Hundreds of Norfolk businesses meet to discuss the subject that could be bigger than Brexit (this year, at least)

Is your business ready for GDPR? Picture: Sonya Duncan.

Is your business ready for GDPR? Picture: Sonya Duncan. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

An audience of more than 350 companies will gather next week to discuss potentially the biggest change affecting business this year.

The GDPR Conference, hosted by Norfolk Chamber, will examine the way in which the General Data Protection Regulations will change how firms have to behave when handling people's private information.

Experts will look at the regulations from different perspectives including legal, marketing, IT and data protection, and explain what it means for businesses communicate with customers.

The speakers aim to focus on the positive side of the regulations, rather than the harsh penalties for breaching them.

The event will be held at the Space in Roundtree Way, Norwich, on Tuesday, and run from 9am until 12.30pm.

Chris Sargisson, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber, said: 'As the regulations will affect any business holding personal data on customers or employees, it is important Norfolk business members have the opportunity to not let all the information overwhelm them and this event should encapsulate what it all means, and the impact it will have.

'The conference will outline the key changes the act will have, including the types of data that will need protecting and share insight into ways to ensure compliance and build a strong data protection culture, both externally and internally.'

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Talks will be delivered by Alex Saunders, a solicitor from Leathes Prior, Tom Parsley, commercial director at digital marketing firm Selesti, John Gostling, the managing director of Breakwater IT, and Darren Chapman, a cyber security consultant and director of CyberScale.

As well as talks from specialists, the conference will include an exhibition and workshops to show businesses the practical changes they will have to make from May 25, when the regulations come into force.

GDPR changes the way companies can use personal data from their customers, and gives people more control over what can be done. The fines for breaking the rules can be up to 4% of a company's turnover or 20m euros.

The regulations apply to any company handling data belonging to EU citizens - so will continue to apply to UK firms even after Brexit.