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4/12/2018
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Businesses Calculate Cost of GDPR as Deadline Looms

Surveys highlight the financial burden of GDPR as companies scramble to meet the May 25 deadline.

Businesses are under fire to achieve General Data Protection Regulation compliance ahead of the May 25 deadline, only 45 days away. As they do, new research highlights the steps they're taking to adhere to new regulations, how much work they have left, and what this wave of changes is costing them.

The bigger the enterprise, the more it's spending on GDPR, reports Netsparker. To learn how non-EU corporations are preparing for GDPR, the Web application security firm polled 302 C-level executives at US companies. Overall, they found, businesses are taking GDPR more seriously than PCI and HIPAA; 99% are "actively involved" in the process to become compliant.

It's an expensive process. Ten percent of Netsparker's respondents say they will spend more than $1 million to become GDPR compliant. Nearly 24% will spend between $100,000 and $1 million, 35.8% will spend from $50,000 to $100,000, and 20% will spend between $10,000 and $50,000.

Part of the cost stems from hiring GDPR professionals. About 63% of respondents have a dedicated team addressing compliance issues; however, 28% had to hire a third-party firm or service to help out. For many, GDPR has prompted reorganizations and new employees.

Nearly 57% of businesses have re-engineered their internal systems and procedures to achieve compliance, and 47.7% have re-engineered their internal security teams. Fifty-five percent have recruited new employees specifically to handle GDPR compliance. The number of people a company needs to achieve compliance correlates with the size of the business overall.

Most (82%) of companies surveyed have a data protection officer (DPO) on staff, and 77% plan to hire a replacement DPO before the May 25 deadline. Nearly 19% of businesses have hired more than 10 new employees, 36.8% have hired between 6 and 10, 31.5% have hired between 2 and 5.

The Cost of Compliance

The financial concerns around GDPR are not limited to preparing for the new regulations; companies are also worried about the consequences of noncompliance. Starting May 25, all organizations that handle personal data belonging to European citizens must be GDPR compliant or risk fines of up to $20 million or 4% of their annual revenue, whichever is higher.

To learn more about global awareness around business concerns, NetApp conducted a survey of 1,106 C-suite employees, CIOs, and IT managers in the US, UK, France, and Germany. All respondents are involved with IT buying decisions and represent companies of 100+ employees.

More than half of NetApp's respondents in the US (51.5%) and the UK (56%) believe noncompliance with GDPR could lead to reputational damage. Half of US respondents say it could lead to revenue loss. About 40% of respondents in both the US and the UK say the financial penalties of noncompliance could put their company's survival at stake.

Organizations are torn on the impact of GDPR's regulation fines. In Netsparker's survey, 54.3% of respondents say businesses will be more hesitant to report data breaches because of the fines. However, 53.6% say businesses will no longer hide data breaches as a result of GDPR.

More than two-thirds of survey respondents believe they will be fully compliant by the May 25 deadline, Netsparker reports. About half (49%) are 75% of the way through the process; another 37% are halfway there. Ten percent say they've only done 25% of the work.

NetApp, which polled a larger number of global respondents, had a range of responses on GDPR readiness. In the US, 23.6% of respondents have no concerns about meeting the GDPR deadline, and 39.7% are slightly concerned. In the UK, 25.9% have no concerns and 52.1% are slightly concerned. Comparatively fewer companies were extremely concerned about meeting the deadline, across the US and Europe.

However, it's worth noting that motivation is higher as May 25 quickly approaches. In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, it reports, levels of concern have decreased by 9% over the past 15 months. A separate survey from Scale Venture Partners found the two biggest drivers of security program changes in 2017 were high-profile breaches and the GDPR's May deadline.

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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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