Beware the hidden dangers of data loss

South Yorkshire businesses are being warned of hidden pitfalls that could cost them thousands of pounds in fines as well as damaged reputations.

A Sheffield IT specialist says companies may be unaware of the dangers involved in not properly securing personal data and therefore at risk of breaking the law.

Charles Kavazy, of Sheffield-based independent chartered accountants and business advisers Hawsons, of Glossop Road, says the risks are underlined by a recent case where a local authority in London was fined £70,000 – even though their personal data was “lost” not by themselves, but by another local authority processing it on their behalf.

Hesaid: “This case shows the hidden dangers for businesses outsourcing the processing of data to third parties. The case also confirms that the owner of the data may still be fined for data loss even though it is the supplier and not the owner who loses the data. Businesses cannot ‘outsource’ the risk of data loss.”

He warns: “People think data loss won’t happen to them. But it does and in all kinds of ways they wouldn’t imagine. There are so many hidden dangers. It is incredibly easy to copy and access data. If you don’t know how to access data or don’t think it happens very often try doing an internet search for ‘free Word password cracker’. You will soon get an understanding of the risks.”

For more information, or a copy of Hawsons’ Information Security Guide, contact Charles on 0114 266 7141 or e-mail:ck@hawsons.co.uk