Protecting Personal Data

Waveney MP Peter Aldous last week met with Waveney Professionals Club at its bi-monthly meeting in Beccles.

The importance about protecting professional and personal data against cyber theft was underlined during the Waveney Professionals Club breakfast meeting in Beccles on Wednesday 6th May.  Lowestoft & Waveney MP Peter Aldous continued to show his commitment to helping local businesses progress at the well-attended event in the Waveney House Hotel. 

At the meeting, Waveney business leaders were warned about the threat data theft poses to their companies. Hackers can target commercially-sensitive information, leaving businesses vulnerable and also facing the threat of fines for not adequately protecting confidential information. In addition to protecting digital information by securing laptops and mobile phones against hackers, companies were advised that they also need to dispose of printed confidential waste securely. 

Guest speaker David Higgins from 4ITSec said many companies were unaware of the threat to their data, or did not take its potential loss seriously enough. “Companies give employees laptops and mobile phones but do not talk to them about security,” he told a business audience at the Waveney House Hotel

Using secure passwords, changing them regularly, and utilising encryption software are among methods available to help protect mobile data and improve cyber security, as well as two-part authentication codes to strengthen the single password requirement. Mr Higgins worked in the IT security industry for 30 years, including 13 years for the government, before starting his Norfolk-based digital security company. The warnings come as proposed EU data protection law for 2017 could see firms fined five per cent of their global annual turnover or one million euros (whichever is the greater) if their systems are hacked into and are not compliant or adequately protected. 

After last Wednesday’s meeting Jules Shorrock, managing director of Beccles-based recycling specialists Citrus Security Shredding, highlighted the need to dispose of printed confidential waste in the appropriate way: “People do steal physical data and there are still more businesses and organisations being fined for confidential paperwork that has not been disposed of properly, than those being penalised for cyber data lapses. Disposing of confidential waste effectively should routinely be part of a company’s risk management strategy and having confidential waste bins in the office remains important in reducing the risk of data getting into the wrong hands.” 

Citrus Security Shredding offers confidential recycling services across East Anglia with solicitors, accountants, insurance brokers and medical practices among its key customers. 

Paul Briddon, Partner for Lovewell Blake LLP in the accounting firm’s Lowestoft office, underlined the importance of protecting against data theft: “Data security is fundamental to our business,” he said. “As you can imagine Lovewell Blake handle vast quantities of confidential and sensitive information. We invest significant sums in IT to secure the integrity of our systems and this is something which we keep under constant review. Alongside that our procedures extend to the management of paper waste to ensure we have the confidence that confidential data is destroyed in an effective and environmentally sensitive manner.” 

Peter Aldous MP said: “It was good to meet with local business leaders and discuss the challenges they face from data theft. Bigger businesses should have the systems in place to be able to monitor activity like this effectively, but a lot of smaller businesses might not have the budget or skills to track what their employees are doing with sensitive data. The meeting was important to raise awareness about this issue and I look forward to working with the Waveney Professional Club in the future on key concerns facing businesses such as data security.” 

To read the article on Peter Aldous MP website, visit the page here

Waveney Professionals Club meets bi-monthly in Beccles. Anyone interested in joining can contact the organiser Phil Ball