Disparate responsibility damages data security in Europe

A new report has found that businesses in the EU are failing to properly safeguard customer information due to a lack of cohesion in the implementation of security procedures relating to printing.

Printer firm Ricoh commissioned the investigation into common practices within businesses across the continent and found that less than half of all financial organisations have any kind of policy designed to restrict the transference of private information from a database to paper.

In the professional services sector the state of security is even worse, with just 43 per cent of organisations instigating proper preventative measures. The biggest potential for disaster exists in public sector organisations, of which only a third were found to have any kind of system for preventing sensitive data from leaking out in printed form.

Despite the somewhat bleak picture that the survey statistics present, 49 per cent of the businesspeople questioned recognised that data security did not just stop with electronic storage and portable device encryption.

Ricoh said that a lack of accountability was causing the majority of the issues in this area, with delegation and shared responsibility leading to a culture of negligence. The decentralisation has also meant that data is being used less efficiently and businesses are being hindered by having their productivity reduced.

Ricoh’s UK representative David Mills said that data management planning within businesses had to integrate physical as well as virtual documents. Mr Mills recommends that a unified approach is necessary to ensure that common data security issues do not have an impact on the wider operation of the business.

Mr Mills emphasised the importance of placing responsibility for the safety of customer data across multiple platforms and mediums with a single department or person. Highly sensitive data that slips into the wrong hands can be embarrassing for everyone involved, but if the incentive for proper security rests in the hands of a small group, this will be far less likely to occur.

Data security continues to touch an international nerve across public and private sector organisations and businesses looking to move forward are being urged to work towards internal and external unity.

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