Irish businesses in the dark as EU tightens data protection rules

Big changes are on the way - and many firms are falling behind

Irish businesses in the dark as EU tightens data protection rules

A man uses the illuminated keyboard of a laptop | Image: Silas Stein/DPA/PA Images

New research shows that the majority of Irish firms are under-prepared for major changes in the EU's privacy rules.

66% of businesses are unaware of changes in their data protection obligations, which are included in the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will come into effect on May 25th, 2018.

That's according to research carried out by iReach for the Department of the Taoiseach and the Government Data Forum.

Almost half (47%) of the businesses who took part in the study were unsure where the data protection responsibilities lie within their respective companies.

However, 72% of respondents believe data will play an important or very important role in the future of how their company does business. Half believe that smart use of data will allow their businesses to run more efficiently.

This data was published ahead of the 2017 Data Summit which will be held on Thursday and Friday of this week.

Commenting on the results of the research, the Minister of State for European Affairs, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Dara Murphy, said: "The results of the research released today are a strong indicator that Irish business is well placed to embrace the opportunities of Ireland’s data-driven future. This will only but strengthen Ireland’s position as the Data and Digital Capital of Europe.

"Although some businesses have yet to consider the GDPR, this game-changing piece of legislation cannot be ignored. By hosting ‘how-to’ sessions with officials from the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, officials from our Department of Justice and representatives of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), the Data Summit will increase preparedness for the implementation GDPR and ensure businesses are more aware of how they manage and protect data," he continued.