The European regulation promises to radically reshape how companies handle and obtain personal data.
The European regulation promises to radically reshape how companies handle and obtain personal data.

FTSE 100 companies could be fined billions when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) digs its claws in. New research shows the massive fines that large companies can expect if they don't soon become compliant with incoming European regulation. The study warns that companies could be looking at fines of £5 billion.

Moreover, the research notes companies will likely be asked to transfer massive reservoirs of data between each other. The GDPR will hand power to consumers, by allowing them to decide on how their data is handled. The research states that “at least” 90 million gigabytes of data is to be taken back.

Conducted by Oliver Wyman, an international management consultancy, the research compiled 2015 figures from FTSE 100 companies to reach those astronomical numbers.

Fortunately for them, large companies tend to be better prepared for such heavy compliance burdens as the GDPR provides. Smaller companies struggle. Recent research from information security company, Shred-It, showed that 84 percent of small business owners in the UK were unaware of the GDPR.

The landmark piece of data protection regulation, which comes into effect in May next year, will change the landscape of infosecurity in Europe. It introduces an array of new measures for enterprises working within the EU to follow and those that don't comply will face fines far larger than what European data protection authorities currently hand out. The UK Information Commissioner's Office record £400,000 fine of TalkTalk last year may seem miniscule come 25 May 2018.

Those who don't comply will face fines that could vault as high as Є20 million or four percent of global turnover, whichever is higher.

That said, it appears as though businesses are beginning to recognise the central importance of information security. New research from global consultancy, DHR International, shows the skyrocketing of demand for CISOs, reflected in their ever-increasing salaries. Top level CISOs can expect to earn £878,000 annually in companies like those represented on the FTSE 100. Even in SMEs, salaries average out at £171,000.