ICO NOW HAS THE POWER TO ISSUE MONETARY PENALTIES OF UP TO £500,000 FOR BREACHES OF THE DATA PROTECTION ACT...

 
April 2010 saw the introduction of new penalties for breaches of the Data Protection Act. Regulated and enforced by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the maximum fine for an organisation found to be in breach of the act rises from £5000 to a hefty £500,000.

This is worrying news for many businesses who may not have been alerted to this development. It remains to be seen as to whether the new rules will be fairly enforced by the ICO or if they will act as just a revenue generator for dwindling government coffers.

What is known is that with research carried out by an independent body, many companies are unaware of the rise in penalty charges and are failing to adequately cover themselves and their employees on the data security front.

With increasing frequency, the UKs national media outlets are reporting the finding of a “lost” device - be it disc, laptop or handheld device - containing valuable personal data. It is imperative that all employees be made fully aware of the financial risk that they may pose to an organisation if privileged access to personal data is left unguarded.

It is clear that the solution is to take stock of the defences and polices that your IT department already has in place for the protection of personal and customer data. It may be necessary to bolster these defences and to tighten up the control of who actually has access to what data within your organisation - the fewer people that are exposed, the less the risk of falling foul of the ICO and possible Data Protection Act breaches.

The new penalties that have taken effect from 6 April 2010, and others that are being introduced in the US, lead IT managers to need to understand the overall importance of a multi-layered approach to IT security within an organisation. Without this, data leaks may become even more prevalent and the financial strain imposed upon a guilty party could be disastrous.

Contact AIS now to find out how we can ensure you comply with the new ICO regulations.

For more information on ICO Data Protection and to download a guide to the new policy, click here