UK businesses embrace GDPR compliance, ready to reap the competitive advantage

3/4 of UK businesses believe GDPR will improve their competitiveness

With only ten days until the General Data Protection Regulation deadline on May 25th 2018, NetApp research uncovers an optimistic and data-savvy UK enterprise, with 75% of IT decision makers and CIOs saying the regulation could improve the competitiveness of their businesses. With 58%, smaller businesses (100-250 employees) are the least optimistic about the potential for a competitive boost following GDPR compliance, compared to 71% of bigger businesses (501+ employees). In contrast, medium-sized businesses (251-500 employees) are the most optimistic (90%).

  • Data is seen as business critical: The optimism is grounded with an overwhelming number of UK respondents (87%) believing that data is business critical. Bigger businesses (94%) and medium businesses (91%) are more likely to see data as business critical than their smaller counterparts. A quarter (26%) of respondents from these smaller businesses believe data is important, but not business critical.
  • Knowledge of where data resides is high: This understanding of the value of data is mirrored by companies’ high levels of confidence in knowing where their data is stored – a key requirement for GDPR compliance. Confidence is highest among medium-sized businesses (89%), compared to 83% of smaller and bigger businesses respectively. Overall, 84% of UK businesses are confident in knowing where some or all of their data is stored. However, only 44% of larger businesses were confident when it comes to knowing where all data is stored, while medium-sized (40%) and small business (38%) slightly fall behind.
  • Public cloud investments decline: In response to the need to know where data is stored, businesses are tweaking their cloud strategies in order to comply with GDPR. Medium businesses demonstrated the highest rate of reduction in publiccloud expenditure: 38% are considering scaling back, and 27% have already started scaling back – significantly higher than small (17% and 14%) and large businesses (17% and 19%). Medium-sized businesses were also the largest group of respondents that have already hired specific personnel with expertise in data protection (24% compared to 18% for small and 17% for larger businesses), indicating that they are taking tangible steps to ensure their businesses will be GDPR-ready for the deadline. Overall, 53% of UK businesses invest more resources into data compliance. 

Nick Thurlow, NetApp UK Director: “As the perception of the regulation shifts to one that embraces the competitive advantage, it is reassuring to see that businesses are taking the regulation seriously. Realising that data is not just important, but critical forces businesses to pay closer attention and to be absolutely certain of where their data is stored. Once they have tackled this key requirement for compliance, GDPR can provide a huge opportunity for them to increase their competitiveness. What this means is that the starting point for businesses needs to be a clear assessment of the value of their data and where it resides. When the path to GDPR compliance is clear, they can reap the benefits of increased customer trust, transparency and a more targeted way of engaging with their customers.”

NetApp’s survey was conducted in March 2018 by Opinion Matters amongst IT decision-makers (IT managers, CIOs and CTOs) across 227 UK-based business with 100+ employees.

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