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22 May 2014

Ooops! Learning the value of Data Protection

It's been a busy time, as ever,  now with moving house (new study - yay) to be a little nearer to Lincoln.  Walls are being painted, floors laid, while tenders are going out, courses written, and Dr D Senior engrossed in an intensive contract.  Last Friday, what with all this and building and moving the pigeon lofts (do you know about these yet??),  we took joy in relaxing in front of the TV with a nice glass of red.

Then the pin came out of the hand grenade.

"Have you seen my briefcase?'"  Dr D idly said, as we chilled out.  A slight tremor rippled through my veins. No, I hadn't.

"Okay. Must have left it at the new house," he said, as the routine was for him to drop by there as he came home to present and soon to be redundant quarters. We topped up our vats and continued to chill.

So when I had a phone call the next day to say that no, he hadn't found it, and imagined that he might have left it in the gents or the restaurant in the building he was working in - a building with massive footfall I might add -  the grenade was unexpectedly live, and  the tremor in my veins resumed. So much so that when the phone call ended, I must confess to an increased heart rate and an expletive or two.

I was not in the least concerned about the monetary value of the contents of the briefcase, the laptop, various other gadgets, the briefcase itself. No. My first question to myself was:

Was there any sensitive data in there not yet encrypted?

This would not have been the case two years ago, before I had been trained by the excellent Mike Martin and Paul Adams, previously of Admar,  now of Griffin House Consultancy, in the principles and demands of the Data Protection Act.  Prior to that, I hadn't fully integrated how much we needed to know, imagining that DPA was for bigger companies.  This ridiculous misapprehension, despite being reasonably intelligent and priding myself on ethical practice.

Training in DPA was a delight.  Mike and Paul produce a cracking course, and being the gents that they are, have made it interactive, interesting and fun. And I learned a shedload, to protect my clients, and my business.

So on that fateful Saturday morning, I knew that I had been utilising my learning,  yet I just had that niggle - was Dr D Snr's vigilance up to scratch?  My mind ran overtime.  What if he hadn't yet complied between the morning note taking and the afternoon loss?  What if someone found the laptop and discovered access to some high powered confidential information?  What if we were sued?  What if we lost the possibility of future work?  What if we had unwittingly compromised a client?

I needn't have worried.  Further investigation revealed that no data had been unlawfully accessible, as himself had complied to what we had learned. Not only that, some kind person had in fact discovered said briefcase and handed it in to the security officer.  Phew.  Aren't people great.

Thank you then to Griffin House Consultancy.  Before undertaking the course, I think we might have been in hot water last Friday. As it was, we experienced merely a little ripple in the waters.

I would recommend ALL business owners to go on one of the courses.  I know that there is one in Mansfield in June, and you can find details through the following LINK   Then you can be confident that you have protected your clients and yourself. And, you'll have a bit of fun and gain good networking.

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