The Information Commissioner is urging SMEs to check they have the right data protection practices in place to help sustain and develop their businesses.

The UK regulator says getting good data practices in place from the start will save businesses time and money, and boost customer confidence.

A recent survey, commissioned by the ICO reveals that 91 percent of people worried about having their personal information sold to other companies without their consent, and 87 percent worried about a company losing their personal information. And this is not surprising considering a survey by the DMA found that only 10 per cent of SME leaders felt that they were complaint with current data protection laws. Another shocking report found that half of SME employees who leave a business take confidential customer data with them to their new company.

In addition to the legal requirement, good data protection makes economic sense streamlining processes and boosting productivity as well as building strong relationships with customers by demonstrating to them that their personal information is being treated correctly

The ICO is therefore making clear what businesses should do to make sure they are looking after people’s personal information properly and fairly by promoting the SME Hub

However, with the government (and in particular the Prime Minister) supporting SMEs through the 90 per cent funded Help to Grow programme which has seen thousands of SMEs business leaders graduate through the course over the last 18 months, it feels like the ICO should insist on more of a data focus being placed in the programme. Currently there are just two slides dedicated to data protection and security which are tucked into the back of Module 2!

In the meantime, we offer a suite of data solutions which enable SMEs to cost effectively keep their customer data up to date, which is a key element of Article 5 of GDPR, and an area which is often overlooked by smaller businesses. If you need help with your data management, give us a call as we can convert your customer from being a regulatory nightmare into one of your biggest assets!