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Archive storage and Data Protection – what’s the risk?

Do you keep confidential documents and archiving in a storage room? Did you know that under Principle 5 of the Data Protection Act 1998, there is an obligation for businesses to not keep or store personal client data for longer than is reasonably necessary.

Last week, we carried out an archive box shredding clearance for a client. The above photo shows the room at the start of the clearance. There is a tendency to store these in an archive storage room somewhere on site, to ensure they are retained for the appropriate periods.

Every business has an obligation not to keep personal data longer than is reasonably necessary, so it is important that companies have a regular destruction program in place, ensuring archived data is destroyed at regular intervals. We know it is so easy to let archived material build up, generally until space becomes an issue. It is important for businesses to realise however that the space is not the main issue, there are two more pressing concerns that should be considered.

Security
With large volumes of documents being stored past there required destruction dates, the task of information management becomes more complex. Put simply, the more data you have stored, the more complex it is to adequately manage this information and the more likely you are to have a data breach.

Compliance
The Data Protection Act 1998 places an obligation on businesses holding personal data to ensure that “Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.”. If your business is storing data via in house archiving, it is important that you have a process in place to ensure you satisfy this requirement of the Data Protection Act 1998. This requirement is enshrined under principle 5 of the Act.

While space is often the practical reason for wanting a secure clearance service from a shredding company such as us, it is actually security and
compliance breaches that have the potential to cause the greatest impact to businesses operations and indeed their profitability. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has the power to issue fines of up to £500,000 to businesses who breach the act and the average cost of a data breach has been shown to be over £2,000,000.

Here at The Shred Centre we can offer an archiving coding system for those companies who archive internally and combine this with an bi-annual destruction program for archived material that is no longer required. The system we use is simple and effective and has been applied to a number of organisations across all sectors.

Contact us today on 01388 448160 for more information. We can also offer a free site survey and no obligation quotation.

For more information on Principle 5 and The Data Protection Act 1998 click here