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The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation is one of the most ambitious undertakings to date to protect European consumer data and make accountable the companies that use or store consumer data for any reason.

While it further establishes ownership of one's own data as a right, GDPR also calls for companies to know where data is stored, how it has been or will be used, who has access to it, and why.

As such, many in Europe and the U.S. view GDPR, which will replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive when it takes effect May 25, as Europe's first true data breach protection measure — in part because it requires notification of any breach within 72 hours.

But for many, it's simply a complex and costly race to the deadline.