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New research from TRUSTe published today sheds light on how aware companies are of the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the preparations they’re making.

Only half of businesses are aware of the pending EU regulation on data privacy – a concerning finding given that the GDPR implementation deadline is potentially just two years away. Of those aware of the GDPR, 73% agreed it was the most important change in data privacy regulation for 20 years and two thirds (65%) are starting to prepare even before the final law is agreed. Eighty-three percent had already allocated budget to address the changes, and 21% allocated a half million dollars or more.

The GDPR is due to be finalized by the end of 2015 and will introduce sweeping changes for all companies with EU customers. The GDPR places new obligation on any business that handles the data of EU citizens, no matter where the business is located.

The research report titled, “Preparing for the EU General Data Protection Regulation: Assessing Awareness, Readiness & Impact of the Proposed Changes in the U.S., UK, France & Germany,” delves into company attitudes towards the GDPR, exactly how prepared companies are for coming changes and how concerned companies are about the risk of enforcement.

“For many U.S. companies, the GDPR will require a complete restructuring of the way they currently collect, store and transfer personal data,” said TRUSTe CEO Chris Babel. “Despite over four years of high profile negotiations, half of companies are still unaware and there is a worrying chasm between those who are actively preparing and those blind to the changes ahead.”

The study was commissioned by TRUSTe, however the respondents were not aware that TRUSTe was the survey sponsor. The research was conducted in the U.S., UK, France and Germany using a representative sample of 202 professionals with knowledge of data privacy working at companies with 250 employees or more.

View the infographic and press release, and download the report here. At the end of the research report, readers will find a short quiz to test their knowledge of GDPR.

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