EU’s data privacy regulations put the pressure on IT

European Union authorities are requiring companies that handle EU citizens' data to comply with some of the strictest data privacy regulations in the world -- or pay a steep price.

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Most corporate acquisitions come with a fair share of complexities. But when Accuride acquired a majority stake in Italian truck wheel manufacturer Gianetti Ruote, the Indiana-based company never dreamed of the impact the deal would have on its IT activities. Since Accuride expanded into Europe late last year, its U.S. IT team has had to contend with everything from a stalled cloud strategy and decentralized systems to increases in hardware costs, licensing fees and IT head count.

Welcome to the European Union, where authorities are requiring companies that handle the data of EU citizens to comply with some of the strictest data privacy regulations in the world, or else suffer dire financial consequences.

"[The new regulations] have impacted our entire strategy for going into Europe and have added costs that we wouldn't normally have," says Paul Wright, CIO and vice president of IT at Accuride. "And that's only the beginning."

Gone is the 20-year-old Safe Harbour pact, invalidated in October 2015 for its inability to guarantee the fundamental rights of Europeans. In its place are sweeping and stringent agreements and legislative proposals including the EU-US Privacy Shield and the newly proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which includes penalties of up to 4% of a company's global revenues for failure to comply.

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