Study highlights concerns over security
Yorkshire firms could be compromising confidential data and falling foul of data protection laws due to a lack of concern about document security, new data has revealed.
The study, which sought views of 238 business owners in Yorkshire, revealed that 43% of businesses did not lock away laptops at night and 30% failed to regularly change security passwords. More than a fifth of respondents left important documents un-shredded (22%), while 21% failed to use firewalls.
Conducted by Leeds-based Altodigital, the survey said the problem was prevalent across the UK but particularly so in Yorkshire, which was found to be the second least security-conscious region in the country.
Among the most worrying findings was the overwhelming lack of knowledge around external print or scanning devices that store data on an internal hard drive. This can pose a potential hacking risk if they are connected to a company network and not protected properly.
Alarmingly, 40% of Yorkshire firms admitted they took no measures to protect data stored on these devices, while nearly a quarter (22%) failed to wipe the internal hard drive when the device is given away (11%), dumped (17%) or sold (9%).
Businesses in Yorkshire were least likely to wipe their printer’s hard drives and more likely than any other region to throw their printers away.
Tony Burnett, group sales director at Altodigital, said: “Our message is clear: can you really afford to be complacent about these issues given the significant financial cost and potential for brand damage?
“Print technology is currently advancing at an intense rate and with the upsurge in functionality and productivity, it also increases the risks posed to sensitive data travelling through devices. With the implementation of simple policies you can significantly increase the protection of your documents.”
More than half of businesses regularly scan security-sensitive documents such as passports, birth certificates (43%) and bank statements – meaning businesses could risk falling foul of data protection laws.
Proposed new EU regulations could see any company that holds personal information fined 2% of their annual turnover if caught breaking the guidelines, a cost businesses can ill-afford.
In addition, potentially millions of sensitive documents could end up in the wrong hands or be used for fraudulent activity. Nearly a third of survey respondents (28%) said their IT systems had already been hacked previously.
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