Small Firms Unprepared for GDPR

Small and medium sized businesses have not yet started to prepare for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which intends to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union. That was the message conveyed at a conference held by Irish law firm ByrneWallace aimed at assisting SMEs and public sector bodies get GDPR ready.

Over 100 CEOs, directors and business professionals representing some of Ireland’s leading indigenous and international companies, financial institutions, and state and public sector bodies attended the event to hear a panel of industry and legal experts discuss the changing regulatory landscape under the GDPR and provide practical guidance on how to adapt to the change.

Speaking of the GDPR, Seán O’Donnell from ByrneWallace commented:

“The introduction of the new GDPR, on the 25 May 2018, will herald a new era in data protection regulation for Irish companies and state bodies. It will require a fundamental change in the mind set and behaviours of organisations in relation to how they manage personal data.

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In less than 10 months, all Irish businesses will face new rules in relation to how they manage personal data. More significantly, all companies will face the possibility of more onerous financial penalties and fines for non-compliance and breaches – with potential fines of up to €20 million or 4 per cent of global annual turnover, whichever is the greater.

Many businesses however have not yet started to prepare. Recent research in the UK shows that over half the SMEs surveyed are not aware of GDPR. While many companies have it on their agenda, they may not yet have taken the necessary steps to address it within their organisations.

Businesses need to understand how the regulations will impact upon them. But more importantly, they should be acting now to prepare for the commencement date.”


Pictured above at the event (L-R): Seán O’Donnell, Partner Corporate Crime, Regulatory Investigations & Enforcement at ByrneWallace; Paul Hogan, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Ward Solutions; and John Keyes, Assistant Commissioner – Investigations, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.