When it comes to your business, data protection is one of the most influential factors that can turn a potential customer into a loyal customer. Therefore, the establishment of a trusted and secure database can largely enhance your brand’s image. The following information will guide you in understanding the necessity of data protection as well as improving it within your organisation.
Data protection laws incorporate key principles of how personal data must be handled, as opposed to a list of do’s and don’ts. The overall objective aims to ensure that your personal data is safe. Many risks which could affect this can occur in the workplace. For example, sending a document to the wrong recipient could breach data protection laws and it remains your responsibility to put measures into place which prevent such risks from occurring. Nevertheless, there is no rule of thumb here, as all organisations are different.
So, what are the main principles?
- All data must be used in a way that complies with the law and ways in which customers or employees have been told about.
- All data must be used for its designated purpose only. Unrelated matters cannot make use of the data, if not originally intended to do so.
- All data must be accurate to all knowledge, as well as kept up to date.
- Ensure data is only kept for as long as necessary. It must also be disposed of safely.
- Confidentiality is a top priority. You must ensure all data is kept securely, including customer and staff information.
Is any data exempt from data protection law?
Yes, there are several types which are not covered. These include:
- Work email address, provided it does not contain a person’s name or the company’s financial statements;
- Any information regarding deceased people, as data protection laws apply only to the living;
- Paper records which are not stored as part of a filing system; and
- Information for purely personal, as opposed to business, purposes.
Training your staff in data protection.
Unfortunately, there is no strict guidance provided by the law on this matter. Nevertheless, this is a topic which should be covered when training your staff, even if on a basic level. Don’t forget to also include temporary staff or volunteers in the training process. This will ensure the risk of a data protection breach is minimalised. This should be a top priority for an efficient, secure flow within your company.
Are there any costs involved?
Yes, data compliance does come at a cost of either £40 or £60 per year, if you use personal data for work, such as CCTV. For large organisations, i.e. with over 250 employees or an annual turnover exceeding £36 million, the fee stands at £2,900. This is the only fee involved in compliance. If you regularly ensure your employees are making use of strong passwords and shred important records prior to disposal, your business is already taking care in protecting data.
A data protection officer (DPO) must be appointed if:
- You are a public body or authority;
- Your core activities require the regular monitoring of individuals on a large, systematic scale; or
- Your core activities consist of large-scale processing of special categories of data or data relating to criminal offences.
If your organisation is based on a smaller scale or is outside of the above categories, it is unlikely you will require a DPO. Nevertheless, you may wish to appoint a DPO voluntarily, to ensure an efficient flow of data protection compliance. This can even be a current employee, as long as there is no conflict of interest with their current job demands.
Undertaking these steps will ensure that your business is compliant with data protection laws. You must take accountability for such matters and prevent risks from occurring by ensuring appropriate measures are in place.
If you have any queries regarding data protection, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our expert team at Lawdit today.
Tel: 023 8023 5979