Written by Jonathan Hunt
15 Aug, 2019
As the introduction of the GDPR draws ever closer, much has been made of the heavy fines for non-compliance. Failure to prevent a cyber attack that leads to data loss could now see your company fined either up to 4% of its annual turnover or £17 million, depending on which figure is higher. Although the GDPR fines are a very real prospect, the ICO’S Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, stated recently that companies are unlikely to be hit with the maximum amount. She suggested that as well as fines, the GDPR gives the ICO a range of sanctions for non-complying organisations including warnings, reprimands and corrective orders. Whilst you may not necessarily be hit with the maximum £17 million fine, one thing that will be damaged no matter which sanction you receive is your company’s reputation.
Potential and existing customers will be unable to trust you with their data if you have been punished for not complying with the GDPR. Customers need to be sure that their personal information will not be at risk; if you aren’t complying, you can’t guarantee data protection. You only have to look at the damage caused to Talk Talk’s reputation for not protecting their data to understand how costly it can be. Back in October 2015, the telecom company suffered a serious cyber breach affecting over 150,000 customers. After an investigation, the ICO concluded that Talk Talk had failed to apply the appropriate security measures to protect personal data. As a result, the Company were fined a record £400,000. Whilst the fine may have been costly, Talk Talk paid an even bigger price in the aftermath with their reputation seriously affected. It was made very public that the company didn’t take the correct precautions to prevent data loss and it admitted to losing 95,000 customers as a direct result of the hack. This lasting damage to its reputation put off many potential customers for fear that their data would not be secure, losing Talk Talk a substantial amount of business.
In order to avoid the GDPR fines and damage to your reputation, you need to implement a cyber security strategy. It’s well known that cyber breaches are major causes of data loss so it’s vital you have a plan for preventing them. By implementing the correct measures, you will be able to prevent breaches and assure both existing and potential customers that their personal data will not be at risk.
Despite the threat of sanctions, data protection doesn’t necessarily have to be seen as a burden. You have the chance to get ahead of your competitors by gaining the trust of potential customers. Rather than risking serious damage to your reputation and losing business, why not be proactive and ensure your systems are completely secure? Taking the correct steps to secure your data will enable potential customers to trust you with their information, helping you to win future business. At Venom IT, we specialise in cyber security and can protect your data from breaches. You can view our range of robust cyber security solutions here. If you would like more information or advice on cyber security, avoiding GDPR fines or data protection in general, contact us today.