Businesses need to protect themselves and their staff against a data breach

Thu 20th Apr 2017

Nearly a third of UK companies have suffered a data loss or security breach because their staff use mobile technologies for work. Philip Sayers, Employment lawyer at Coodes Solicitors, comments on what businesses can do to protect themselves and their staff.

“It seem that almost every week we see another news story about a company that has faced a data breach. With more employees working remotely – either at home or on the move – there are more risks of confidential information going astray than ever before. Staff may now work on their home laptop, a tablet and a smart phone as well as on their office PC. This means they could be handling commercial information on a number of devices.

“I have written previously about how staff can face criminal prosecution for releasing customer data. While there are incidents of individuals seeking to profit by selling customer data to rival firms, there are many more cases of data breaches as a result of carelessness or genuine mistakes. Estimates suggest that when General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is introduced in 2018, fines for data breaches by UK firms could rise to £122 billion.

“Some professions, such as the police, social work and of course law, involve highly sensitive material. Other roles may not involve such delicate information but nonetheless customer records need to be treated as being highly confidential.

“Senior staff in particular are often under pressure to meet deadlines and work outside of normal office hours. They may therefore not be receptive to their IT teams putting security blocks in place, preventing them from accessing material from home.

“Businesses need to be clear with all staff what material can be taken off site, and what needs to stay in the office. If employees are working remotely it should be through a secure VPN connection. With technology changing all the time, IT teams should be empowered to inform employers of new developments so businesses can stay up to date.

“Dealing with a data breach can be very costly and result in serious reputational damage. Every business should now be looking at how it can avoid such a breach by giving staff clear policies on where and how they can access confidential data.”

For more information on this or any Employment enquiries contact Philip Sayers, Employment team, Coodes Solicitors on 01872 246200 or

Thu 20th Apr 2017

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