A new report shows that 88% of Irish businesses are confident they have correctly interpreted their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) obligations.

84% of organisations also said they are satisfied that they are materially compliant with GDPR, the report from Mazars and McCann FitzGerald reveals.

This is the third report on the awareness and understanding of Irish business for the GDPR and it marks the first report since GDPR's actual introduction in May.

The report also found that while 68% of businesses found it challenging to put the necessary GDPR compliance structures in place, there is also a shared belief that its introduction has been a positive development for society.

82% of businesses surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that GDPR has been beneficial for individuals. 

But gearing up for and implementing GDPR compliance was a costly exercise with 61% of businesses admitting that costs were either a little or a lot more than expected. 

58% of businesses calculated that internal and external GDPR-related costs to date such as IT, audit, legal and training, were between €50,000 and €250,000.

Paul Lavery, Partner and Head of Technology & Innovation, McCann FitzGerald, said an interesting aspect of the research is the air of confidence among organisations of their understanding of GDPR.

"Nobody said the road to GDPR compliance would be easy but most organisations have found it to be a worthwhile, albeit, at times painful, exercise in terms of information governance, something they may not have done otherwise," he added.

Liam McKenna, Partner with Mazars, said that although a baseline level of compliance has been achieved, organisations are continuing to develop so as to manage data protection risks. 

"It is crucial that businesses are in a position to meet their growing needs and adapt to changes in the external environment that will impact their business, for example the ongoing emergence of new technologies and Brexit," he added.