Press Releases

Businesses Underprepared for GDPR

Lack of consumer and regulatory understanding combined with low technical & cultural preparedness represents a major threat to revenue and brand value

READING, UK – October 18, 2016 Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC), a global leader in cyber security, today revealed that 96 percent of companies still do not fully understand the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), despite it coming into effect in May 2018.

The results of Symantec’s State of European Data Privacy Survey, which was conducted through interviews with 900 business and IT decision makers across the UK, France and Germany, shows 91 percent of respondents have concerns about their ability to become compliant. The study also revealed only 22 percent of businesses consider compliance a top priority in the next two years, despite only 26 percent of respondents believing their organisation is fully prepared for the GDPR.

“These findings show businesses are not only underprepared for the GDPR – they are underpreparing,” said Kevin Isaac, senior vice president, Symantec. “There is a significant disconnect between how important privacy and security is for consumers, and its priority for businesses. The good news is there’s still time to remedy the situation – if firms take immediate action.”

Lack of Regulatory Awareness

Of those surveyed, nearly a quarter (23 percent) said their organisation will not be compliant at all, or will be only partly compliant, by 2018. Of this group, only a fifth (20 percent) believe it is even possible to become fully compliant with the GDPR, with nearly half (49 percent) believing that while some company departments will be able to comply, others will not. This stark lack of confidence in meeting the May 2018 deadline leaves businesses at risk of incurring significant fines.

A Consumer Disconnect

While businesses grapple to become compliant, they remain out of touch with consumer expectations when it comes to data privacy and security. Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of businesses do not think an organisation’s privacy track record is a top three consideration for customers when choosing who to do business with, despite customers asking about data security in more than a third (36 percent) of transactions.

Equally concerning is the finding that 35 percent of respondents do not believe their organisation takes an ethical approach to securing and protecting data.

These results show there is a significant disconnect with consumer priorities. Symantec’s State of Privacy Report, found 88 percent of European consumers see data security as the most important factor when choosing a company with which to do business. In fact, 86 percent consider it more important than product quality.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the State of European Data Privacy found 55 percent of businesses are not confident they completely meet customers’ data security expectations.

Cultural Preparedness 

Symantec’s study also found many businesses have not started working out the necessary organisational and cultural changes they need to make ahead of May 2018.

  • Almost one in 10 (9 percent) say all employees can access customers’ personal information
  • Six percent say all staff can access customers’ payment details.
  • Only 14 percent believe everyone in the organisation has a responsibility to ensure data is protected.

With such wide-reaching access to people’s personal information, businesses are underestimating the challenges they will face in managing this in line with the GDPR.

  • Less than half of those surveyed (47 percent) said managing data ethically is a top priority for their organisation, and less than half again said they would be increasing security training.
  • Only 27 percent of businesses are planning to completely overhaul their approach to security in response to the GDPR.
Technical Readiness & The Right to Be Forgotten
  • 91 percent of respondents have concerns about their organisations ability to comply with the GDPR, due to factors such as the complexity of processing data correctly, in time, and costs involved.
  • Only 28 percent of IT and business decision makers realise the right to be forgotten is part of GDPR.
  • 90 percent of businesses say customers requesting their data be deleted will be a challenge for their organisation.
  • Only nine percent of respondents have already received requests to be forgotten.
  • 81 percent of respondents believe their customers would exercise their right for data to be deleted.
  • However, 60 percent of businesses do not currently have a system in place that enables them to respond to these requests.

“Businesses should recognise that privacy, security and compliance with GDPR are extremely important brand differentiators,” said Kevin Isaac, Senior Vice President, Symantec, “Businesses’ response to the GDPR should become a core element of organisational design and culture. Adopting a fragmented, piecemeal approach as part of a tick box exercise will create more problems than it solves”.

Supporting Quotes

Peter Gooch, cyber risk partner, Deloitte, comments:

“Whether companies will successfully navigate the GDPR regulation hinges on their willingness to embrace privacy by design. They must also understand that good security and privacy processes can provide a substantial competitive advantage and be a driver in gaining consumer trust, in addition to being driven by regulatory requirements.”

Prof. Dr. Udo Helmbrecht, Executive Director, The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) comments:

“Given the fundamental importance of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in shaping the EU digital environment of tomorrow, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) welcomes initiatives such as this, which increase our understanding of the implementation challenges that need to be met in order to reach the goals we have set ourselves.

Notes

1Symantec’s 2015 State of Privacy Report:

http://www.symantec.com/content/en/us/about/presskits/b-state-of-privacy-report-2015.pdf

About the research:

Symantec commissioned independent research agency, Vanson Bourne, to survey 900 business decision-makers and IT decision-makers in the UK, Germany and France during September 2016. The survey targeted business and IT decision-makers at organisations with over 50 employees.

About Symantec

Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC), the world’s leading cyber security company, helps organizations, governments and people secure their most important data wherever it lives. Organizations across the world look to Symantec for strategic, integrated solutions to defend against sophisticated attacks across endpoints, cloud and infrastructure. Likewise, a global community of more than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton suite of products for protection at home and across all of their devices. Symantec operates one of the world’s largest civilian cyber intelligence networks, allowing it to see and protect against the most advanced threats. For additional information, please visit www.symantec.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Contacts:

Juliet Stanford-Smith
Symantec Corporation
+44 (0) 7718 961466
juliet_stanfordsmith@symantec.com

Jordan Abrey
Edelman
+44 (0) 7966 000 524
jordan.abrey@edelman.com