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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

More Data Loss

We at Quality Matters use internet banking and just recently I realised that checking and double checking  before pressing 'send' is pretty important.  I meant to send a BACS payment to one of our suppliers but managed to send it to entirely the wrong bank account.  I was lucky that the receiving company realised that this payment was not for them and alerted me and fortunately returned the remittance.

Something similar happened recently within the NHS where patient information was sent to the wrong fax number.  The Information Commissioner rightly stated that hospitals hold very sensitive and personal information and once lost or compromised cannot be undone.  He accepted that there were good procedures defined but the loss of data within the NHS remains a systematic problem as these procedures are not always followed.

What is needed is a complete culture change where data was concerned, he said:

"Non-encrypted data sticks, lost laptops and exposing data to unauthorised persons are still top of the data loss charts."

ISO27001 systems and procedures are a good method of defining data protection, but procedures alone cannot safeguard data;  it must be impressed on staff  that data protection is a number one priority and regular update training should be carried out to reinforce the message.

A look into a railway lost property office will show just how lax some security measures are.  I saw laptops, memory sticks, paper files and correspondence clearly marked as restricted or confidential. All these had been left on trains.  The sad thing was that some of these had been in the lost property office for some time;  the owners obviously did not attach the same level of importance as I did.    I wonder if the loss has even been noticed!

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