According to new research from Gowling WLG who have just launched their Digital Risk Calculator, UK business leaders are much less aware of digital risks than their European counterparts.
Just under 1000 small to medium sized businesses across the United Kingdom, France and Germany took part in the survey which saw UK respondents consistently identified between 2% and 25% fewer risks in each area analysed than their European counterparts. What was particularly concerning was the fact that there was a poor knowledge and awareness of the forthcoming European Union General Data Protection Regulations that are due to come into force on May 25, 2018. Just 14% of UK business leaders were aware of the fines that they could face for not complying with GDPR compared to 26% in Germany and 45% in France.
Helen Davenport, a director at Gowing WLG, told Computing, “A factor could be that not all SMEs have access to and the resources to pay for regulatory advice and support. Whatever the reason, and despite much already having been written on the GDPR, the survey suggests more needs to be done to raise the awareness of SMEs, across Europe. Awareness is of course also just the first step and SMEs should start taking action now to prepare for the GDPR if they have not already.”
“However, there tends to be an ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude among business leaders, who on the one hand anticipate that external cyber attacks will increase over the next three years, but on the other hand fail to identify such areas of risk as a concern for them. This is likely to prevent them . from preparing suitably for digital threats that they may face.”
Such an attitude could be costly. Businesses who fail to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations could see them being issued with fines of up to €20 million or 4% or annual global turnover – whichever is higher. This could put many companies out of business and even if not, severely hamper their ability to operate.
The survey from Gowling WLG broadly echo the recent results of research by Pure Storage. This found that British businesses were falling behind in their digital transformation strategies and were not property preparing for GDPR. According to James Petter VP EMEA of Pure Storage, the lack of awareness and knowledge about GDPR and digital transformation in general could be simply down to being overwhelmed by complexity of it all.
“UK businesses are clearly motivated to embrace digital, but in their desire to respond to customer demand, innovate quickly and forge new business models, storage and IT resources are being overwhelmed by new data demands.”