Pushing Data Protection back up the agenda

2020 was quite a year for so many reasons. A global pandemic, disharmony in our communities, a General Election and the final touches being put to our exit from the EU.

As if that wasn’t enough, the first week of 2021 saw us placed into yet another national lockdown.

As a result, business owners across the country have again found themselves reprioritising, dealing with the closure of businesses, furloughing staff and struggling to understand their obligations following the EU exit transition period.

One thing that has certainly slipped down the agenda is GDPR and efforts by UK business owners to ensure they are compliant with the data protection regulations. Data Protection consultants have repeatedly warned that this is a risky approach due to the change in our ways of working. Working from home, strained resources and perhaps storing data on systems that weren’t designed for such sensitive information, are just a few of the issues faced by organisations. So just when you thought you could park GDPR, the truth is, it’s never been more important

May 2021 will mark 3 years since the introduction of the Data Protection Act 2018, the UK’s adoption of the wider General Data Protection Regulations. Despite the increased fines and an obligation for organisations to be more transparent and accountable for the data they process,many businesses have chosen to ignore the GDPR.

Many organisations that we’ve spoken to say the same things…

‘We’re worried what we’ll find if we start to try to sort our personal data out’

‘We fear it’ll be too expensive’

‘If we admit we’re not compliant we’ll end up being fined for ignoring it for this long’

‘The Regulator isn’t taking action against small firms like us, we’ll go under the radar’

‘ It’s too late for us to register as we’ll be letting the ICO we haven’t bothered to register until now’

Here at TrustHogen, we’re here to reassure you that it’s never too late to embark upon your compliance journey. Our CEO, Gary Langrish added ‘ The most important thing for businesses to do is to START their journey. By undertaking a basic Discovery exercise, a business can better understand its current compliance position and start to gauge it’s gaps and inherent risks. The subsequent creation of a Compliance Roadmap, taking a risk based approach to remediation, can help an organisation defend it’s position with the Regulator. At TrustHogen, we take a pragmatic approach to helping businesses understand where they are vs where they need to be, and create manageable plans for firms to follow. We offer a number of packages, ranging from the initial gaps analysis, right up to putting things right on your behalf and acting as an outsourced DPO for your organisation’

2021 marks the end of Elilzabeth Denham’s tenure at the UK’s Information Commissioner within the ICO, with mixed reviews about the effectiveness of her reign. It is still unknown who will succeed Ms Denham in this role, but whoever it is, they will surely want to make a quick impact. Many believe that the focus of the ICO will be more toward smaller organisations, with a view to showing them they are not beyond the enforcement of the Regulator.

This year has also seen the launch of TV Advertisements relating to Data Breach Compensation. It was only a matter of time before the PPI or Ambulance chasing call centres found a new avenue to again start calling members of the public with a view to taking a cut of any successful claim. So, following on from a very public fine of 20m euros and a tarnished reputation, British Airways now have to count the cost of a Class Action, which many believe could see compensation of up to £3bn being paid out to affected individuals.

Law firms are also notably scaling up efforts to take on cases where a person has been the victim of a data breach.

So no, Data Protection is not going away. After everyone has been vaccinated, Brexit is just a thing of the past and people from all ethnicities are rightfully treated equally as a matter of course, the one thing that will be a constant on any agenda will be DATA PROTECTION!

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