UK businesses admit to having lost data on more than one occassion

Some of Google’s data has been wiped from discs at one of its data centres in Belgium after a local power grid was struck by lightning four times.

In an online statement, the Internet giant said that data on 0.000001 per cent of disk space had been permanently affected. It said: “Although automatic auxiliary systems restored power quickly, recently written data was located on storage systems which were more susceptible to power failure from extended or repeated battery drain.”

Google isn’t alone. In July, Barclays started paying compensation to 2,000 of its customers after losing a USB stick containing personal data from 2008. And hackers who stole customer information form Ashley Madison, made good on their threat to post the data online. 

Furthermore, a survey by Crown Records Management has revealed that a third of IT decision makers admitted their company had lost important data more than three times in the past

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A quarter of respondents said they had reported a data breach in the past and two thirds knew someone whose computer had been hacked. A third also personally knew of cases where sensitive documents had been accidentally left somewhere.

Ann Sellar, business development manager at Crown Records Management, said: “These results should be a wake-up call for UK businesses because the importance of protecting customer data is higher than ever. Not only because of potential fines for data breaches, but also because of growing public awareness.

“It takes on average 20 years to build a reputation, but just five minutes to ruin it with a data breach. With that in mind, businesses need to look at the way they protect information, understand where the threats are and start putting robust processes in place to protect customers. If businesses don’t start taking the topic seriously, I can only see the number of data breaches increasing in the next few years.”

Sellar suggested the figures were worrying but not surprising, given that an estimated 80 per cent of data breaches come from human error. 

This follows on from figures – unveiled by a Freedom of Information (FoI) request from ViaSat – that suggested incidents of data loss weren’t being reported to the ICO.

It claimed that businesses had reported some 67,677 thefts in the year running up to February, with just over 13,000 of the devices having allegedly held sensitive corporate data. However, only 1,089 of data breaches were actually reported to the ICO by businesses.

ViaSat’s UK CEO, Chris McIntosh, said: “We must remember that 13,000 thefts is the bare minimum: considering that not all police forces could share this information, the real figure is likely to be many times greater. As a result, thousands of individuals’ private data could well be on borrowed time.”

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