numbers of data controllers saying that compliance is not the behemoth they feared and that there is more leeway than anticipated.

Positivity regarding the new regulation was also high among consumers. Although research shows that 79% of people in the EU are unaware of GDPR, it found that 82% of those that are aware, equating to 128 million consumers across the EU, will exercise their new rights and believe it will enhance their relationships with brands.

W8 Data managing director Will Anthes commented: "It is fantastic news that the UK is leading the march when it comes to compliance. We have always been at the forefront of the marketing industry and the fact that we are taking a more positive stance demonstrates our maturity and understanding of the need for better data protection. It is easy to be despondent given all the negativity surrounding GDPR but ultimately it will enable more responsible marketing that will lead to stronger relationships with customers."

One note of caution, however; a separate study carried out international law firm Paul Hastings of FTSE 350 companies and 98% of Fortune 500 companies suggested many firms are nowhere near as GDPR-ready as they believe.

While the overwhelming majority said they would be compliant by the GDPR D-Day of May 25, fewer than half (39% in the UK and 47% in the US) have launched an internal GDPR taskforce, only a third are hiring a third-party to conduct a GDPR gap analysis, and only a third are hiring a third-party consultant to assist with compliance. The study's authors insisted this shows many companies are not as well-prepared as they think.

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