Europe is at its most politically turbulent time for many years. The UK’s decision to leave the EU and its snap general election as well as the ongoing French election which will see one of two political ‘outsiders’ elected are just two of the issues that are affecting the continent at the moment.
But it’s not just politics that are undergoing an upheaval in Europe, data protection regulations are too with the forthcoming implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations in 2018. This will have a massive impact on all European businesses and organisations (including the UK who won’t have left the EU by this point) but its effects will be felt further too. What many organisations and businesses outside of the European Union around the world may not be aware of is that these regulations will apply to them if they control or process data of European Union citizens. This means that almost every company or organization in the world that has a presence somewhere in the European Union will be subject to the new General Data Protection Regulations. According to the MLAW group, leading European lawyers:
“The proposed new EU data protection regime extends the scope of the EU data protection law to all foreign companies processing data of EU residents. It provides for a harmonization of the data protection regulations throughout the EU, thereby making it easier for non-European companies to comply with these regulations; however, this comes at the cost of a strict data protection compliance regime with severe penalties of up to 4% of worldwide turnover.”
In the long-run there is no doubt that the new regulations will make it easier for companies to comply with data regulations in the EU. Currently, each member state of the EU have their own data protection regulations which can make it difficult for those companies that have multi-country operations to ensure they are complying everywhere they operate.
However the latest statistics from Veritas, the American based international data management company indicate that 86% of organisations across the world are concerned that if they fail to adhere to the new European Union General Data Protection Regulations that this could have a severe negative impact on their business. This fear is real, as many companies have not started preparing for GDPR and non-compliance can see fines issued of $21 million or 4 percent of annual turnover, whichever is higher. 20 % of those questioned in the Veritas survey said that such a draconian fine could actually put them out of business.
Companies worldwide have until May 2018 to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulations, however this could be a tough ask for many. Talking about the survey, Veritas Technologies commented “Our study indicates that a whopping 47 percent of organizations globally have major doubts that they will meet this impending compliance deadline.”