IT personnel are tasked with the technical side of GDPR compliance, but almost half feel the regulation isn’t strong enough, according to a study.

The Avecto study found:

  • Even with the GDPR going into effect, 47 percent of global IT and cybersecurity professionals believe the regulation isn’t strong enough. In North America, only 31 percent of professionals think the current GDPR laws are sufficient.
  • The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal made 37 percent of respondents more concerned about their company's data protection strategy.
  • Just 56 percent of North American professionals and two-thirds of respondents from UK and Germany were aware that the GDPR impacts any company with European customers, employees and partners.
  • Overall, employees were unsure about their organization’s plans to prepare for the GDPR with 40 percent of US respondents, 20 percent of German respondents and 15 percent of UK respondents unaware of any preparation.
  • Many companies do not have a dedicated member of staff to handle data protection. Only 63 percent of UK, 52 percent of German, and 27 percent of North American professionals respectively work at companies with an internal data protection officer.
  • Auditing data storage and usage is an integral part of the new GDPR regulations. However, 27 percent of global respondents said they do not conduct data audits.
  • Approximately 70 percent of IT and cybersecurity professionals in the UK and Germany understood the fines associated with GDPR while only 38 percent of North American professionals felt they understood the costs of not being compliant with the new regulations.

“With the GDPR coming into effect, companies are facing a new era of compliance and transparency when it comes to managing and storing their personal data,” said Simon Langton, vice president of professional services at Avecto. “While some see this as detrimental to business operations, we see this as a positive change. The GDPR is creating a culture of accountability, and it will force companies to review policies, procedures and best practices to protect the privacy of those with whom they do business.”

A foundational principle of the GDPR is controlling privileged access. Yet only 36 percent of organizations have removed administrator rights at various levels to improve their data protection initiatives and comply with regulations. Looking more closely at this regulation, only 13 percent of North American respondents, 9 percent of UK respondents and 12 percent of German respondents said they removed local administrator rights in preparation for the GDPR. Many organizations feel privilege management and application control are each a massive undertaking, but endpoint privilege management secures desktop and laptops while enabling workers to work with minimal interruption.

The results of the survey indicate that organizations within the UK and Germany are taking necessary steps to prepare for the GDPR. However, organizations in North America are lagging and opening themselves up for potentially significant fines. The GDPR regulation requires companies to make fundamental changes to how they handle personally identifiable information. Key actions that companies can take to be GDPR compliant begin with the security fundamentals: deploy endpoint privilege management inclusive of application control to achieve a least privilege environment.