Close to one quarter of Irish firms would be forced to pull down their shutters if handed fines for non-compliance to the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon has stated that her office will use their power, under the impending GDPR, to issue fines of up to €20m or 4pc of a company's annual turnover.
According to the results of a recent study commissioned by DataSolutions, 23pc of businesses here said they would be forced to close if found to be non compliant and subject to these financial penalties.
Under the GDPR, all companies and organisations will have to adopt stringent procedures when it comes to collecting, protecting, and storing that data belonging to EU citizens.
An additional 10pc of those surveyed said that their firm would have to lay off several employees if found liable to GDPR fines, while a further 18pc said they would continue to trade, but at a seriously reduced rate.
Security specialist at DataSolutions David Keating said that the survey results highlight how the changing information security environment is having a direct effect on Irish organisations.
"GDPR fines could have a huge impact on companies, with a significant number of those unable to pay the amounts required being forced to cease trading," he said.
"To avoid fines and safeguard their futures, Irish businesses need to make achieving compliance one of their top priorities.
"As well as this, simple enhancements such as implementing two-factor authentication can dramatically improve an organisations information security standing. It’s time for organisations to realise that cybercriminals are incredibly sophisticated, and to do everything they can to stay one step ahead," he said.
Despite the potentially debilitating repercussions of GDPR fines, one fifth of firms said that GDPR compliance is currently not a priority.
However, some 34pc said they have made provisions in their annual budget to invest in changes to adhere with the new rules.
Meanwhile, Ward Solutions have launched a new GDPR consultancy service aimed to help Irish businesses cope with the new data protection rules coming into force.
Ahead of the new regulation, which comes into effect across the EU from May 25 next, the IT security firm has invested €300,000 in staff training, accreditation and new hires to make this new service available.
According to the information security provider, a dedicated team of fifteen consultants will solely work on helping organisations in Ireland comply with the incoming General Data Protection Regulation.