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GDPR and hardening consumer sentiment prompt 60% of businesses to toughen data stance

An IBM study has shown that a majority of businesses (60%) have embraced the arrival of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe as an opportunity to tighten up their data privacy and security protocols.

A broad-brush reappraisal of industry’s data reliance is now underway with 80% of companies now reducing the quantity of personal data they retain on file, driven by a pincer movement of tougher regulation and hardening consumer sentiment.

This has prompted most companies to be far more selective when it comes to the forms of data they store and manage, with 70% confirming that they had already disposed of data ahead of the full implementation of the rules on 25 May.

Cindy Compert, chief technology officer for data security and privacy at IBM Security, said: "GDPR will be one of the biggest disruptive forces impacting business models across industries – and its reach extends far beyond the EU borders. The onset of GDPR also comes during a time of huge distrust among consumers toward businesses ability to protect their personal data.

"These factors together have created a perfect storm for companies to rethink their approach to data responsibility and begin to restore the trust needed in today's data-driven economy."

The results were drawn from a poll of 1,500 business leaders worldwide, establishing that 84% of respondents believe that proof of GDPR compliance is a positive differentiator with the public. A further 76% believe that GDPR will enable them to forge more trusted relationships although, on the other side of the coin, just 36% expect to be fully compliant in time for next week’s deadline.

Such fears have led to around half of all UK marketers setting aside cash to pay for GDPR fines as concern mounts at the fast approaching deadline.

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