FOIA request finds that data breach problem has got a lot worse over the last five years

News by Dan Raywood

The amount of data breaches in the UK has increased by more than 1,000 per cent in the past five years.

The amount of data breaches in the UK has increased by more than 1,000 per cent in the past five years.

According to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), there has been a major increase in the number of self-reported data breaches occurring each year since 2007.

The biggest culprit is local government, where data breaches have increased by 1,609 per cent, with the next largest increases coming from other public sector organisations (1,380 per cent) and the private sector (1,159 per cent). NHS data breaches have increased by 935 per cent, and central government breaches are up by 13 per cent.

From November 2007 to November 2008, local governments reported just 11 data breaches, but by 2012 this figure had grown to 188. In total, data breaches reported in 2007/8 amounted to 79, while in 2011/12 it was 821.

Nick Banks, head of EMEA and APAC at Imation's mobile security business, who requested the Freedom of Information Act data, said that the massive increase in just five years was "fairly startling".

“The figures seem to show that increasing financial penalties have had little effect on the amount of data breaches each year. Undoubtedly there are some mitigating circumstances that have contributed to the rise in annual data breach numbers, such as the introduction of mandatory reporting in certain sectors, plus the increasing amounts of data being stored and accessed, but none of these factors obscures the clear trend of constant increases,” he said.

“The latest full-year figures show that there were 821 data breaches in the UK in 2011/2012, which is deeply worrying. Organisations must take responsibility for preventing breaches, and with so much available technology there really is no excuse for failing to adequately protect data.”

Read the Imation whitepaper on 'Coping with a data loss' and data tiering here.

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