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Opinion: Step up to the data security challenge

The data security issue rumbles on, and as we hear about more and more government ideas to reduce the risks of identity fraud and lost data, isn't it time we took a long hard look at whether we as an industry are doing our bit?

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Of course this is not a new subject.

We hear on a regular basis from companies pledging to do more to protect their data, and from officials calling for the safer transportation and management of information.

However, the truth is that many companies are still failing to take every precaution necessary to deliver accurate and safely protected data.

I am amazed at how many direct mailers still send data on non-encrypted disks, for example. This is such a huge risk, and assuming that the disks will be delivered safely or that passwords cannot be cracked is simply not good enough.

It's not just those responsible for sending the information. Print companies also need to be looking at how they store and process data, so that every step of the data handling process is carefully monitored.  

The key is to operate to a fully efficient and measured business model, which will not only ensure a high performance from the company, but will also tick the boxes in terms of securing data.

Celerity is currently investing huge amounts of time and money in securing our ISO 27001 standard, which goes well beyond what is set out by the Data Protection Act. Once we have this we will then move onto APACS 55.

We shouldn't be fooled into thinking that just because the industry is beginning to wake up to the problem, and measures are being taken, that the negative media attention around the issue will disappear. 

On the contrary, now is the time for us to ensure that no errors occur on any level -- if something goes wrong now, we stand to be even more heavily criticised.  

The authorities are becoming more stringent in their inspections and all contributors, especially print companies need to be consistently secure with data and invest the time and money required to avoid a breach.

Such measures will also help secure new business, which in a time of such economic uncertainty, is a vital issue.

As personalised direct mail reduces run lengths, printers will have to add value with data management services, but the controls need to be in place before anyone even considers that service. 

By providing a committed approach to data security and intelligent information management, companies will be able convince potential clients that they are a forward thinking, efficient and reliable partner.

No one wants to attract the wrong headlines.

Andrew Sawyer is sales director at Celerity

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