The government has introduced legislation that enables the Information Commissioner's Office to issue fines of up to £500,000 for serious data security breaches, writes David Tomlinson, managing director at Data Encryption Systems.
This rule is expected to come into force in the UK on 6 April 2010 and is meant as a deterrent to try to stop employees leaving laptops on trains or CDs in the back of taxis that contain sensitive public information after a number of very public and embarrassing high level incidents over the last couple of years.
It can happen so easily - and to anyone. Which I find ridiculous, because for as little money as it costs to install anti-virus software on your laptop, you can install encryption software, and protect your organisation not only from a data breach but also against any backlash.
It is irritating and upsetting enough when you lose a mobile phone or a laptop, but devastating for some if you haven't encrypted the data and your latest customer database and/or sales forecast ends up in the hands of the competition.
We've been in the encryption market for over 20 years and over this time we have witnessed all kinds of incidents and I would say that in most cases, in fact in almost every case, these breaches could have been prevented.
Protecting your personal data and company confidential information should be a matter of course and part of daily routine - whether private or public sector. For under £50, a business user can purchase a DESlock+ licence, our data encryption software, and reinforce their security and personal liability.
I applaud the information commissioner, Christopher Graham for persevering in his quest for longer, stronger teeth to enforce his watchdog role.
Data encryption is now quick, easy to use, inexpensive and painless to implement. There are now no excuses. So if you have metaphorically been caught with your trousers down, and you've not taken adequate steps to protect your data - watch out. Not only will it be highly embarrassing but a hefty fine could be coming your way.
This was first published in January 2010