SMEs in the Dark about Fines for Data Negligence

Business Link FarmersThe majority of the UK’s SMEs are unaware they could face fines of up to £500,000 if they breach data protection laws.

A poll of 154 small and medium-sized businesses by Eclipse Internet found that almost two-thirds (62%) didn’t know companies could face such a large fine if they breach the Data Protection Act.

Whilst most of the companies polled had heard of the Act, few firms knew about the proposed new powers to be awarded to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Of those surveyed, only 22% said they had heard of the changes, which are due to come into force in April 2010. They will give the Information Commissioner’s Office ability to penalise companies that breach the Data Protection Act by putting personal data at risk.

Clodagh Murphy, director at Eclipse Internet, said:

“This research shows that much more needs to be done by the government to raise awareness among SMEs over the Information Commissioner’s new powers.”

“The maximum fine of £500,000 for the most serious breaches is a huge sum of money for any company but for an SME it could be devastating. The government has a responsibility to work with companies of all sizes and ensure data is treated with great care,” she added.

For further reading read Managing Data on Customers & The Data Protection Act, Your Firm and the Data Protection Act or visit the Information Commissioner’s Office.

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