SMEs in ICO firing line

Small firms could be caught out by a more aggressive Information Commissioners Office if they fail to look after their data and customer information securely

Smaller firms are at risk of falling foul of the Information Commissioners Office rules about data protection facing large fines as a result.

The ICO has issued 15 fines worth £1.8m so far in the year to 30 June compared to six fines for a combined value of £431,000 in the previous twelve months.

Channel finance specialist Syscap has noted that there have been 68 warnings given out by the ICO over security lapses and small firms are likely to be among those caught if there is a crack down currently going on.

"Small businesses are increasingly falling foul of the ICO. It's clear that the ICO is starting to take a much more proactive stance in penalising data lapses, so this is something that business owners need to take very seriously," said Philip White, chief executive at Syscap.

"Businesses need to make sure that the correct safeguards are in place in order to secure their data, or they could be at risk of hefty fines in the near future," he added.

Other in the industry also added their voices of caution to the debate urging resellers to do more to help customers who could potentially be vulnerable to data loss.

“These figures underline the huge challenges facing UK businesses when it comes to managing confidential information securely. Already this year we have seen numerous examples of high profile document leakage in both physical and digital formats, causing huge security headaches for individuals and businesses," said Chas Moloney, director at Ricoh UK.

"Radical action needs to be taken to plug the UK’s data leakage by ensuring organisations implement robust and secure systems for the efficient sharing of critical information," he added.

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