Adhering to the Data Protection Act
Information is the lifeblood of any business. It is your duty to protect your information, whether card data, financial data, research data, or something different. This is not only crucial for the functioning of your business, but you are bound by data laws, such as the UK Data Protection Act and the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
The Data Protection Act helps your business, rather than hindering it
There are many misconceptions about the UK Data Protection Act. A lot of business owners think it is a barrier and a nuisance, but the opposite is true. This act provides a legal basis for the use of personal data, and it protects our rights as data subjects while ensuring transparency.
The Data Protection Act – what data can you provide your staff members with?
There are grey areas around the provision of personal data to internal staff. If colleagues request personal data, you can provide it, but this does not mean you automatically should. You need to do so in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
There are a few things you should look at, for example:
- Who is asking for the information?
- What information do they want?
- What do they intend to do with it?
- Has the data subject provided consent?
These are the questions you should ask yourself whenever an employee asks for information. You need to ensure all employees are aware of how to handle data as well, i.e. not sharing it with anyone else and making an effort to protect it with strong passwords and secure storage methods.
Protecting data from unauthorised individuals
There are other ways of abiding by the data protection act too. You will need to:
- Implement effective security controls to ensure that the personal data of your customers is never compromised, be it intentionally or accidentally. Failure to do this could result in fraudulent transactions and identity theft, which could lead to hefty non-compliance fines for your business.
- You also need to extend this security to physical items. For example, shred confidential waste and never leave documents on desks.
- You also need to ensure you never transfer personal data to an area outside the European Economic Area (EEA). You only have permission to do so if the country promises an adequate level of protection.
Abiding by the Data Protection Act is not negotiable. Follow the laws and protect your business.