I’ll start my thoughts for 2018 with a brief review, as I repeatedly discover astonishing parallels to the Millennium Bug in regard to my number one topic, the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short. What are they?
1st point: There is a clear date. The bug’s ‘deadline day’ was 31 December 1999, and this time it is 25 May. From then on, the GDPR must be implemented, i.e. applied. However frequently one hears it, the statement that “The new EU GDPR comes into force on 25 May 2018” is nevertheless erroneous. It actually came “into force” back in May 2016! People always seem astonished by this fact. “What,” they say, “it’s already in force?” That’s when the real parallels begin: Many people in charge didn’t consciously realize that they would have to make adjustments until they picked up on reports in the media – some earlier, others later. So it’s almost a Millennium Bug déjà vu.
2nd point: Bustling activity and a tendency toward spontaneous and largely symbolic gestures will grow rapidly among those that did not wake up until the last minute, the closer we get to the decisive day. I would even venture the prediction that – just like they did at the end of 1999 – a large number of providers will tap their customers for a slice of their budgets in the first half of 2018, and that what they offer will be in no relation to the benefits that the customers acquire. If they can expect any benefits at all!
3rd point: Although the disasters were largely conspicuous in their absence on New Year’s Eve 1999, many of the companies that had investigated sensible countermeasures long before the end of the year – for instance by investing in sensible hardware and software updates – were in a far better position than their competitors, across all sectors.
And it is no different today.
At COMPAREX, we have advised our customers since the regulation came into force in 2016, and long before the word ‘new’ was added as a common prefix for May 2018. These companies – again across all sectors – may observe the anticipated activities with interest, but in completely relaxed frame of mind.
Nevertheless, for the reasons outlined above, the GDPR will be among the most important issues in 2018, across all sectors.