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Veritas Study: Organisations worldwide mistakenly believe they are GDPR compliant

A study from Veritas Technologies, a leader in multi-cloud data management, has found that organisations across the globe mistakenly believe they are in compliance with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


According to findings from The Veritas 2017 GDPR Report, almost one-third (31 per cent) of respondents said that their enterprise already conforms to the legislation’s key requirements. However, when those same respondents were asked about specific GDPR provisions, most provided answers that show they are unlikely to be in compliance. In fact, upon closer inspection, only two per cent actually appear to be in compliance, revealing a distinct misunderstanding over regulation readiness.


“With the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) less than one year away, organisations around the world are deeply concerned about the impact that information non-compliance can have on their brand and loyalty of their customers,” said Jason Tooley, Vice-President, Northern Europe, Veritas.


The findings from the report show that almost half (48 per cent) of organisations who stated they are compliant do not have full visibility over personal data loss incidents. Moreover, 61 per cent of the same group admitted that it is difficult for their organisation to identify and report a personal data breach within 72 hours of awareness – a mandatory GDPR requirement where there is a risk to data subjects. Any organisation that is unable to report the loss or theft of personal data – such as medical records, email addresses and passwords – to the supervisory body within this timeframe is breaking with this key requirement.


The findings in this report suggest that organisations that think they are already compliant with the GDPR should revisit their compliance strategies. Failure to meet GDPR requirements could attract a fine of up to four percent of global annual turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater.


Tooley added: “The results today show that more education is needed on the tools, processes and policies to support information governance strategies that are required to comply with the GDPR requirements. Creating an automated, classification-based, policy-driven approach to GDPR is key to success and will enable organisations to accelerate their ability to meet the regulatory demands within the short timeframes available.”



The former employee threat


Restricting former employee access to corporate data and deleting their systems credentials helps to stem malicious activity and ensure that financial loss and reputational damage are avoided. Yet, a staggering 50 per cent of so-called compliant organisations said that former employees are still able to access internal data. These findings highlight that even the most confident organisations struggle to control former employee access and are potentially susceptible to attacks.


Challenges exercising “the right to be forgotten”


Under the GDPR, EU residents will have the right to request the removal of their personal data from an organisation’s databases. However, Veritas’ research shows many organisations that stated they already are in compliance will not be able to search, find and erase personal data if the “right to be forgotten” principle is exercised.


Of the organisations that believe they are GDPR-ready, one-fifth (18 per cent) admitted that personal data cannot be purged or modified. A further 13 per cent conceded that they do not have the capability to search and analyse personal data to uncover explicit and implicit references to an individual. They are also unable to accurately visualise where their data is stored, because their data sources and repositories are not clearly defined.


These shortcomings would render a company non-compliant under the GDPR. Organisations must ensure that personal data is only used for the reasons it was collected and is deleted when it’s no longer needed.


Demystifying GDPR responsibility


Veritas’ research also found that there is a common misunderstanding among organisations regarding the responsibility of data held in cloud environments. Almost half (49 per cent) of the companies that believe they comply with the GDPR consider it the sole responsibility of the cloud service provider (CSP) to ensure data compliance in the cloud. In fact, the responsibility lies with the data controller (the organisation) to ensure that the data processor (the CSP) provides sufficient GDPR guarantees. This perceived false sense of protection could lead to serious  repercussions once the GDPR is enacted.


“Organisations who actively focus on development of a culture of data confidence will have a clear business advantage. Customer and supplier confidence in the use of data is critical to improved customer engagement, greater personalisation and ultimately service quality. This allows organisations to turn GDPR from being a regulatory challenge to being a business differentiator,” Tooley commented.


“The complexity created through the management of data across multiple cloud and on-premise environments is accentuating the challenge and will inhibit an organisation’s ability to remain compliant in the face of the GDPR articles. For every organisation that’s currently struggling to make sense of the GDPR’s provisions, it should immediately seek an advisory service to audit its levels of preparedness and create a smooth and accelerated path towards total compliance.”


The GDPR is intended to harmonise data privacy and protection mandates across European Union (EU) member states. It requires organisations to implement the appropriate protection measures and processes to effectively govern personal data. The GDPR will take effect on May 25, 2018 and will apply to any organisation – inside or outside the EU – that offers goods or services to EU residents, or monitors their behaviour.


For information on how Veritas Technologies can help your organisation become GDPR compliant visit

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