Forty personal data breaches were reported to The Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) in the two months up to 22 April 2019, with almost all (35) occurring due to human error.
The reports received indicate that human error poses the greatest risk to organisations’ safe handling ofpersonal data. Whilst the majority of breaches were of a low-level with no further action required, the ODPA has an ongoing caseload and a number will be subject to further investigation.
The Bailiwick’s Data Protection Commissioner, Emma Martins, commented on the trends observed in thenature of the breaches reported.
“This period continues to demonstrate a trend of human error being one of the biggest hurdles to good data protection and there is much work to be done to better understand this and how best to mitigate it. We are focused on what we can learn from the breaches reported to us by the regulated community and how we can use this information to predict and prevent future breaches and in turn how best to prevent harm.”
Acknowledging the human error factor in data breaches, the ODPA has reiterated advice it first issued in October 2018 which include taking all reasonable precautions to avoid complacency in the workplace by reminding staff to slow down, and double check recipients of emails and documentation.
Mrs Martins also confirmed that nearly half of recent breaches were reported by the Bailiwick’s financial sector.
“It is no surprise that 18 of the 40 breaches reported have come from the finance sector as this part of the local economy employs ~22%1 of the island’s workforce and is well-accustomed to adhering to tight regulatory standards. It is reassuring to us that this sector is taking its statutory obligation to report personal data breaches to us seriously.”
All organisations are encouraged to take a proactive approach to their breach reporting obligations in the knowledge that this will assist them in understanding and managing their own risk, as well as providing the ODPA with valuable information to support its work.