People around the world are worried about the security of their personal data, with the big companies, be they internet giants like Google and Facebook or supermarkets like Tesco (through Clubcard) rushing to show they are not abusing their power when it comes to voluminous data they have collected from us.
But data privacy and security affect everyone. There are reports in the news this week that the medical records of Michael Schumacher, the former Formula 1 World champion, have been stolen and offered to the press for sale. Schumacher suffered major head injuries following a skiing accident in late December 2013 and spent much of the next 6 months in a coma before waking up.
What are the duties that businesses have towards data protection? In the UK there is the Data Protection Act 1999 which provides various limits and safeguards to personal data.
The implications of data breaches include financial losses, reputational damage and possibly even regulatory/statutory penalties.
How can businesses protect the data they hold? The preventions include some very basic measures such as knowing who is entering the business premises, securing the premises when not staffed, using strong passwords to protect electronic data and changing them regularly.
Some simple measures like this could be all it takes to keep the data of you and your staff and customers safe.
Jonathan Cohen – Audit Senior
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Westbury Accountants and Business Advisors is an accountancy practice based in London. Westbury have been providing Accounting and Tax solutions to small and medium sized businesses since 1936. Talk to the team at Westbury on 0207 253 7272 or visit http://www.westbury.co.uk.