I assume you keep some form of personal data in your business – customer details, supplier contacts, business card info. If you don’t, I would love to know what you do that means you do not have to keep contact information!
It is simple really: if you keep personal details of people you have to be registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). The data can be electronic or on paper, it doesn’t make a difference.
On the basis that there are over 5.5 million businesses, in which I include the self-employed, charities, CICs, bedroom business people and anyone who dabbles online, and 500,000 businesses are registered with the ICO, there is more than a 9 in 10 chance that you are not!
This is not a new thing – don’t go blaming GDPR and those bloody Eurocrats. There has been a requirement to be registered for several years now, but my guess is most of you probably didn’t know.
By the way, if you are in a partnership, all partners need to register individually!!!!
What If You Do Not Register?
If you do not pay the ICO fee you could face a penalty of £4,350.
Taking It Serious
Once you register, it doesn’t stop there.
You need to ensure that you are compliant across a few areas, but the most important ones are the management of your email lists/subscribers and the security of your systems.
If you keep spamming people who do not want your emails or your website/PC is hacked because you have not kept them up to date and protected there is a very good chance that you will be fined - you also have a legal obligation to inform the ICO if there is a data breach.
So, as much as I want to see a reduction in red tape for small businesses, whilst regulations like this are in place, I also want to ensure that you do not fall foul of them. For most businesses, the cost of registration is £40 (or £35 if you pay by direct debit). For more information please visit the ICO website here.
Did you know, if you were a member of Your Business Community, costs incurred defending civil proceedings for compensation under Section 13 of the Data Protection Act 1998 are covered by your membership (but you do have to be registered with the ICO!) - see here for more information.