NW businesses ‘not prepared’ for GDPR

Daniel McLaughlin, MCL Services.
Daniel McLaughlin, MCL Services.

A shocking number of businesses in the NW are not prepared for the implementation of sweeping new data protection rules which come into force next week, a local cyber security expert has said.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation - or GDPR for short - will give you the right to do things like ask companies and organisation to tell you what data they are holding on you, and how it’s being used.

It will also restrict the way direct marketing reaches your email inbox and means you will be told if your data is compromised by hackers.

While the new rules strengthen individual rights, it’s a big change for businesses, who are fast running out of time to comply.

Daniel McLaughlin, from Derry-based technology firm MCL Services, says the low level of preparation locally is putting businesses at serious risk.

Mr McLaughlin has been working to ensure companies are compliant with the new game-changing EU rules.

“We estimate that up to 80% of business in the North West have zero to minimal levels of preparation for the EU GDPR which comes into effect at the end of next week,” he said.

“The level of preparedness is shocking given that GDPR penalties are potentially business-ending. A breach will no longer result in a slap on the wrist and minor fine. As of May 25, the fine for businesses - small, medium or otherwise - will be up to £20m or 4% of turnover, whichever is highest.

“The penalty will depend on the extent of the breach not the size of the business. I have no doubt that, as the test cases roll out over next five to ten years, we will see casualties.”

Mr McLaughlin will host a free workshop for businesses in Derry next Tuesday (May 22).

“The workshop is for business owners who are unsure how GDPR applies to them,” he says. “The topics covered will include a compliance checklist, how the fines work and a brief digest of the 99 articles within the regulation. Attendees will also receive a free action pack to help with their compliance.”

Limited places are available at the workshop which will take place at The Innovation Centre, Catalyst Inc., (former Fort George site) from 1.30pm to 4.30pm on Tuesday, May 22.

To register, log on to http://bit.ly/mclgdpr