What is the impact of the changing data protection landscape?

McAfee, the cyber security company, has today released which highlights businesses’ approach to data residency, management, and protection in light of global events, policies and the changing regulatory data protection landscape.

Based on a survey of 800 senior business decision-makers from across multiple industry sectors and eight countries, the report provides a comprehensive view of how organisations view 11 key data regulations from around the world, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will toughen and simplify laws protecting personal data for over 500 million people residing in the European Union once implemented in May 2018.

The report shows that nearly half (48%) of organisations will migrate their data to a new location because of regulations like GDPR. A similar amount will migrate their data because of changing geopolitics or the approach to relevant policies in the United States.

>See also: The data security landscape of 2027

70% of respondents believe the implementation of GDPR will make Europe a world leader in data protection; however, the United States remains the most popular data storage destination, preferred by nearly half of all organisations surveyed.

“It’s critical that businesses do everything they can to protect one of the world’s most valuable assets: data,” said Raj Samani, chief scientist and Fellow at McAfee. “The good news is that businesses are finding that stricter data protection regulations benefit both consumers and their bottom line. However, many have short-term barriers to overcome to become compliant, for example, to reduce the time it takes to report a breach.”

• Privacy sells: Data protection delivers commercial advantage. 74% of respondents believe organisations that properly apply data protection laws will attract new customers.

• Regulations and policies present barriers to technology acquisition and investment: Approximately two-thirds of respondents say that GDPR (66%), U.S. policies (63%) and Brexit (63%) either already have or will impact their organisation’s technology acquisition investments, while approximately 20% don’t yet know how these issues will impact their spending. More specifically, 51% of all respondents say their organisation is being held back from technology investment because of external data protection regulations.

• Public opinion key to data decision-making: 83% of organisations take public sentiment towards data privacy into account when making data residency decisions.

>See also: Is GDPR still a threat to post-Brexit data protection?

• Organisations take 11 days on average to report a breach.

• Organisations put faith in cloud service providers: Eight in 10 respondents organisations are planning, at least in part, to leverage their cloud service provider to help achieve data protection compliance.

• Most organisations are ‘unsure’ of where their data is stored: Only 47% of organisations know where their data is stored at all times. The majority are unsure, at least some of the time.

• Only 2% of management really understand the laws that apply to their organisations: While a majority of respondents (54%) believe their organisation has a “complete understanding” of the data protection regulations that apply to them, just two percent of senior decision-makers know all the clauses of regulations that apply to their organisations.

>See also: The era of increased data protection rules

Overall, the report reveals conflicting beliefs about data protection regulations. While global events and a tightening of data protection rules gives senior decision-makers pause when determining their company’s technology investment, most organisations look to store their data in those countries with the most stringent data protection policies.

Clearly, there is recognition that, while businesses might not like strict compliance laws, they are beneficial to both customers and a company’s bottom line, even providing a competitive advantage in some cases. Moving forward, increased awareness and understanding about a company’s data assets will lead to better usage and protection.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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