Following a violation of the Data Protection Act, the Information Commissionerís Office (ICO) has taken enforcement action against an NHS organisation for the eighth time since November 2008.
Enforcement action has been taken against Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust (PCT) for a breach of the Data Protection Act.
A computer containing personal sensitive information about patients was stolen from the premises of Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust. The building where the computer was stolen from did not have satisfactory security measures in place. The data controller had previously expressed concern over the absence of physical security at the PCT.
Hasting and Rother PCT is required to sign a formal undertaking by the Information Commissionerís Office, which will outline that all personal information will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act. In addition, Hasting and Rother PCT will have to ensure that the staff are well trained and all mobile devices and office equipment used to store and transmit personal information will be encrypted.
The computer stolen from the PCT building contained sensitive information on patients. To prevent incidents of cyber crimes such as identity theft or credit fraud, it is important to store such confidential information securely and properly protected. The best method of storing confidential information is by having a secure online data backup at a remote offsite server.
Incidents related to data loss and data breaches are probably not new considering the numerous cases that have made the news during the last year. However, due to the downturn, the number of data breaches has increased and many of these have been reported by commercial firms. A total of 99 data breaches were reported to the Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas in the three months before the year end.
Last year the Data Protection Act saw 376 data breaches of which commercial firms were accountable for 112 of those cases. In a statement made last week, Mr Thomas told various MPs that the fact that the ICO could not investigate private companies without their permission. However he was not the only person to express concern over the incidents.
Jonathan Bamford, assistant commissioner said that CEOs from the private sector must ensure that their companies are reducing the amount of personal data that is being collected. This is because as more information is gathered, the risk of keeping that information longer than needed and falling in the wrong hands is higher.
To avoid these things from happening, the importance of data backup has been emphasised a great deal, yet very few companies are taking heed of this issue. Correct data backup can help regain the trust of the public and provide a safe place for vital data. The best way to safeguard and protect data to is to have online data storage and online data backup facility.
Over the duration of one month, the Information Commissionerís Office has taken enforcement action on the third English NHS trust over data loss.
Brent Teaching Primary Care Trust has been reprimanded over the loss of 2 laptops that contained personal information of about 389 patients. The increase in data loss and the handling of sensitive data by the NHS using unencrypted devices is a growing concern for the Information Commissioner Office (ICO).
The two laptops were kept on the desk of a locked office, which is in breach of the security procedures followed by the Brent Teaching Primary Care Trust. Furthermore, the laptops contained sensitive information that was not encrypted.
According to the assistant Information Commissioner, Mick Gorrill, the ICO is concerned over the loss of data such as patientís personal information and the way that some NHS organisations are transferring sensitive data onto unencrypted laptops and other mobile devices.
Following the data loss, Brent Teaching Primary Care Trust has been required to sign an understanding that outlines that they will process personal data according with the Data Protection Act.
Last year, NHS Tayside and NHS Lanarkshire, were asked to comply with the Data Protection Act by signing an agreement.
To prevent such incidents of data loss and misuse of confidential personal information, it is best to have an online data backup provider that is secure and protected.
Since the data loss incident where HM Revenue and Customs admitted to losing information about 25 million child benefit records, about 100 organisations have reported data breaches. Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner revealed that data breaches were reported from three different sectors. Four were from charity and voluntary agencies, twenty eight from the private sector and 62 from the public sector.
While talking about the increasing number of data breaches, Thomas said that the figures were alarming and disappointing. He also said that these incidents were unacceptable and that banks, government and other organisations needed to be more careful while dealing with personal information about people. The reported data breaches included lost and stolen memory sticks, laptops and discs – all of which were unencrypted.
All through last year, the Information Commissioner kept requesting those handling vital information to use better information protection methods like online data backups and offsite data backups. These precautions ensure that all the data is encrypted and well protected so that no damage can take place should the information get lost or stolen. Online data backups are one of the best ways to ensure business continuity and can definitely assure customers and clients that their personal information is being kept safe and secure at all times.
In a statement made recently, the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw said that the Information Commissioner had been given new powers to fine those in any private company and Whitehall for losing personal confidential information. This step has been taken in an attempt to curb data loss incidents happening all over the UK.
The fine imposed on any individual who recklessly or deliberately loses data can amount to millions of pounds. The Information Commissioner added that the availability of so much confidential information can threaten privacy and security. The number of data loss incidents over the past year has been quite alarming and immediate steps are required to stop these.
It is surprising that companies and other agencies are still managing to misplace vital information about thousands of people when there are so many online and offsite data backup options available. If they are capable of using the best technology to run their business, why then can they not use technology to safeguard personal information?
Online data backup is the safest way to make sure that important information is protected from falling into the wrong hands. Online data backup serves as a disaster recovery solution in data loss events like those that have happened in the recent past.
Data loss incidents seem to be never ending with new ones springing up almost everyday. Whether these are due to negligence, irresponsibility or the plain fact that data is not stored properly, these incidents are serious and have to be stopped. The latest incident in data loss is a missing memory stick from the Leicester City Council.
Sheila Lock, the chief executive, asked for an investigation into the matter as it contained names, dates of birth, addresses and telephone numbers of about 80 children on it. She also said the incident was unacceptable and grave. In response to this Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner said that councils need to take effective steps to protect data and reduce incidents like this because only then can public trust be built.
In order to reduce the number of incidents of data loss, organisations that hold vital information need to invest in securing data through online data backups. Remote backups are a great way to ensuring that data is kept safe no matter what happens. Online data backups store and encrypt important information which can be regularly updated without any trouble. This can ensure that the same data is available at another location in case the originals get lost, damaged or stolen.