For most businesses, data is king but many organisations are unaware of what the ramifications are if it’s not handled and destroyed properly. Action by the Information Commissioner often relates to the improper destruction of data, so getting it wrong can have serious consequences for your business. Not only can directors and senior managers be held criminally liable but the Information Commissioner also has wide powers to issue large fines or to order your business to cease processing personal data which includes information about customers, suppliers and employees. However, there are some straight forward tips to follow which stop any issues arising:

  • While your business needs the data, ensure access to it is controlled. Basics such as password protected systems, logging access to systems and limiting what can be downloaded onto disks or laptops can all help. Whilst hardcopy data should be stored securely
  • Have an action plan in place for how to react to any security breaches and ensure that such breaches are dealt with swiftly
  • Ensure that you have a clear data protection policy in place that sets out who is responsible for ensuring that data is destroyed when its retention is no longer necessary. This helps to ensure that data isn’t missed by falling between the responsibilities of two people. Responsibility for data destruction should only be given to members of staff with a suitable level of authority
  • Make sure that the policy is followed as there is little point in having one if it’s ignored
  • Where hardcopy information is archived, each file of information should have a destruction date attached to it – this will help make sure that information is only kept for as long as it is needed. As well as being important in data protection legislation, this can also help reduce storage costs and will minimise costs involved in disclosure if your business is involved in litigation at any point
  • Paper documents should be shredded with a cross-cut shredder or incinerated. This can either be done in-house or outsourced, but if you are outsourcing data destruction make sure that you are using a British Security Industry Association accredited service provider (a list can be found at http://www.bsia.co.uk/sectorlist/M8UBE159300 ). You should also have a written contract with your destruction provider which specifies data protection and security standards
  • Make sure destruction policies are applied to electronic information too, including emails as these are easily forgotten
  • When no longer used, computer hard drives and portable media must be properly wiped or destroyed
  • If you have staff who work from home, make sure they are properly trained in how to dispose of data securely
  • Don’t destroy data relevant to ongoing or anticipated litigation as this may damage your case

Testimonials

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Excellent experience start to finish – always very responsive to any queries and the turnaround on the property I was buying was very quick, even in the busy time leading up to stamp duty deadline. Jenny was always very helpful and went above and beyond to close on a short timescale.

Ben Armitage

“Very approachable, practical solutions to problems, but most of all very responsive which I personally think is very important because if you need help, you need it quickly, or at least to know someone is looking at it for you”.

Joanne Rowe, Finance Director, Greater Manchester Chamber

“Always able to contact, very approachable, friendly and professional”

Nives Feely, JAM Recruitment

“I believe I have been able to establish a professional working relationship with everyone I have come into contact. Importantly, I sense the relationships which have been established give me the confidence that I can make contact with Davis Blank Furniss at any time and on any matter. I would also like to express my thanks to the very impressive “gatekeepers” who work in reception, not only for making me very welcome, but also for their professionalism”

Bill Pryke, CEO, Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors

“Thank you for your efficient and friendly help throughout this process. We have had it easy but your approach has been part of that”.

Robert Amsbury (Conveyancing Client)

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for the ongoing support and assistance the firm has offered to our parents over the years. I hope also that we may be able to call on you if necessary in the future.”

Valerie Fisher (Probate Client)

“Jo always provides great service, understands our needs and delivers on her promises. Our needs are relatively simple but the complexity arises out of the volume of work and short time frames, Jo always delivers.”

Peter Fernandez, Corporate Director at Royal Bank of Scotland

“A big thank you to all who dealt with my wife’s claim… We would not hesitate to recommend Davis Blank Furniss to anyone that may be in a situation like we have been…”

Anon (Personal Injury client)

“Before putting my case in Kirsty (Morbey)’s capable hands I’ve met a couple of other solicitors. None of them listen to me as intently as Kirsty and showed me as much empathy and understanding as she did. Simultaneously she was able to look at my case from legal perspective, explain all the options and follow each of our meetings with written summary of the discussed matters (in timely manner). Her advice was invaluable and led me to successfully ending the case matter (hopeful for good). I’m forever grateful for he work and would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for reliable, knowledgeable and committed solicitor”.

Anon (Family client)
5 star service

Our Manchester office is rated 5 stars on Google