Netmetix - January 1, 2018

With just over 5 months until GDPR comes into full effect, if they haven’t already, it’s time for businesses to start reviewing their processes to ensure compliance, or risk facing hefty fines. Netmetix MD, Paul Blore, shares his thoughts on how cloud migration can help businesses ensure they meet the regulatory compliances, whilst providing affordable enterprise grade cloud security.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was designed to change the way that businesses approach data privacy in order to protect the personal data of all EU citizens. With such widespread reform, it’s no surprise that it is set to have a huge impact on UK businesses. Every modern industry has access to huge volumes of data that after 25th May 2018, must be stored, secured and managed in a way that is compliant with the new regulation. For a small business, this could be quite an overwhelming task.

For large organisations, whilst it is still a significant challenge, they are appropriately geared up to throw huge resources and hire dedicated staff to address the issue. But what about SMEs? The serious penalties at stake, including fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover, could bring smaller businesses to their knees if they are caught out by GDPR. So, how can SME’s approach the issue of GDPR compliance effectively without the huge resources of larger organisations?

The first step for any business should be to assess their current infrastructure. For those businesses without a heritage in digitalised systems, many view IT as a tactical decision, only considering a short-term approach to addressing it. The problem with this strategy is that systems can quickly become overly complex or outdated, making the issue of GDPR even tougher to overcome. So what can businesses do to change this?

The answer is to start looking at IT as a strategic decision. For a large proportion of organisations, IT is a significant element which likely plays a part across each department, so it makes sense to consider the best way to approach it in the long term. This is where cloud technology can help. Not only does it provide a business with a future-proof and scalable infrastructure, it can also provide an efficient way to prepare for GDPR.

Cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure also provide access to affordable enterprise grade security, allowing businesses to protect their data better than ever before. An experienced Managed Service Provider (MSP) is also best placed to advise on how businesses need to arrange their infrastructure in a way that will keep their data, and their customer’s data, compliant with the incoming regulations.

With the threat of such huge penalties, the consequences of failing to comply with GDPR would be felt that much harder by an SME, with narrower profit margins compared to an enterprise. According to the latest research from Aldermore, less than one in ten SME owners in the UK fully understand what GDPR actually means for their business or have taken the appropriate steps to prepare for it, which makes the situation even more worrying. Therefore, with the GDPR start date quickly approaching, it’s vital that SMEs review their processes and see that the cloud can offer a cost effective, fast track to compliance.