Why Data Protection Breaches Could Be More Costly Than Ever

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Breaches over data protection have always been costly, both to individuals and businesses. However, with new legislation from the Information Commissioner imposing harsher penalties for those caught breaching the Data Protection Act, it could become more costly than ever.

Ensuring that documents are destroyed and stored correctly is a key concern for any business. The problem is that businesses handle such a large amount of documentation that it can often be easier for them to find information about others than it is to find their own. In fact, as much as one third of an information manager’s working life is spent trying to retrieve data and information on their own business. With this in mind, it’s no wonder there are breaches.

For businesses, inadequate document storage can therefore be a hindrance both to their own operations and to their pockets. This is because if documents are not stored correctly then security breaches can occur, something which could incur a fine of £500,000 thanks to the Information Commissioner’s new, harsher legislation.

Effective Management

For any business the key to avoiding data breaches is effective management. This needs to occur in both the physical and electronic realm in order to ensure ultimate security of data.

Electronic data now forms a prominent part of business meaning that electronic document management needs to be implemented throughout all business departments and systems. A number of online threats can present themselves across a working day and unsecured electronic data could be accessed if adequate protective measures are not taken. Any breaches in data security will lead to hefty fines and a ruined company reputation – something which will negatively impact the future performance of the company.

In terms of physical document management, the most important thing businesses need to do is implement a simple but effective procedure for storing documents and data. If this is done then companies will be able to retrieve and/or destroy documents with ease. This will prevent breaches, facilitate the operation of their business and prevent them from being £500,000 out of pocket.

Recovery and Disposal

Businesses often unwittingly breach procedures by shredding documentation they should be keeping or incorrectly storing sensitive information. This means that an effective management strategy is only half the battle when it comes to protecting data. Document recovery, or data capture, and document disposal form the other half.

Making sure that there is an efficient disaster recovery procedure in place can therefore help businesses to protect themselves against potential breaches. An easy to manage storage system will allow documents to be retrieved quickly, making the recovery of data far easier. Document storage should always be secure and businesses should invest the necessary time in developing a thorough management system for sorting and storing documents.

Any documents which need to be disposed of should always be shredded to prevent safety breaches occurring. Businesses should consider using specialised shredding services as these will offer professional and reliable document disposal in line with the new legislation.