NI: Business leaders warned over GDPR deadlines

Laura Gillespie
Laura Gillespie

Business leaders have just over a year to prepare for major changes in data protection and privacy law, Pinsent Masons has warned.

Over 50 people took part in a data protection conference hosted by the firm, where they learned about the key changes, just over one year away, and what they should be doing to now prepare.

Laura Gillespie, litigation and regulatory partner at Pinsent Masons, said: “GDPR has no transition or implementation phase and as such will be effective from Day 1, 25th May 2018.

“That means businesses have just over a year to prepare for the biggest shake-up to Data Protection law in recent history.

“We were pleased to host the Conference to help organisations understand the implications, and outline the guidance and practical support our dedicated and experienced Information Law Unit offers to businesses as the changes loom ahead.

“The cost of getting it wrong is severe. Under the current regime, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has power to issue fines of up to £500,000 whereas under the new framework, the ICO will have the power to impose fines of up to €20million or 4 per cent of global turnover, whichever is higher.”

Conference delegates were given five tips from the firm:

  1. Conduct a privacy impact assessment – understand what information you hold and where it is held;
  2. Review policies, systems and procedures to assess what action should be taken;
  3. Start/retain audit trail of DP compliance measures;
  4. Ensure you have an incident response plan in place should an incident occur;
  5. Have a regular system of review and updating.
  6. Ms Gillespie said: “Our experience in this area means we appreciate the levels of concern business have over the rise in cyber-attacks, but often data security is as reliant upon human behaviour as technical resilience.

    “Our Information Law team has experience in advising businesses on a variety of incidents and with just over a year until these major changes come into force we expect the issue to move rapidly up boardroom agendas.”

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