The Information Commissioner's Office is to launch a dedicated helpline aimed at small businesses that have questions about new data protection laws.
The phone service is one of several resources provided by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for businesses getting ready for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on 25 May 2018.
The new service will go live on 1 November 2017 and will be based around the ICO's existing public helpline, which handled around 190,000 calls last year.
At the same time, the ICO has announced plans to simplify its 12 steps to take now graphic in response to calls from small and micro-businesses for more targeted information on GDPR. This tool is already the most downloaded document on the ICO website.
The ICO is also revising its SME toolkit and creating a GDPR checklist that will allow businesses to identify gaps in their own preparation for the new law.
Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: "When it comes to data protection, surveys show [SMEs] tend to be less well prepared. The businesses may be small but they still hold important personal information and the need to gain the trust of their customers is just as real.
"We know that most businesses want to get things right but often struggle to find the key steps to get started. They also have less time and money to invest in getting it right. They may not have compliance teams or data protection officers or access to legal advice."
By the end of the year, the ICO will publish a new Guide to GDPR. It expands the content of the current overview to make it a comprehensive guide along the same lines as the current Guide to Data Protection.
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