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In this issue, we discuss how UK businesses are putting their information security at risk through long-term storage of electronic devices containing confidential information.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that confidential information stored on electronic devices needs to be disposed of as thoroughly and securely as sensitive information recorded in paper form. With cyber security a growing concern and the ubiquity of electronic devices used by today’s mobile workforce, it’s simply good business sense to take into account confidential information stored electronically when considering your overall information security plan.
In Shred-it’s fourth annual information Security Tracker survey, we discovered that UK SMEs are putting the confidential information of their customers and employees at risk by not disposing correctly of redundant electronic devices containing confidential information. In fact, 32% of SMEs say they have never disposed these, while another 35% say they do so less than once a year! On top of this, our study also shows that 51% of SMEs do not have a cyber-security policy in place despite a number of high-profile security breaches this year in the UK.
Part of the problem could be that SMEs are lacking knowledge about what constitutes confidential information. Our survey found that 21% also believe they possess no documents that would cause their business harm if stolen, despite the vast array of commonly-held information that should be treated as confidential - from employee records to client invoices! When you think that only 46% of SMEs could correctly identify the potential financial penalty for breaching the Data Protection Act – it’s up to £500,000! – then there is definitely some cause for concern.
When it comes to larger companies, 35% of business leaders admitted that they disposed of electronically-stored information either less than once a year or never. However these companies were more likely to have a cyber-security policy in place (77%).
With all businesses facing significant damage to hard-earned reputation as well as financial penalties from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) of up to £500,000, it is absolutely critical to include electronically-stored confidential data in your information security polict. Regardless of your business’ sector, size or location, you need to recognise that you have a responsibility to safely dispose of confidential information held on electronic devices, such as laptops, mobile phones, hard drives and portable storage devices.
Three Simple Workplace Guidelines Designed to Safeguard Hard Drives:
What types of electronic media can be destroyed?
Are you doing enough?
To take control and properly manage your confidential data, keep the following suggestions in mind:
A 2014 survey of UK businesses carried out on behalf of the Department of Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) found that some 81% of large corporations and 60% of SMEs had a data breach in the last year therefore it’s clear than organisations need to prioritise information security by implementing protocols that help protect documents and hardware.
If your organization experiences a data breach, there are a few important steps that should be taken immediately:
Quick corrective measures are essential, but it is also critical for companies to take proactive steps to prevent further breaches from occurring.
Please visit the Shred-it Resource Centre for more information on successfully implementing an information security program in your organization. You can also stay informed with Shred-it on Facebook and LinkedIn or you can follow us on Twitter at @Shredit_UK
Fill out the form or call 0800 197 1164 to start protecting your business today!