GDPR

GDPR Raising Cybersecurity Awareness Among EU Business Leaders

As if the daily beating of data breach news wasn’t enough reason to bring the stark reality of cyber risks to the attention of corporate leaders, here comes the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Taking effect in May 2018, GDPR is managing to elevate cyber risks to the top of the corporate agenda for organizations that store data in citizens of the European Union.

According to a survey of more than 1,300 senior executives, conducted by insurance and risk management firm Marsh, 65 percent of respondents from organizations that operate in the EU say that they consider “cyber” to be a top risk. That’s a doubling from a similar survey conducted last year that found 32 percent citing “cyber” as a top five risk. Further, the survey finds that 23 percent of those organizations that fall under GDPR have endured a successful cyber attack in the past year.

The heightened cybersecurity concerns and looming GDPR deadline have EU organizations upping their security and risk management spending. “Of those respondents whose organizations have plans for GDPR implementation, 78% said they would increase spending on addressing cyber risk over the next 12 months, including spending on cyber insurance. Notably, 52% of those who do not have a plan for GDPR indicated that their investment in cyber risk management would increase,” Marsh writes in this news release.

Surprisingly, with about seven months left, only 8 percent of survey respondents claim that their organizations are currently GDPR compliant and a startling 57 percent say that their enterprises are currently developing compliance plans. And another 11 percent of respondents are in for a very rude awakening, as they’ve reported that they have no compliance plans at all. “Smaller organizations were more likely not to have a plan for GDPR with 19% of respondents from businesses with less than $50m annual revenue replying that no plan was in place,” Marsh wrote.

For those not familiar, GDPR mandates:

  • EU citizens’ personally identifiable information (PII) must be adequately protected, managed, and controlled.
  • Data breaches must be reported within 72 hours.
  • Non-compliant organizations risk significant fines, from 4 percent of annual revenue down to €20 million.

Forty-nine percent have fully developed a data breach incident response plan. Another 10 percent, however, have no plans to do so. It’s shocking that any organization today doesn’t have an incident response plan should sensitive data be exposed.

It is not pragmatic for an organization to assume it will never have to disclose a breach as required by GDPR – that’s just hope. It’s much more sensible to expect to be breached at some point and consider how to make a public disclosure. Because when it comes down to it, the difference between the winners and losers here is how well the breach is mitigated and managed, and the effectiveness of the public response.

This blog first appeared on DXC.Technology blog in November 2017. Find more on GDPR here.

 

George V. Hulme

Author: George V. Hulme

George V. Hulme is an internationally recognized information security and business technology writer. For more than 20 years Hulme has written about business, technology, and IT security topics. From March 2000 through March 2005, as senior editor at InformationWeek magazine, he covered the IT security and homeland security beats. His work has appeared in CSOOnline, ComputerWorld, Network Computing, Government Computer News, Network World, San Francisco Examiner, TechWeb, VARBusiness, and dozens of other technology publications.