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Data privacy self-assessment tool launched for SMEs

A data privacy self-assessment tool for SMEs has been launched by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to help them ensure that they are complying with the Data Protection Act.

The self-assessment tool will consist of a single questionnaire or a selection of checklists which can be completed online.

Reputation

Information commissioner Christopher Graham spoke about the benefits of data protection, stating that it “can lead to better, more efficient customer service” and protect a company’s reputation.

He added that good practice of data protection will also enable SMEs to avoid having to pay a fine from the ICO.

The ICO has warned that by failing to keep their personal data safe, SMEs risk causing “long-lasting” damage to their reputation.

Research

As SMEs store useful data without the proper security to protect it, they are becoming an easier target for cyber criminals.

Research carried out by the Cyber Streetwise campaign last year found that only a small percentage of SMEs considered security to be their top priority, with just 16% taking action to protect their business. Two-thirds of those who were surveyed believed that their business was not vulnerable to cybercrime.

The study also found that 22% of respondents believe that SMEs are not targeted by hackers, whilst over a quarter believe that only companies who take online payments are likely to be targeted by cyber criminals.


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