North West businesses must prepare for new data protection laws

Businesses in the North West have only a year to prepare for new data protection laws coming into effect.

As part of the new laws, businesses will have to be fully transparent about how they are using and safeguarding personal data and to be able to demonstrate accountability for their data processing activities.

But only 14% of Irish SMEs have begun to get ready, according to a new study.

The legislation will revolutionise the way businesses of all sizes obtain, process and store personal data and it also significant sanctioning powers – including very large fines – to the Data Protection Commissioner.

With this in mind, the Data Protection Commissioner has embarked on a significant information campaign to help companies, especially SMEs, prepare.

It has launched a new website which includes guidance on what the regulations will mean for them and how they can plan ahead.

It has also has produced a 12-step guide as well as a video and other downloadable materials and a number of meetings with industry and sector representatives will continue in the coming months to build awareness of the new law.