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Is it time for businesses to put data security fears to rest?

GDPR has been at the forefront of business leaders’ minds in 2018 and it has brought the issue of data security to the top of their agendas.

As well as updating data protection laws, the EU-enforced directive looks to establish a clear structure of compliance and protocols, which is all important in the advancing technological age.

As data security, technology and law experts reiterated time and time again in the run-up to GDPR implementation, the changes are not to be feared, but to be embraced.

But there is no denying that businesses have been burdened by the question of what the data protection changes mean for the future of their companies.

Post-GDPR Europe

Webfleet’ latest research highlighted how stringent data privacy rules, and uncertainty over compliance, have impacted European business leaders – culminating in a mistrust of the Internet of Things, emerging technologies and technology providers.

Of the 1,400 business managers surveyed, 68 per cent said their company made changes to their data security/privacy processes to comply with GDPR.  This was the case for 60 per cent of SMEs and 80 per cent of large corporates.

Almost half (46 per cent) of respondents said that the threat of a data security breach made their company reticent to invest in new technology systems.

The UK was the least reserved about adopting new technologies due to data security fears (37 per cent) and Poland was the wariest (57 per cent).

The research also revealed that SMEs were not as concerned as large corporates about new technologies exposing them to additional data breach risks (42 vs 51 per cent).

It is understandable that businesses, particularly fleet companies, who rely heavily on the use and exchange of data, have security and privacy concerns, particularly post-GDPR.

Fleet operators and their supply chain can overcome this by ensuring they have the appropriate infrastructure, procedures and culture in place to avoid infringements.

Given the high prevalence of risk, the first step a company could take is to conduct a full risk assessment, which helps to develop a detailed picture of the various links in the supply chain where data is exchanged and identify potential sources of breaches.

Steps can then be taken to address each link and help ensure the appropriate steps are taken to mitigate and eliminate risk where possible.

For tips on developing an action plan for your fleet, see our whitepaper.

The Internet of Things

The research also revealed that leaders are trepidatious about the ever-more ‘connected’ world and the implications this might have on their business.

More than half (55 per cent) said they fear that the increasing importance of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the workplace puts their business at greater risk of data security breaches.

Again, the UK was the least concerned (40 per cent), whilst Poland and Spain were the most uneasy (66 per cent).

This fear extended to the technology providers themselves.

Almost six in ten (58 per cent) of leaders believed that technology providers are not doing enough to ensure the security of data.

This feeling was highest amongst Polish leaders (69 per cent) – with a 22 per cent disparity between the most and least concerned (Netherlands, 47 per cent).

Fleet operators need to be confident that their telematics provider is helping them fulfil their privacy obligations and helping them stay on the right side of the law.

To establish this, the business need to ask the provider a number of important questions, such as what types of data they store, where they are stored, and for how long.

Fleet operators should also be asking if customers have control over how long data is stored, if their system enables personal data to be deleted, if customer data is made available to third parties, and if drivers are able to protect their privacy when making private journeys.

Complacency not an option

Despite the apparent reluctance to embrace technological changed, businesses acknowledge that, if they don’t, they will be left on the backfoot when it comes to their competitors.

Two thirds (66 per cent) of respondents believed that businesses that fail to embrace digitalised processes and the Internet of Things are at a greater risk of going out of business.

This sentiment was strongest in Spain (81 per cent), Poland (79 per cent), and Italy (77 per cent) and weakest in the UK (49 per cent).

It is clear from these findings that business leaders are keenly aware that complacency is not an option when it comes to both technological change, connectivity and data security compliance.

The rate of change and development in the technological world is exponential – and this is a key reason why new and more robust data security legislation has been imposed.

Businesses should dedicate time to finding the most appropriate supplier to meet their business objectives and steer them in the right direction when it comes to future investment and proactive data security management.

Webfleet has been working to the GDPR requirements since 2012, so the regulation has been a major consideration when designing the solutions it provides to customers, meaning fleet operators rest assure their data is in safe hands.

For top tips on ensuring your fleet business is complaint with the new data protection laws, and to learn how Webfleet Telematics can help you meet your GDPR obligations, see our guide.

Beverley Wise
As Webfleet Regional Director UKI for Bridgestone Mobility Solutions, Beverley Wise has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, primarily within the leasing sector. She firmly believes that being a decisive leader is key to delivering great success. She likes to innovate with her mantra of "Ask for forgiveness, not permission," helping to move businesses forward. She has a strong work ethic and strives to be the best she can be, which she likes to instil into teams she manages, being fair but firm with a high degree of empathy. Beverley has been with Webfleet overseeing UKI sales for six years, where she has seen several changes. She is passionate about the future of the automotive industry, believing that the transition to electric or alternative-fuelled vehicles is a real game changer.

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