New research released to mark the upcoming Data Summit highlights that while data will play an increasingly important role in the growth and development of Irish businesses, a majority are unaware of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is due to come into effect from the 25th May 2018.

The findings of the business survey, carried out iReach on behalf of the Department of the Taoiseach and the Government Data Forum, provide a clear and strong message that the business community is both conscious of the ever-expanding role of data and willing to harness the benefits of technological innovation.

  • 72% of respondents believe data will play an important or very important role in the development of their business model going forward;
  • Half of businesses think data will allow their business to run more efficiently; and,
  • 64% believing Big Data will allow them to enhance their customer experience, increasing to 76% among medium and large enterprises.

However, despite a strong recognition of Ireland’s data-driven future in a world of total connectivity, the survey reveals a lack of awareness amongst businesses of the new data protection rights and responsibilities enshrined in the GDPR. In particular, this is reflected in the case of companies’ unintended storage of CCTV footage, where many businesses appear not to have an associated privacy policy in place.

  • 66% of businesses are unaware of the specific enhancements in data protection obligations imposed by the GDPR;
  • 47% of respondents to the survey are unsure where the data protection responsibilities lie within their respective companies; and,
  • 62% are either unsure how long their business stores CCTV footage or have no related privacy policy in place.

Commenting on the results of the research, the Minister of State for European Affairs, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Dara Murphy TD, said: “The results of the research released today are a strong indicator that Irish business is well placed to embrace the opportunities of Ireland’s data-driven future. This will only but strengthen Ireland’s position as the Data and Digital Capital of Europe.”

Minister Murphy then added: “Although some businesses have yet to consider the GDPR, this game-changing piece of legislation cannot be ignored. By hosting ‘how-to’ sessions with officials from the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, officials from our Department of Justice and representatives of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), the Data Summit will increase preparedness for the implementation GDPR and ensure businesses are more aware of how they manage and protect data.”