Data Protection (Part 4) - Best Practice for Businesses

Whether you’re a small to medium enterprise or a large business, data protection is paramount; sales figures, customer details, financial information and other important data are not things you want compromised.

How could a data protection breach affect you? Firstly, your reputation will undoubtedly be ruined if personal information got out, either internal business details or client information. Secondly, failure to adhere to the Data Protection Act (1998) could land you in serious legal trouble, potentially ending your business. All businesses that keep any kind of information (digital or on paper) on living and identifiable people must comply with the Data Protection Act. The data must be lawfully obtained and processed for specified purposes, relevant but not excessive, accurate and up to date where necessary and kept secure.

Broadly, the Data Protection Act covers information such as name, address, date of birth, and any other information which is identifiable. It’s a legal requirement for all businesses under law, but it also makes good business sense. Keeping information about your customers safe will protect you from any claims for damages, and good handling of data can improve your businesses reputation.

Make sure all data is stored securely, and only allow people who need access to view and edit it. You should also encrypt all data, especially when sending it outside your business – we’ve written about it in detail in the past. Most importantly, though, is to not store important data where it can easily be obtained by third parties.