Beyond GDPR: Data protection as a competitive advantage

A new McAfee report shows that 48 percent of organizations will migrate their data to a new location because of regulations like GDPR. A similar amount will migrate their data because of changing geopolitics or the approach to relevant policies in the United States.

beyond GDPR

Seventy percent of respondents believe the implementation of GDPR will make Europe a world leader in data protection; however, the United States remains the most popular data storage destination, preferred by nearly half of all organizations surveyed.

“It’s critical that businesses do everything they can to protect one of the world’s most valuable assets: data,” said Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and Fellow at McAfee. “The good news is that businesses are finding that stricter data protection regulations benefit both consumers and their bottom line. However, many have short-term barriers to overcome to become compliant, for example, to reduce the time it takes to report a breach.”

Key findings

Some key findings from the report include the following:

  • Privacy sells: Data protection delivers commercial advantage. Seventy-four percent of respondents believe organizations that properly apply data protection laws will attract new customers.
  • Regulations and policies present barriers to technology acquisition and investment: Approximately two-thirds of respondents say that GDPR (66 percent), U.S. policies (63 percent) and Brexit (63 percent) either already have or will impact their organization’s technology acquisition investments, while approximately 20 percent don’t yet know how these issues will impact their spending. More specifically, 51 percent of all respondents say their organization is being held back from technology investment because of external data protection regulations.
  • Public opinion key to data decision-making. Eighty-three percent of organizations take public sentiment towards data privacy into account when making data residency decisions.
  • Organizations take 11 days on average to report a breach.
  • Organizations put faith in cloud service providers. Eight in 10 respondents’ organizations are planning, at least in part, to leverage their cloud service provider’s responsibility to ensure data protection compliance.
  • Most organizations are ‘unsure’ of where their data is stored. Only forty-seven percent of organizations know where their data is stored at all times. The majority are unsure, at least some of the time.
  • Only two percent of management really understand the laws that apply to their organizations. While a majority of respondents (54 percent) believe their organization has a “complete understanding” of the data protection regulations that apply to them, just two percent of senior decision-makers know all the clauses of regulations that apply to their organizations.

beyond GDPR

Overall, the report reveals conflicting beliefs about data protection regulations. While global events and a tightening of data protection rules gives senior decision-makers pause when determining their company’s technology investment, most organizations look to store their data in those countries with the most stringent data protection policies.

Clearly, there is recognition that, while businesses might not like strict compliance laws, they are beneficial to both customers and a company’s bottom line, even providing a competitive advantage in some cases. Moving forward, increased awareness and understanding about a company’s data assets will lead to better usage and protection.