Two county councils fined by ICO over 'serious email errors'
Two county councils fined by ICO over 'serious email errors'

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published a new guide for small and medium-sized businesses on how they can make their IT systems safe and secure.

Available for download, the guide includes a checklist of actions and covers topics such as physical security, anti-virus and employee awareness.

It includes guidance on third parties and data governance and contains more detailed advice on: securing data on the move; keeping you and your systems up to date; keeping an eye out for problems; knowing what you should be doing; and minimising the data you keep.

Information commissioner Christopher Graham said: “While we recognise that the biggest companies and organisations will have many of these strategies already in place and have spent a great deal of money on securing their IT systems, smaller enterprises often tell us that they would benefit from simple and clear advice specifically designed for them.

“This guide aims to support these companies by providing a starting point and recommendations that cost little to adopt, but can significantly reduce the risks of a serious data loss and the reputational and financial damage that can result.

“Following this guidance is not just about minimising risk. Businesses that prioritise the safety of their customers' personal data will have a real competitive advantage.”

Mike Cherry, policy chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “It's important that the ICO have published this guidance specifically for small businesses. Good IT and data security should be part and parcel of good business practice and businesses should think about the simple steps that they can put in place to achieve this. The guidance should help businesses do this.”

In April, BT, the Cyber Security Challenge UK and Get Safe Online launched a joint competition that asked the public to come up with ways to communicate technical security issues in a simple and non-technical manner. The winning entry will be posted on the Get Safe Online website this year to be used as a resource for small businesses and offices.