Documents that need to be disposed of from offices are often worth much more than the paper they’re printed on.
This is particularly the case if these pieces of paper contain personal information belonging to individuals. If your business utilises personal details there is a responsibility not just to store this data safely, but also to dispose of it in the right way.
The new EU Data Protection Bill updates the existing EU Data Protection Directive 95/46 dramatically, putting all of the responsibility onto companies and organisations to manage, prevent and report any security breaches of personal data.
One of the most important potential new requirements is the provision of a dedicated employee to manage data protection regulation. Shredding any documents containing sensitive information used to be sufficient, but in the internet age we all have to be far more careful when disposing of data.
Why? Well, you’ll be facing a huge fine if you’re not. The new bill is worded to force organisations to take real responsibility for how they handle individuals’ data, and it threatens fines of up to one million euros or two percent of a companies’ global turnover if anyone tries to shirk the regulations.
The good news is that there are many kinds of archive storage services available to small and medium-sized businesses that are cost effective and easy to use.
However in the case of a breach of security, there’s no need to panic unduly about being landed with a huge fine. The most important thing is to report the breach to your relevant Data Protection Authority within 24 hours. Doing this will signal that you are organised and responsible business.
Despite what it may seem, the EU is not trying to further complicate how companies can dispose of information. Instead, it is standardizing the rules across EU countries and globally for anyone doing business with member states, so that there will be just one set of guidelines to adhere to.
It will take up to two years for the new legislation to come into effect, but be prepared for when it does – the fines are priced to ensure all sizes of business will be encouraged to play by the rules.
So when it comes to getting rid of old data, or any printed matter, go ahead and stick to that shredder – just make sure you dispose of any information held online responsibly too.