Editorial

British SMEs: paralysed in the GDPR headlights?

A shocking survey by the Federation of Small Businesses points to a woeful lack of preparedness for sweeping data regulations now less than three months from implementation

Posted 28 February 2018 by

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) surveyed its members about what they know about the imminent (May 25th) introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) into UK law.

And the results aren’t pretty.

The membership group for smaller companies found that 33% of small businesses have not even started preparing, 35% are in the early stages and only eight have completed their preparations.

A number of firms are unaware of what they must do, other research has indicated.

In response, the organisation has just launched a campaign – supported by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), urging small businesses to prepare for GDPR.

“GDPR is the biggest shake-up in data protection to date and many small businesses will be concerned that the changes will be too much to handle,” pointed out the group’s chair, Mike Cherry.

“It’s clear that a large part of the small business community is still unaware of the steps that they need to take to comply and may be left playing catch-up.”

Small companies in the arts and entertainment and hospitality sectors are the least prepared, while financial firms are at the other end of the scale, the research found.

Speaking for the UK’s data privacy watchdog, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham pointed out that, “For those organisations that are starting to prepare, more than half (52%) said they will come to the ICO for advice.

“The report tells us that many small and medium sized organisations are preparing for the new data protection laws but some still have to make a start,” she added.

Dunham stated that her organisation’s website offers a number of ways in which organisations of all sizes and all sectors can self-serve to get the help they need, adding that, “We will study the survey findings carefully to see if we can improve the help we offer [and] we also know that many representative bodies and sector associations are also providing excellent GDPR advice and support for their members.”

The FSB sees it as its mission to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions.