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News

ICO Council Fines Need Bolstering With User Education

CyberArk Software : 09 February, 2011  (Technical Article)
Whilst Cyber-Ark applauds the UK's Information Commissioner's Office for levying fines on two councils for serious data breeches, the company believes that stronger levels of user education are also needed to prevent further such breeches
The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued Ealing Council and Hounslow Council with fines for breaches of the Data Protection Act. The two Councils were fined £80,000 and £70,000 respectively after two unencrypted laptops, containing the details of around 1,700 individuals, were stolen from the home of an employee working on the joint out of hours service for both councils.



Mark Fullbrook, director UK and Ireland at Privileged Identity Management (PIM) and information security expert, Cyber-Ark, has made the following comments:



“It’s good to see the ICO stick to its word and continue to fine those in serious breach of the Data Protection Act. What’s particularly interesting in this case though is that Ealing Council actually had a policy in place requiring all data to be encrypted – something which they’d evidently failed to roll out organisation-wide.



“Given both councils chose to ignore the warning signs, it’s quite clear that more needs to be done to ensure that organisations take data protection more seriously. Fines certainly act as a wake-up call to those involved, but education is absolutely essential if staff are to understand the pitfalls that can ensue from poor data protection policies.



“With four fines already under its belt, the ICO seems set to make its point – issuing a warning only last week to local councils threatening prosecution for failure to implement proper data control procedures.  Unfortunately we’re still seeing the fallout from organisations that are simply not succeeding in protecting valuable data, so it remains to be seen whether such warnings will be taken seriously.  If not, and lessons are to be learned the hard way, at least we can be sure the ICO will not be turning a blind eye.”
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