Firms ‘waking up to importance of secure document storage’

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Britain’s businesses now have a near-complete awareness of their data security responsibilities, the ICO has stated.

Britain’s businesses are finally waking up to their data security responsibilities, it has been claimed.

According to the latest data released by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), around three in four UK firms now have a good awareness of their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act (DPA), including the need to tell them about any breaches or losses.

Illustrating this, the Cheshire-based watchdog has revealed that it has seen a 58 per cent rise in the number of breaches reported to its officials over the past 12 months.

Welcoming the findings, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said he is "encouraged that the private sector is waking up to its data protection responsibilities".

Furthermore, it is believed that nine in ten public sector bodies now know what is required of them under the DPA, with the vast majority of them agreeing that the legislation is a force for good.

At the same time, however, the latest figures also show that firms need to do more than ever to ensure that not only are their data security measures up-to-scratch – for example by making use offsite backup to guard against criminals – but also that they are seen to be sufficiently robust by their clients.

Indeed, the figures show that less than half of those members of the public polled feel that organisations process their data in a ‘fair and proper manner’.

As such, Mr Graham notes, businesses need to be aware that a serious data security breach would both land them with a fine of up to £500,000 and possibly damage their reputation beyond repair.

Back in the summer, the ICO called for more to be done to keep data used in the education system safe and secure, noting that the routine encryption of information used by schools would go a long way towards achieving this.

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