Security from the top
The Data Protection Act requires that “appropriate technical organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data” and The Bar Council states that monetary penalties of up to £500,000 may be imposed in the event of serious contravention of these Data Protection Principles. On top of the financial risks for individual barristers, the reputational damage to Chambers is harder to put a figure on.
Paul Coote, Founder and Managing Director at Instant On IT, says: “The temptation is to always run out and buy the latest security products. By having those products we will somehow become immune to all risks. Having the right tools certainly helps, but clear policies set by management, that are founded on best practice, make good sense to all and are easy to adopt, always need to be the starting point.”
When Adobe was hacked not too long ago, the hackers reverse engineered the password list. Out of the millions and millions of usernames and passwords stolen, 1.3 million users had set their password to be 123456, closely followed by 1234567 and adobe123. Google’s research into their users passwords found that 1/6 of their user base were using their pet’s name. This makes it all pretty easy to hack if you want to log into somebody’s account, or steal their license keys, or read their email.
As we discussed at our recent IT Security seminar, so much of our life is posted online these days, it is fairly simple to gain a whole profile of somebody just by looking at standard free websites. A great example is one company only asking for the month of your birth, another asking for the day. Together with your school record listed in Facebook, somebody can quickly work out your date of birth. Of course if you post pictures of Rover the family dog on Facebook, then there is a good chance that 1 in 6 people are using ‘Rover’ as the password to Google right now.
Chambers need to start with policies that both protect and are easy to adopt. The right tools then help reduce risks further, making it easier to implement safer and more secure systems. This is why, having helped our clients establish a robust password policy for example, many of our clients are using or considering using two factor authentication to add an extra layer of security on top of the ‘Rover’ password.
Notes for Editors
Instant On IT
Conveniently located in central London, Instant On IT has developed a reputation for IT service excellence over the last 10 years. Our expertise spans IT Support and Maintenance, Cloud Services and Consultancy in sectors that include legal, private equity, accountancy, recruitment and media.
Amongst our legal clients are Chambers such as Littleton Chambers, Cloisters and 6KBW, as well as law firms such as Ferguson Snell & Associates.
Aside from our technical brilliance, clients say it’s our values and the way we work that sets us apart from competitors. We continue to practice: Integrity, Quality, Dedication and Flexibility.
Our approach, is to really get under the skin of clients’ businesses and act in their best interest at all times. This ensures that the solutions we craft, implement and maintain are tailor-made to our client’s business and its commercial landscape.
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Government proposes new law to jail doctors and nurses if convicted of wilful negligence
By Mark Bowman of Field Fisher Waterhouse, solicitors
In my personal opinion I believe it is was positive move by the Government when they recently proposed plans to jail doctors and nurses for up to five years, if convicted of wilful negligence. This comes amidst fears that hundreds of patients have died unnecessarily at Mid Staffordshire between 2005 and 2009
The British Medical Association have argued that these moves will make health professionals defensive and fearful of speaking out against their colleagues if they thought they would go to jail as a result. However, I welcome the move as more needs to be done to safeguard our population from substandard healthcare. In my work as a partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse, clients frequently tell me that it is not the compensation that they are after, but rather they want to see sanctions imposed on those responsible for their injuries. It is important that we aim to prevent further injury of patients through medical negligence.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt stated that we need to ‘face up to the hard truths’ and that a profound transformation in the culture of the government’s free healthcare system was needed. The introduction of such a law would go some way to making this transformation come to fruition. With regards to the comments provided by the BMA, I would hope that the opposite would in fact be true and that the threat of sanctions would lead to a more open and transparent healthcare system, to the benefit of all concerned.
The new laws would also make it a criminal offence for medical professionals to obstruct the treatment of patients by another professional, to mislead patients and families about such an incident, or lie to an investigator. After the treatment received by patients at the Stafford Hospital, where they were reportedly left in excrement-soiled bedclothes for lengthy periods of time, as well as staff treating patients close to them in a more favourable fashion, I find this ruling to be well overdue.
Whilst I take the comments of the BMA on board, it is unacceptable in modern day healthcare for patients to be treated like this, especially at a time when they are unable to look after themselves. Whilst there are laws to protect children and adults with mental illnesses, there is no such law for adults, which in my mind is unacceptable.
Exact details of the legislation have not been revealed, and it will go to a public consultation before needing to be passed through parliament. However this is a large step in the right direction of protecting patients from medical negligence. It is astounding that some of the practices that will be banned under the new law aren’t already, and this will shift our healthcare system towards one that favours those being treated for their illnesses.
Author name: Mark Bowman
Email address: Mark.Bowman@ffw.com