Businesses in Northern Ireland that process the data must prepare for the significant legal changes taking place next year, regardless of the situation around Brexit.
This was the key message from Dr. Ken McDonald, head of regions for the Information Commissioner, in a speech to the chief executives and chief accountants of public and private sector organizations at a breakfast briefing at a Europe hotel organized by The Management Accountants Collegiate Institute of Ireland (CIMA).
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect in May next year, and CIMA held the joint event with the heads of the Forum to highlight the challenges facing organizations.
CIMA Ireland chief Roger Acton said: "The forum aims to address the most difficult challenges facing leaders. This issue is at the top of the agenda of our members who have adopted to listen to the Dr. McDonald about.
"The new principle of accountability in GDPR requires controllers to be able to demonstrate compliance and risk assessments should begin now.
"With fines of up to 20 million pounds or 4% of worldwide turnover, the cost of not receiving the house is very high," he added.
Dr. McDonald has focused on the impact of reputation and potential economic harm from misconduct, requiring companies to now prepare to change with the help of the 12-step guide in the OIC GDPR that is available on their website.