The introduction of the Freedom of Information Act has led to an insight into the works of organisations everywhere and the media is regularly revealing their findings.

The local press last week focused on Telford & Wrekin Council, which has been named as one of the worst authorities in the country for losing sensitive documents – but there is often more to the story.

Privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch says there were 30 cases involving the possible loss of sensitive information over three years, making it the ninth worst offender for data loss.

Being subject to the Freedom of Information Act, Telford and Wrekin Council are in a fortunate position for us tax-payers in that we can find out that electronic information is being misplaced.

A Telford & Wrekin Council spokesman said the authority has information security policies that ensure that all information and the processing of that information is protected.

The fact that they do have considerable measures in place to protect data is also a good thing as by comparison, most small businesses have nothing at all.

This raises the question: how many businesses are losing sensitive data that we have no knowledge or record of?

Unfortunately many business owners across the county don’t take this approach and are too relaxed about data loss. They need to consider that it might be their own details left on a USB and picked up by someone.

It costs less than £100 to protect one laptop from data theft if it gets stolen but it can cost up to £500,000 if you end up facing the Information Commissioner.

Bespoke Computing Ltd offers a number of products specifically aimed at data protection including Disk Protect from Becrypt, an assured full disk encryption solution securing data on desktop and laptop PCs from theft and loss.

There are products readily available to businesses to help them protect data and avoid charges and we are always available to discuss options and give advice.