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Data Protection…what’s the big deal?!

The words ‘data protection’ tend to provoke two types of reactions in business owners: abject fear or unconcerned apathy.

Whatever camp you find yourself in, we’d like to impart a few nuggets of wisdom to ensure you’re doing things by the book. So if you’re hiding in the corner hoping it will just go away or are so uninterested you’ve put it on the back burner, listen up!

Before we outline the reasons why data protection should be top of the agenda, we’d like to give you a head’s up on what’s in store. With our current Data Protection Act nearly 20 years old, you won’t be surprised to hear that it’s due to be updated in 2018. The new General Data Protection Regulation will affect any company in the world that deals with the personal data of EU citizens, and if you fail to comply, the punishments are pretty severe…

If you want to know what fate could befall you, read on!

For now, here are just some of the reasons why data protection should be given the time of day…

Consumer Confidence

The general public have never been more savvy. They’re clued up on their privacy rights and thanks to the publication of numerous high-profile cases in which personal information has been leaked, lost, stolen or hacked, customers are (understandably!) on their guard. They expect their personal information to be kept secure and, if it’s not, are likely to complain to the ICO. Then there’s reputation-wrecking word-of-mouth; get it wrong, and your once loyal customers are free to tell everyone about their bad experience.

Name and Shame

Once upon a time villains were put in the stocks to be humiliated by the public. Nowadays, the punishment is digital. When the ICO find that a business has failed to comply with the data protection law they publish details of the breach on their website for the world to see. And if the media get hold of it, things can get pretty messy.

Sanctions

On top of being named and shamed, you’ve got some hefty punishments to contend with. Currently, the ICO can impose fines of up to £500,000, but the new General Data Protection Regulation could increase the maximum penalty to the equivalent of 20 million Euros or 4% of turnover, whichever is higher. You may even find yourself behind bars. Trust us, it’s really not worth it.

So there you have it: whatever your opinion on data protection, if you fail to comply then at best your reputation will be marred, at worst you’ll be barred.  Our advice? Read up on the latest legislation and obey, obey, obey!

Blog Credit: Thanks to our colleagues at South Coast Data Protection Consultants for their help with the blog content.

For help & advice on managing Data Protection in your business, call or email us, we can help.

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