America First: U.S. Firms Are Best Prepared For GDPR

More than a third of U.S. marketers are unprepared for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But European companies are in even worse shape, according to a study by Thales, a cybersecurity company.  

Thirty-five percent of U.S. executives polled, 44% of German respondents, and 38% of UK respondents don’t think they will be ready by May 2018, 

And U.S. companies are the most optimistic, with 53% saying that GDPR will have no effect on their business operations compared to 38% in Germany and 37% in the U.S.

But this does not mean that American brand makers believe the regulation will work. Almost half believe there will be more data breaches as a result of GDPR. And many are concerned their firms will be affected — an apprehension that is widely shared overseas.  

In a slightly contradictory finding, 57% overall believe that GDPR compliance will increase the red tape and complexity in their businesses. UK firms are the most concerned about this (63%), versus 56% in the U.S. and 49% in Germany.



And almost half expect GDPR to hinder their innovation. This includes 49% in the UK, 47% in Germany and 45% in the U.S.

More modest percentages of respondents believe that GDPR will hurt their relationships with international partners —21% in the UK, 15% in Germany and 18% in the U.S.

That said, GDPR only affects U.S. companies with European customers. You can't even process data on them without their permission. 

But what do consumers think?

The survey only covered the UK and Germany. But there is reason for concern if those nations are typical.

For example, half of the UK consumers do not trust anyone to protect their personal information. So do over a third of German respondents.

And high percentages in both countries believe that their cyber criminals are selling their personal data online — 70% in the UK and 80% in Germany.

In addition, 49% in the UK feel that businesses don’t care about their digital privacy, compared with 45% in Germany.

At the same time, only around 20% in both countries trust financial installations with their information. And 23% in the UK and 32% in Germany have faith in healthcare providers. This is “worth noting,” given the plans to digitize healthcare records in both countries.

Summing up, only around half of all consumers believe their privacy has improved in the last five years. 

But here’s the good news for GDPR advocates: 76% in the UK and 83% in Germany believe the regulation will improve their online privacy.

So get ready.

Thales surveyed 2,000 consumers in the UK and Germany, and 1,500 C-level executives and the U.S., UK and Germany. 

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