Thursday, 30 October 2014

Back in the Wacky World of Data

My journey into the sometimes disturbing world of data and business information started some eighteen years ago I suppose, and after a brief hiatus I find myself back, this time trying to get my head around the business of recycling IT equipment and making sure that no data falls into the wrong hands during the process.

This is serious stuff. The Information Commissioner will soon have the power to fine companies and organisations 2% of global turnover. My local hospital was recently fined £200k for a data breach caused when they got rid of some PC's to the wrong man. And it's not just the fine. The guilty culprits are all over the internet, there for all to see. Just type in data breach and you'll see them too...or visit the ICO's website.

On joining eReco, a fine company operating out of sometimes sunny East Grinstead in West Sussex, I have gone on the usual steep learning curve. I have learned a lot of jargon, which we will revisit when this Blog finds its feet no doubt, and I have talked to a lot of customers and prospects. I find that a good place to start, long before I know what the hell I am doing in normal circumstances, because if you ask the really dumb questions you get some surprising answers.

Now even before joining I knew that deleting a file in Windows did not remove the data from your hard disk. But one of the first accountants I talked to did this, and then gave his redundant PC's away to a charity. So he has given away all of his data, all his clients data, and he has not even thought about the risk to his brand, his business or his career?

Crazy, I think so.

Most business owners know two things about this subject. One, you can't just throw IT equipment away. It's illegal. And you can't take it down the dump either, that is not for business use. So it is a problem.

Secondly, everyone knows that the hard disk is another problem. We may not be sure what one looks like but we all know it is there, and that it has our whole lives on it somewhere...passwords, figures, bank accounts, everything we ever do.

So even though we have a shiny new bit of kit on our desk, we are not too sure what to do about our old friend. If we are lucky enough to work for a big-ish business someone in IT might do it for us but quite often it will end up in a storeroom somewhere. The risk is not diminished, it's just moved.

So...are you a hoarder or giving your data away for free?