We all love the latest phone app, go gaga at the possibilities for social media marketing but have you ever tried getting people excited about IT

£500,000 fine for lost data!

security? It is always a tough task. It’s not sexy. It’s the equivalent of making sure the windows are shut before you lock up.

And maybe that’s why too many businesses still leave so much to chance. Well now there are 500,000 reasons to start taking security issues a little more seriously.

Companies can now by fined up to £500,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act under new powers granted to The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) by the Government.

The change has been made as more and more incidents come to light where organisations have been careless about properly securing the personal data of individuals — that can be information about your staff or your customers.

What this radical step indicates is that the Government has finally woken up to how damaging these security breeches could be for the individuals who have their data compromised.

For those businesses with lax procedures and scant regard for the information they carry about people this change in the law may the wake-up call they need to get things done more securely.

A hefty fine won’t simply hit them in the bank balance but will bring unwelcome publicity and make customers question whether they should stay loyal. I can even see some top executives ending up in the Job Centre if they foul up.

But, human nature being what it is, I don’t anticipate this change having a positive effect until we see some businesses actually being brought before the courts.

This whole situation is crazy. IT systems are in place to make businesses run smoother and, for a great many firms, their data is their business. So wouldn’t you think that making sure that data is not compromised or breeched would be a priority.

You wouldn’t dream of leaving the office door unlocked and the windows wide open when you leave at night but, if your IT security is ropey, you may as well do.

Small businesses and corporate giants alike need to make IT security a priority — there’s now 500,000 more reasons for them to do so.