• Businesses across Kent face a race to get ready for stringent new data protection regulations that come into effect next year – according to the results of a survey carried out by Brachers at an event on the topic today.

    New data protection legislation will implement the provisions of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and will come into effect from May 2018.

    But at a Brachers event in Maidstone today attended by over 80 businesses from around the region, less than half of respondents said that they have a plan and schedule in place to become compliant.

    The GDPR will apply to most organisations and has implications for the way marketing data, employee and other personal information is handled, stored and passed on. It significantly raises the bar in terms of the requirements placed on organisations and is arguably the biggest change to data protection rules for 20 years. There are maximum fines of up to €20 million (or 4% of turnover) for infringements.

    Catherine Daw, partner at Brachers who led a session at the event, said:

    With little over six months to go until the GDPR comes into effect, time is really starting to run down now. The worry is that if companies let it drift, they will come back after Christmas and suddenly find that they have limited time to become compliant.

    Work needs to start now, to map out what an organisation’s current data handling and storage processes are, what needs changing and how that will be done. The good news is that companies are starting to take necessary steps –we were at capacity for our event.

    Erol Huseyin, partner who also presented at the event, said:

    At Brachers, we can help organisations get ready for the regulations. From a commercial perspective, all organisations will need to review and update their data protection policies, data protection provisions in their contracts and in particular, put in place robust contractual arrangements with their data processors. For most organisations, getting compliant should not be hugely difficult – as long as they allow enough time and take a methodical and rigorous approach.

    This content is correct at time of publication

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