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UAE businesses don’t know what one-third of their data is: Veritas study

UAE businesses don’t know what one-third of their data is: Veritas study

UAE businesses could face fines as DIFC data protection law takes effect

UAE businesses are failing to manage their dark (unclassified) and Redundant, Obsolete or Trivial (ROT) data, a new report by Veritas says.

The survey by the data management software company reveals that 75 per cent of the data stored by the surveyed organisations in the UAE is dark and ROT – 33 per cent being dark and 42 per cent being ROT. Although a significant drop from last year’s 88 per cent, ROT data still increased by 1 per cent, rising to 42 per cent of an organisation’s stored data.

The report comes as the new Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Data Protection Law (DPL 2020), comes into effect.

Although set at the DIFC, DPL 2020 has a wide reach, applying to the processing of data by a controller or processor incorporated in the DIFC, regardless of whether the processing takes place in the DIFC. Businesses operating across Dubai will thus have to focus on having a data management strategy to ensure data compliance. Those who fall foul of DPL 2000 risk fines for non-compliance that range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Read: PwC Middle East’s new online platform to address data privacy compliance at DIFC

One of the main reasons for the limited progress of companies in the UAE towards understanding their data may be the seismic shift towards working from home. With organisations focused on ensuring employees are connected remotely, much of the efforts of IT departments went towards dealing with the shift. The UAE businesses surveyed also shared concerns about new compliance challenges stemming from a growth in employee shadow IT software. The report says 47 per cent of respondents believe employees working from home might have started using at least two new cloud-based software on their devices.

“The first step on the road to compliance with data regulations is knowing what data you have and where it is,” said Johnny Karam, regional vice president, veritas, Emerging Region.

“Without that insight, it’s practically impossible to be able to ensure that data is being stored, processed and deleted in line with the law. Our survey shows that whilst businesses have started on the journey understanding their data, they still have a long way to go.”

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