Innovation Martlesham conference offers insight into new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

From left, Nicky Daniels, head of Innovation Martlesham, Kitty Rosser, associate at Birketts, Wendy

From left, Nicky Daniels, head of Innovation Martlesham, Kitty Rosser, associate at Birketts, Wendy Thompson, UK senior client propositions manager at the British Standards Institution, Jane Bromle, chief systems architect at BT, and Andy Mills, founder of| Applied Risk Management, speakers at the GDPR event at Adastral Park. - Credit: Archant

More than 80 representatives from businesses across the East of England attended a major event at Adastral Park, Ipswich, to gain expert advice on planning for compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The event was hosted by Andy Mills, founder of ISO standards consultancy company Applied Risk Management, with the support of Innovation Martlesham and BT. It offered businesses insight into the new EU data protection legislation and how to plan for compliance when it comes into force in May 2018.

GDPR has been described as the most significant business legislation change in a generation and the biggest data protection reform in 20 years. What’s more, it has been reported that up to 97% of companies do not have a plan in place to become GDPR compliant.

Recognising this fact from his own work with businesses across the UK, Andy Mills, the founder of Applied Risk Management, put together the seminar, which was free to attend, to build greater awareness and understanding of GDPR.

Opening and closing the event, Andy outlined the impending regulation and the challenges facing businesses, as well as offering solutions for becoming compliant by the May 2018 deadline. A focus was given on implementing management systems for governance, risk and compliance ahead of the legislation change, and a series of top tips was presented for delegates to implement into their businesses straight away.

With Innovation Martlesham and BT supporting the event, Applied Risk Management was joined on the day by a team of guest speakers, each giving their own unique perspective on the regulation change.

Kitty Rosser, associate at Birketts Solicitors, presented an in-depth analysis of the new regulation, highlighting the potential penalties of non-compliance and offering legal advice.

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Wendy Thompson, UK senior client propositions manager at BSI, focused on the various ISO certifications and how these can help businesses to demonstrate that they have embedded best practice within their organisation. She also explored the training and data protection services available to support those businesses that are improving or implementing new management systems.

Offering examples of how companies are actively preparing for GDPR, BT, a global leader in telecommunication, and Wheatley, a growing Suffolk based SME that specialises in software solutions for the utility industry, offered further advice.

Highlighting the importance that should be placed on planning for compliance now, George Glass, chief systems architect for BT presented valuable insight into their innovative and technical approach – including systems and processes being used – to prepare for GDPR on a global scale.

Jane Bromley, marketing manager for Wheatley presented how the SME is preparing for the change. Jane talked through the processes involved in obtaining ISO certification, making highly efficient management systems part of the established culture within the company.

Visitors to the event joined networking sessions and the opportunity to ask the event speakers in-depth questions about the GDPR, as well as data protection and management systems in general.

The speaker presentations were held inside the impressive John Bray Lecture Theatre, part of BT’s global HQ for research and development.

Nicky Daniels, head of Innovation Martlesham said: “Innovation Martlesham (IM) was delighted to be co-hosting this event and supporting one of our own members, Applied Risk Management. As part of IM’s ethos of supporting all elements in a company’s success, this event enables IM to further extend our capacity of sharing knowledge among companies throughout the region.”

Underpinning the messages from each of the speakers was the importance of acting now to ensure compliance in May 2018. GDPR legislation changes will directly impact any organisation that holds personal or sensitive data, regardless of whether it is held digitally or physically. This includes full databases of contact names, addresses and personal information, through to simply holding a customer email address, name and phone number for business use.

To find out more about GDPR and the route to becoming compliant please email for a free top tips guide.