Keeping confidential business and client information secure is paramount in any business. It can be seriously damaging for a company to be in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998, not only financially (fines can reach up to £500,000 for those found to be in breach), but also for a business’s reputation.
It is important to be familiar with the Act, taking action and precautions to prevent your organisation for unwittingly breaking it. In order to avoid paying a substantial fine, losing or tarnishing a business or unwillingly allowing sensitive information to fall into the wrong hands, make sure you and your employees read up on the policies contained within the act and follow them accordingly.
Registering as a Data Controller
In the eyes of the law, possessing confidential information automatically grants you the title of a ‘data controller’, which must be announced to the Information Commissioner. Costing £35 with an annual renewal, this ensures that you are allowed to be in charge of this information, with the promise that it is discarded of in the correct way, both safely and securely.
The ‘data controller’ is responsible for the secure disposal of any paper documentation or office equipment containing sensitive data must be disposed of securely. Employing the services of a confidential waste disposal service such as Datashredders is one of the easiest and safest ways to do this, but you must be sure that they are official and registered to undertake such a task.
The Information Commissioner’s Office
Formed in 1984, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is a non-governmental body that reports directly to Parliament and is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. This independent regulatory office deals with the Data Protection Act 1998 as well as other laws concerning the use of data. Although not a government body, businesses must remember that is able to issue fines to organisations if they are proven to be in breach of the Data Protection Act. Even public sector organisations are liable for penalties, with the NHS and local councils taking hefty fines in recent years.
Businesses should therefore remember that it is not worth taking risks. The ICO can catch you out at any moment – for example, they may decide to investigate your company’s procedures or follow up on a complaint. Following the act closely prevents any penalties.
Stay in the Know
When running a business, it is important to keep up to date with the latest changes to official policies. New laws are often put in place thanks to the constant change in technology and new threats to data security. The increase in cyber-attacks puts a greater emphasis on protecting confidential information that is accessible on computers, tablet devices and any other technology connected to the internet. Therefore it is crucial to stay in the know of the latest changes to the ICO and Data Protection Act to keep that sensitive information confidential. A revision of EU data protection laws should be finalised by the end of 2015. With only two months left of the year, it is important you are made aware of what these new regulations entail. This could prevent your business and customers’ confidential data from being breached by new rules you have not yet read up on.
Shred That Data!
Every business should be removing any waste confidentially and securely. Whether it is information on the business itself or customers, simply throwing it out with the general rubbish collection is a flagrant and avoidable breach of the Data Protection Act – anyone would be able to tear into a bin bag and retrieve this information! Plenty of people have had their sensitive information used without their prior consent in this way, and this can be devastating for a business should this befall them.
There are several ways to dispose of your businesses confidential information, but you’ll have the greatest security if you choose Datashredders’ commercial shredding services. We can provide waste containers for all shredding, and there’s no need to separate different items or remove staples and binders. We’ll visit your premises and shred everything onsite in one of our mobile shredding trucks, or bring it back to our Peterborough headquarters to be fed into our AXO FATSO double shredding machine.
Stay Ahead and Avoid Prosecution
Keeping ahead of the Data Protection Act and satisfying the requirements checked by the Information Commissioner’s Office is crucial if you wish to run a successful business. Ensuring all private information on the business, customers and business dealings with other companies has a greater chance of staying confidential if a business keeps itself familiar with the changing rules and regulations set in the act.
Technology is ever-changing, and it is evident more than ever that data can easily be manipulated, stolen and used by an unapproved source. Keep all aspects of your company safe whilst avoiding a significant fine. Use the tips here and Datashredders’ commercial data shredding services to keep in line with the Data Protection Act and the ICO to prevent you and your business from being prosecuted.