The national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, Mike Cherry, has stated that the majority of smaller firms were still working on their compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulation.
GDPR was introduced last Friday, May 25, and has wide-ranging impacts on how private data is to be managed, However, many smaller firms remain unprepared in the face of heavy penalties and sanctions for non-compliance.
The new EU legislation was formulated to give people in the EU new powers to access and control their personal data, as well as giving regulators increased power to apply fines to firms who do no manage private data appropriately.
Cherry said: “GDPR is here and the likelihood is that many of the UK’s 5.7 million smaller businesses will not be compliant.”
He went on to say: “It is concerning that the burden and scale of the reforms have proven too much to handle for some of these businesses and there is now a real need for support among the small business community. It is imperative that the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) initially deals with non-compliance in a light touch manner as opposed to slapping small firms with fines. Small businesses must see the ICO as a safe space where they can go for advice and help in making the changes necessary to be compliant.”
The ICO has advised companies that it will not be in a hurry to apply massive penalties immediately following the introduction of GDPR. Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said this week that “although the ICO will be able to impose much larger fines – this law is not about fines. It’s about putting the consumer and citizen first”.
Last Thursday, just one day before the introduction of the new legislation the ICO reported that sections of its website were crashing due to the demand from users visiting with GDPR-related questions.
The ICO tweeted “We are experiencing unprecedented demand for our payment services as we approach the introduction of the GDPR, which is causing our online service to run more slowly than usual. You may contact us at a later date if you experience any delays using our online payment services.”