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In this issue we will take an in-depth look at new insight into the security habits and attitudes of small and medium sized businesses operating in Canada.
The results from the independent survey – the Shred-it Information Security Tracker - conducted by Ipsos Reid and commissioned by Shred-it across Canada, the US and the UK indicate that while Canadian small business operators may understand the legal requirements of keeping information secure, many are failing to recognize the potentially devastating effects that a breach could have on their own business. Given that the renowned Ponemon Institute estimates that a data breach costs, on average, $7.2 million to be put right 1, the fact that almost half (47 per cent) of all Canadian businesses surveyed believe that their business would not be seriously impacted in the event that data from the company was lost or stolen, is a clear cause for concern – there appears to be a denial among small business operators that “this could happen to me”. The unnerving fact however, is that if the correct procedures and protocols are not followed a breach could very well occur to any business, be it large or small.
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Ensuring that an organization is compliant with legal requirements regarding data destruction policies is a basic necessity for any organization and certainly the majority of Canadian businesses surveyed (73 per cent) did show an awareness of their sector’s legislative policies. However, a worrying 27 per cent of Canadian organizations admitted to being unaware of the legal obligations around protecting confidential information.
So what can Canadian organizations do to increase their awareness around legal data security policies? Some first steps to consider are:
While, 77 per cent of respondents from Canada reported that keeping business information secure was very important, there appears to be a disconnect between wanting to keep confidential information secure, and implementing the policies and procedures necessary to do so.
An alarming 38 per cent of Canadian businesses surveyed admitted to not having a protocol for storing and disposing of confidential data.
Implementing policies and procedures is one thing, but it is also important that all employees are aware of the information destruction procedures and trained on a regular basis. According to our Information Security Tracker results, 36 per cent of Canadian small business operators say that their staff have never been trained in regards to company information procedures or protocols and 38 per cent only train staff on an ad-hoc basis.
Ensuring that data security is taken seriously at every level within a business is vital to minimizing the risk of exposure that could lead to a data breach. Safeguarding data does not need to be an onerous task and there are simple steps any organization of any size can take to minimize its risk factor.
By taking such steps and regularly reviewing security policies, organizations large and small can protect themselves from the significant longterm impact of a data breach. If staff are not aware that there are policies and procedures in place, mistakes may occur, which could prove potentially fatal to the future of the business.
Shred-it has developed a survey to help businesses better understand security gaps. Conduct your own security self-assessment.
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