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UK businesses urged to prepare for GDPR data protection laws

(Image credit: Image Credit: StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay)

The government has warned British businesses and charities to make sure they are prepared for the new data protection laws set to be introduced as part of the GDPR.

With just four months to go until GDPR comes into force, new research has found that fewer than half of all businesses and charities are aware of new data protection laws, meaning they could be hit by major fines.

Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock urged UK organisations to make sure they are up to speed with the new regulations. 

“We are strengthening the UK’s data protection laws to make them fit for the digital age by giving people more control over their own data," he said.

“And as these figures show many organisations still need to act to make sure the personal data they hold is secure and they are prepared for our Data Protection Bill."

Across the sectors, businesses in the construction industry were found have the lowest awareness of the new rules, with only one in four aware of the upcoming changes. However more than a quarter of businesses and charities which had heard of the regulation had already made changes to their operations in preparation. 

Among those making changes, just under half of businesses, and just over one third of charities, made changes to cyber security practices, including creating or improving cyber security procedures, hiring new staff and installing or updating anti-virus software. 

Hancock added that there was "a wealth" of free help and guidance available for businesses from the Information Commissioner’s Office and the National Cyber Security Centre, and encouraged any organisation unsure of where they stand to take it up.

Michael Moore
Michael Moore is News and Features Editor working across both ITProPortal and TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a technology journalist for more than five years, including spells at one of the UK's leading national newspapers. He is interested in hearing about all the latest news and developments across the Business IT world, and how companies are using new technology to help push forward their work and make their customer's lives easier.