There has been a 1000% increase in the loss of personal data in the last 5 years according to the ICO, leading to increasingly hefty fines for the organisations involved. Instances like these are not surprising when the UK has the highest internet usage in Europe, according to OFCOM. The average cost to s small business of such a breach is anything from £15 – 30,000, and SMEs are increasingly targeted by hackers due to their security measures being far less robust than those routinely operated by larger organisations. The cost to a large organisation, meanwhile, can be up to £250,000 on average, meaning that as a whole breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998 cost the UK economy billions every year in lost revenue.
Personal Data is defined as anything that allows an individual to be identified, so anything from a name or address to a date of birth, and NI number or medical records. Audio and video data of an individual is also classed as personal data for these purposes. While the public sector remains susceptible to breaches, with 186 serious breaches alone in the NHS in 2011/12, private companies have also fallen foul, with Tesco, A4e and O2 falling foul of the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) in recent years. (more…)