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Understanding the Importance of Data Protection for New Businesses

With the Covid-19 crisis leaving the economy in turmoil and more than 800,000 people out of a job, the New Year heralds a fresh start for Britain’s entrepreneurs.

Around 56,000 new businesses are expected to start-out this month – which is almost 2,000 a day.

Harper James Solicitors, which specialises in advising ambitious businesses through each stage of their development, will be supporting many of these new enterprises as they embark on this exciting first stage of their business journey.

Those legal services – alongside the professional advice from its team of experts – will give these start-ups the very best chance of achieving their goals.

In today’s online driven world, data is becoming one of-if, not the most- important aspects of any business. As such, today’s entrepreneurs must understand just why data and data protection should be on the top of your priority list if you’re considering starting a new business in 2021.

David Sant, Data Protection Expert at Harper James Solicitors.

Harper James Solicitors’ Data Protection Expert, David Sant (pictured right) exclusively shares his tips on what to remember when starting out.

Appropriate handling of data is a key part of any business activity – from client lists to customer details, almost all start-ups will process data in their business’s initial stages. GDPR rules can be confusing at times; however, the security of data, both client and internal needs to be paramount for companies.

“It might seem a headache when you are just starting out – but being mindful from day one that all businesses must comply with data protection is vital. There is often a misconception that small businesses do not have a duty to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), or that they don’t have to worry as much about keeping personal data secure – this isn’t the case.

“If your business uses or processes personal data of customers, suppliers, or staff, you will need to understand the effect of data protection laws from the outset. Regardless of the size of your business, you will still have the same legal obligations to process personal data lawfully and transparently; to keep it secure and to comply with the other data protection principles. ”

In the case of a data breach or unlawful disclosure, the consequences faced by businesses may include ICO fines, a loss of credibility or even compensation claims from affected customers. So it’s worthwhile taking legal advice to understand your obligations early on.

“Unfortunately, we often see businesses fail to realise the importance of data protection and the need to safeguard confidential information until after it has been unlawfully disclosed.

“With robust data protection and security practices in place, businesses can reduce their legal risk. It may seem simple but, use of passwords, file encryption and safe storage of hard copies are all necessary but often overlooked measures.”

Due to the remote working arrangements implemented by many businesses across the country, it has become more common that employees are in possession of sensitive or confidential information and able to access personal data from their own homes – necessitating tighter security measures, such as remote encryption services.

David added: “It’s imperative to look at personal data held by employees, especially while there is an increased level of working from home. Businesses should be asking whether it is absolutely necessary for those employees to be able to access the data from home. And if so, whether the security arrangements in place are adequate. This is crucial when an employee departs the business – people often amass a significant amount of confidential information and access to data over the course of their employment, so it is prudent to take the time to ensure that all information and data is deleted from personal devices and any hard copies returned to the business.”

“Taking the time to consider what confidential information and personal data a business possess, who has access to it and what legal and practical provisions are in place to prevent wrongful disclosure can save a lot of time, expense, and risk further down the line.”

To find out more about how to protect your data against security breaches, visit

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