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Organisations that fail to protect client information will face tough penalties

18 February, 2010

Fines as high as £500,000 will come into effect after 6th April for those failing to adequately protect personal information and prevent security breaches. This means not only keeping client data secure, but ensuring the transmission of data is secure.
The ICO (Information Commissioners Office) will be entitled to impose these heavy fines for serious breaches of the “Data Protection Act” where it is likely to cause damage or distress, either deliberately or negligently, and where the organization has failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it.

Charities and businesses are urgently advised to evaluate their policies and IT systems and ensure that they do not fall prey to this new penalty.  All organizations, particularly medical practices, accountants and solicitors producing or holding personal data will need to be exceptionally observant, and are urgently advised to assess their data protection systems and ensure that they are not investigated.

Mr. Christopher Graham, (Information Commissioner), released a press statement on the 12th January 2010, saying that when things go wrong, a security breach can cause real harm and great distress to thousands of people. These new penalties are designed to act as a deterrent and to promote compliance with the Data Protection Act.

There are numerous reports of high profile cases where laptops holding personal information have been lost, stolen or left in areas without sufficient protection. Data held on mobile devices such as USB memory sticks and laptops will be one of the areas that the ICO will be watching for and likely to be dealt with very harshly.

The ICO has clearly stated that in the future if data has not been sufficiently encrypted as per the Data Protection Act they will be taking the appropriate steps and imposing heavy fines.

If you require a secure extranet solution for client document management, visit www.docutiva.com.

For more information on the new rules, visit the ICO website.

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