Compliance and security guidelines – why are they important?


A modern business is likely to hold a large amount of personal data. This could be anything from customers’ names and addresses, to trade secrets, to sensitive personal information about employees.

Under the Data Protection Act and the related regulations of information law, this data must be handled carefully in order to ensure it does not fall into the wrong hands.

The role of guidelines

If your employees are likely to need to handle sensitive data, it is a good idea to develop guidelines to assist them. How strictly they need to be adhered to will depend upon the circumstances, but you may even wish to make compliance with them a condition of employment.

When drafting your data handling guidelines, you should consider the following:

  • Who is needs to handle the data?
  • Who needs regular access to the data?
  • How is the data going to be stored?
  • How are records of the data going to be kept?
  • What data can or must be destroyed?

It is important to keep in mind that you may only keep personal data if it is necessary for your business. You should be strict about this. It is not permitted to keep personal data simply on the speculation that it may become useful in the future. Set a time limit on how long it will be kept for and stick to it.

Visit our commercial rights and duties pages to learn more about your obligations as a business.

Data protection and freedom of information

It is possible that someone may make a request to access your data under the Data Protection or Freedom of Information Acts. Handling these requests can be complicated, but it is essential to comply with them.

Again, having a clear set of guidelines can help, enabling you to quickly find and assess the relevant information and either release it or explain your reasons for withholding it.

Proper data security is becoming ever more important. If you handle personal data in large volumes it is worth instructing a solicitor to audit your processes and keep your guidance documents updated.

This will not only make you more efficient as a business, but could save you from expensive litigation in the future.

You can learn more about how to deal with commercial litigation by visiting our pages on that subject.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on security compliance, we can put you in touch with a cost-effective specialist data law solicitor free of charge. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above to speak to one of our advisors.

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