Many Companies Not Prepared for the Risk Brought by the EU’s New Customer Data Rule

The European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will give European customers the ability to control all of the personal data businesses store and process about them. Many companies, however, will not be prepared to meet the requirements when the GDPR takes effect in May 2018, leaving them exposed to potentially millions in fines.

The GDPR will give European customers the power to control all data collected about them, from name, address and phone number to purchasing history, web browsing activity, and real-time location. Companies loaded down with legacy enterprise systems housed in various silos can’t adequately track how and where they store this information; many are working to redo their IT infrastructure to prepare for the impending GDPR inquiries. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2018, more than half of the companies affected by the GDPR will not be in full compliance.

That will be key because according to a new global study of 7,000 customers across the EU by software firm Pegasystems Inc., 82% of European consumers plan on using their rights under the regulation to view, limit or erase the information businesses collect on them. Customer awareness is still fairly low, but among those who do know something about the GDPR, 90% want direct control over how companies use their data, and 89% want to see the data companies store about them.

Survey participants ranked the ability to see what data is collected and stored about them as the most important aspect of the GDPR (47%), while 22% want the ability to erase such data. Ninety-three percent of respondents said they would erase their personal data if they weren’t comfortable with how they thought companies used it.

By country, 90% of respondents from Italy said they planned on enforcing their GDPR rights, while 89% of those from Spain, 86% from France and 74% from the U.K. said they would do so.

– Nicholas Stern, managing editor

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