5 Lessons from the Police Service Data Breaches

17 Aug, 2023

In the wake of recent personal data breaches by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Norfolk and Suffolk Police, it has highlighted the importance of implementing robust measures to protect personal information, especially when the data is sensitive.

1. Prioritising Staff Training

Staff training is vital, especially when involving the handling of sensitive data.  Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report revealed that 82% of data breaches involve human factors. Improving your team’s cybersecurity awareness can significantly reduce your risks. Incorporate training into your induction process and provide annual refresher courses. These sessions should include data handling requirements, associated risks, and established protocols.   

2. Restricting Access and Implementing Protective Measures

Not all employees require access to all your data. Strengthen your access controls to ensure your team only have access to the information relevant to their role. In these incidents like these recent breaches, password protection could have also reduced the risk of unauthorised access. Other restrictions include the use of two-factor authentication or data encryption.   

3. Consider Your Physical Assets

While the digital landscape dominates discussions around information security, the Northern Ireland incident serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding your physical assets too. Develop a comprehensive remote working policy if your team works off-site. Consider implementing measures such as security storage for sensitive documents, strong password policies for mobile devices, and the implementation of two-factor authentication.  

4. Nurture a Positive Cybersecurity Culture

A positive cybersecurity culture is essential for risk mitigation and helps to boost employee engagement. Not only does this encourage open communication about issues, but also enhances the likelihood of identifying problems. A positive culture will help you proactively address vulnerabilities and respond effectively to potential threats.  

5. Conduct Regular Security Audits for Continuous Improvement

Regular security audits are a cornerstone of proactive data protection. These assessments, whether undertaken internally or by a third party, offer valuable insights and opportunities for improvement.  When you conduct these audits really depends on how often you process data.  Some organisations could get away with annual audits, other will require these bi-annually or even quarterly.  This ensures ongoing resilience in an ever-changing environment.

As well as routine audits, conduct post-incident audits following any incident, no matter how minor. This will help you identify what went wrong and strategies to prevent re-occurrence.

The Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO) who uphold information rights can issue fines of up to €20 million or 4% of your annual worldwide turnover (whichever is greater), which could be detrimental to organisations. Management systems such as ISO 27001 Information Security can protect your business from risk, ensuring you keep your systems, data, and reputation intact. To learn more, contact our team today at 0330 058 5551 or get a free, no-obligation quote here.  

ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.

Do you want to get ahead of your competition? Win more tenders or save time and money on reoccurring issues? Contact us today on 0330 058 5551 or email info@isoqsltd.com.

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