Personal data of millions put at risk by councils with no disaster recovery plan

The personal data held by local authorities for over 3.5m people in the UK is not protected by a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan, according to research published by storage solutions provider FalconStor Software.

The lack of a DR plan could mean that should councils be affected by a cyber attack, equipment failure or human error, personal data could be permanently lost or fall into criminal hands.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request which covered 429 local authorities also revealed that despite previous examples of public sector data loss and the risks posed by issues such as ransomware and human error; over 50% of councils will make no further investment in disaster recovery this year – 4% will decrease.

Additionally the research highlighted that in the past 12 months 85% of councils have not had to use their DR plan, making it difficult to know whether or not the plan is effective or how long it takes to recover data. Despite this, nearly two-thirds of councils (63%) have a minimum target time in which to recover lost data. 5% of those respondents aim to have data back in one to two hours, 10% in half a day and the remainder in ‘a day or more’.

“In this digital day and age data is an increasingly important asset, so making sure you have a Disaster Recovery plan in place is essential,” says Tony Howard, Enterprise Strategy and Operations Manager at Beta Distribution. “If data is lost fines are likely to be handed out by the Information Commissioner’s Office and with key information, such as payment details and personal data, as well as services compromised, it is still important that councils plan ahead in order to protect their data – it is certainly better to prepare for the worst, rather than being caught off-guard.”

To view the full research report please visit the FalconStor website.

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