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Varonis Comment on GDPR Anniversary

May 2021 by Matt Lock, Technical Director at Varonis

Following the third anniversary of GDPR, Matt Lock, technical director at Varonis, offers the following comment:

“The GDPR changed the way that companies collect and manage personal data forever. After a relatively slow start, it’s starting to bite hard.

In the past year, the number of fines has increased by more than one-third, amounting to a total of 158.5 million ($191.5 million). Google faced the biggest fine in GDPR history and was stung for €50 million ($56.6 million) following an appeal hearing in March 2020.

Enforcement of the GDPR took a while to ramp up, with data protection bodies like Britain’s ICO putting investigations on hold during the pandemic. But we’re now seeing increased enforcement action, which should remind organisations of their duties to keep data safe.

The past year has been something of a Wild West for data protection. When staff were sent home to work armed with a laptop and various collaboration tools, data security was often treated as secondary to convenience. This is an unsustainable situation and can lead to dangerous overexposure. Organisations must remember that there are consequences to making mistakes with data.

Expensive slip-ups are very easy to make, particularly in an era where sensitive data is stored in the cloud and accessible via vast numbers of endpoints in insecure settings.

The birthday of the GDPR will not be a happy occasion for organisations that fail to treat data carefully.”

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