Data Security Feels the Heat

2010 has been the year when businesses and public bodies began to feel the heat as far as the issue of data security is concerned, according to Colin Tankard, Managing Director of data security firm, Digital Pathways.

Says Tankard, “All of a sudden this year the ICO – Information Commissioners Office - has come down hard on businesses and public bodies such as the NHS with the introduction of the levying of fines up to £500,000. High profile cases have included ACS Law, who lost data held on behalf of BSkyB, Yorkshire Building Society and Zurich Insurance PLC, where an unencrypted back up tape was lost. Not only were Zurich found to be in breach of the Data Protection Act by the ICO but they were fined some £2million by the FSA (Financial Services Association).

“This is the first time that loss of data has been given real credence and as a result public awareness of the issue has increased albeit still not quite in line with the US where, in 2010 alone, there have been 353 breaches, made public, of which 9,391,864 records were lost (source: Privacy Rights Clearing House).

“Data security is like insurance, businesses tend not to be concerned with it until they experience a high profile data loss or they are forced to look at it due to legislation. For example, the NHS – who have certainly ‘felt the heat’ this year over the loss of data records, are currently undergoing strict audit processes which include the management of data security.

“In general market conditions during 2010 have been slow. Ironically, we have had one of our most successful years as far as having clients choose our solutions for their business needs but Financial Directors and their boards continue to be cautious asking the question “when do we need to do this?” and deferring where possible.

“Going forward into 2011 we see the issue of data security remaining a high priority especially if compliance such as PCI for credit card protection or increased levels of fines from the ICO are further enforced. But see little change in terms of the releasing of finance to fund the appropriate solution.

“However, in terms of available technology data security solutions have significantly moved forward to the point now that they are totally transparent to any application or infrastructure. This means integration of strong data control is easily achieved, without the need to re-write applications or processes, which clearly saves considerable spend on re-developing business processes.

“One thing is for sure, the issue of data security is here to stay and no business or public body can pretend otherwise”.

Source: Joy Moon, PR Consultant, Digital Pathways