Members of the British Security Industry Association’s (BSIA) Information Destruction Section have welcomed a new self-assessment tool on data protection launched by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The self-assessment tool helps smaller and medium-sized organisations to assess their compliance with the Data Protection Act. The toolkit provides links to essential guidance and further information on what companies need to do in order to comply with the law.
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham commented: “Good data protection practice makes perfect business sense. It can lead to better and more efficient customer service, while also helping to protect and enhance a given company’s reputation. Such good practice could also help businesses when it comes to avoiding fines.”
Under the Seventh Principle of the Data Protection Act, a business must take appropriate measures against the accidental loss, destruction or damage of personal data and against unauthorised or unlawful processing of data.
To fully comply with the Data Protection Act, a data handler must have a written contract with a company capable of handling confidential waste. This can provide a guarantee that all aspects of data and information collection and destruction are carried out in a secure and compliant manner.
On that basis, suppliers should comply with the European Standard BS EN 15713:2009 for security shredding and also BS 7858 relating to staff vetting.
Reducing reputational risk
Adam Chandler, chairman of the BSIA’s Information Destruction Section, commented: “The self-assessment tool provides SMEs with a fantastic opportunity to ensure that they comply with the Data Protection Act. Compliance will help to reduce reputational risk and ensure that directors are not faced with fines or prison sentences for non-compliance.”
Chandler continued: “The BSIA’s Information Destruction Section recommends that all SMEs make use of this free tool to ensure that they comply with the Data Protection Act. Furthermore, once an organisation has no further use for its data and needs to have it destroyed, it’s absolutely imperative that there’s engagement with a service provider able to demonstrate rigorous compliance to BS EN 15713:2009. All of our Information Destruction Section members must do that to retain their membership. If you want to save yourself the hassle of checking out a service provider – and proper due diligence should include a site visit to the service provider’s destruction facility – then simply select one of our member companies to carry out this service.”
The new toolkit may be accessed online via the ICO’s website (www.ico.org.uk) and can be completed as one comprehensive assessment that embraces the key obligations SMEs have in relation to processing their customers’ or clients’ personal information.
Alternatively, the assessment may be broken down into separate checklists such that end users can tailor it to their organisation’s particular needs and risks.
Data controllers wishing to securely dispose of confidential material in line with the Data Protection Act should consult a member of the BSIA’s Information Destruction Section which consists of companies that securely destroy a range of confidential information (including paper, DVDs and computer hard drives).
All BSIA Information Destruction Section members work to the European Standard for the secure destruction of confidential material (ie the aforementioned BS EN 15713) as part of their ISO 9001:2008 inspection.
*For more information on this subject or to source a BSIA-registered supplier of information destruction services visit: www.bsia.co.uk/sections/information-destruction