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UK – Employees unaware of data protection despite high risk

31 July 2012

With a new EU data protection legislation promising to raise the stakes and potentially introduce high fines if laws are breached, Senior Vice President of Iron Mountain, Patrick Keddy, told Staffing Industry Analysts that employees don’t always understand their employer’s data protection policies.

The firm, which specialises in information management, recently found in a survey that one in three employees in Europe have taken or forwarded confidential information out of the office on more than one occasion. Mr Keddy said this suggested staff are not made aware of such data protection policies.

“As a result of these actions and behaviours, businesses face the risk of being fined up to 2% of their global annual turnover. The new legislation means that it is more important than ever that businesses make their employees aware of data protection policies as it will be the company that faces the penalties, not the departing staff,” he warned.  

He said that sensitive information should be protected and stored appropriately. “Access to and distribution of the information needs to be controlled. A chain of custody should be established for sensitive information so that the business knows where the information is at any time and who has touched it last.”  

A good relationship with Human Resources also helps. “One clear solution is for information management policies to be developed closely with Human Resources as part of a Corporate Information Responsibility programme that involves people across the organisation in a culture that respects the need to keep sensitive information secure,” Mr Keddy said.

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