Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) research shows that over a third (33%) of small businesses have not yet started preparing for the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) while a further third (35%) are only in the early stages of preparations.
Only eight per cent of small businesses have completed their preparations. In light of the findings, FSB is launching a GDPR awareness raising campaign, dubbed 'BeDataReady' in the run up to the 25 May deadline.
A sector breakdown shows that hospitality and arts & entertainment firms are the least prepared. Over half of respondents in these industries have not yet started preparing for the changes. Small businesses in the financial services sector are the most prepared with 82 per cent of respondents having started or completed their GDPR preparations.
A full sector breakdown is included in the notes to editors.
Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: "FSB is in a unique position to reach small businesses and so we're going to step up efforts to help and support them get data ready, while continuing to make sure the Government implements the regulation in the fairest way for small firms.
"The GDPR is the biggest shake-up in data protection to date and many small businesses will be concerned that the changes will be too much to handle. It's clear that a large part of the small business community is still unaware of the steps that they need to take to comply and may be left playing catch-up."
The FSB campaign is being welcomed by UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, who said: "Research suggests the SME sector is less prepared than others for the changes. We know that many small businesses are keen to get it right, but with so much misinformation out there it's difficult for them to know what's right and what's not. It is therefore very welcome that FSB is running this campaign."