Businesses fear reputation damage but not enough to comply with data protection laws

A survey by Ipswitch, managed file transfer (MFT) solutions vendor, reveals that fear of reputational damage is the biggest driver for business professionals to comply with data security laws. Yet the majority are still failing to secure the transfer of critical files.

The survey, conducted at the end of April 2014, asked 415 business professionals working across the EU about attitudes, practices and technologies relating to data security and protection. The results also show that the UK is seen as having tighter data protection laws than Germany or France. However, the vast majority think the UK’s data protection laws need to be even stricter.

> See also: 'Vague' Data Protection Act blights fraud detection, say insurers

Key conclusions:

• 31% of business professionals say that financial censure is the biggest impetus for complying with data protection or staying in line with ICO guidelines, while nearly half (43%) cite fear of reputational damage to their brand as the major reason to fall in line

• The survey also reveals that over half of respondents (53%) admit to sending business sensitive documents over unsecured email, while nearly a fifth (19%) also admit to losing critical business documents

• 64%of respondents consider the UK to have the tightest data protection laws, 30% name Germany as having the strictest laws, while six percent of respondents believe say that France has the strictest data protection

• Almost three-quarters (71%) of respondents believe UK data protection laws should be stronger to protect businesses and consumers
• Over a quarter of respondents (27%) have never heard of the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the public body which reports to UK Parliament and is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice to oversee data protection and privacy

• More than half (57%) agree that the ICO should be more aggressive in its data protection responsibilities

'It is clear that organisations need to take more responsibility for their own file transfer practices. Our survey reveals that far too many still rely on unsecured procedures for transferring sensitive files to get work done,' said Loic Triger, VP International Sales for Ipswitch. 'Businesses need to have systems in place to mitigate security breaches, and rigorously ensure those systems are appropriately used.'

'Enterprises have come to rely on a mix of DIY approaches for file movement, in the absence of well-defined policies and enterprise-supported alternatives. But it is entirely possible to untangle the web of file transfer applications available and talk about best practices to ensure visibility and control in an increasingly regulated market. We urge all organisations to re-evaluate their file transfer methodologies, before they end up paying the price, either in diminished brand reputation, customer losses, or financial penalties.'

'Business simply cannot afford – either in terms of cost or reputation – to deal with the potential fall-out from unsafe business practices such as unsecured file sharing, and they are clearly looking to the ICO to take the lead in implementing further, stricter regulation.'

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...