£1.8 million in fines handed out to companies who failed to safeguard personal data…
A total of 68 warnings have been issued to firms in the UK by the information Commissioner’s office (ICO) relating to how private information is stored and accessed. This is an increase of 2% on last year.
The number of fines issued by the ICO has also increased to such an extent that over the last 12 months that more than double the amount of fines have been imposed on British companies. 15 fines were handed out in 2011-12 at a cost of £1.8 million compared to the previous season during which six fines were handed out worth £431,000.
Security experts have cautioned that smaller businesses should implement the necessary data protection measures in order to store information in a secure manner. With the trend towards more and more information being stored online there comes the greater risks associated with storing this information responsibly and the ICO are cracking down on any companies who fail to take these responsibilities seriously.
Philip White, chief executive at Syscap said: “It’s clear that the ICO is starting to take a much more proactive stance in penalising data lapses, so this is something that business owners need to take very seriously.”
He added: “With almost all data now stored electronically, many organisations put safeguards in place to ensure that sensitive data is kept secure. You
“Budgets have been stretched since the recession, so upgrading old or out-of-date IT equipment has been put on the back-burner for some time now. This has left some old or redundant systems open to data lapses.”
Some recent examples of companies who didn’t take the appropriate action include Torbay Care Trust, a company that was hit with £175,000 fine last month after personal details about their staff of 1400 was published on their website. Another recent case was the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust which was fined £225,000 for failing to safeguard private sensitive data. Brighton and Sussex University hospitals NHS Trust was also guilty of letting highly sensitive personal information about their patients into the public domain and were fined £325,000.
The seriousness of the issue and the increase in the amount of companies holding private information has led to the publication of a new guide from the ICO on how small businesses can deal with issues of data security and data
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