ICO data breach reports exceed 1000

Over 1000 data security breaches have been recorded by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) since its creation, causing the organisation to once more call for improved protection measures within both the public and private sectors.

The ICO’s David Smith said that data could be lost or stolen as the result of a variety of events, but that the real threat still lies with the potential for human error when involved in any kind of security procedure.

Mr Smith said that organisations would need to treat data security with a greater deal of respect, and that only with vigilance could future incidents be averted.

The ICO is pushing for the delivery of improved training programs so that staff are readily able to deal with data securely, as well as instilling into those in positions which involve frequent data handling a sense as to the value that personal information holds, not just for the individual, but for the business as a whole.

The ICO is keen for businesses to disclose any incidents of data loss or theft to the proper authorities, with the objective of building widespread employee understanding as how these procedures work and more importantly why they are essential.

The 1000 cases reported to the ICO include over 300 originating from within various sections of the NHS, making this the largest single contributor to the ICO’s workload. 288 reports from the private sector were recorded, although there are some who believe the real figure may be far higher as many incidents are likely to be going unreported.

Data encryption expert Chris McIntosh said that the ICO was right to encourage awareness in this field, but he also believes that significantly more effort is required if businesses and organisations are to minimise the risks they face on a daily basis.

Mr McIntosh believes a proactive approach to secure data storage that involves engaging staff as well as addressing any issues as they arise without blaming those in direct contact with the data will result in a far tighter, cohesive environment in data protection.

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