The true implications of poor data disposal

Data is without doubt one of the most valuable resources any company possesses, and failure to dispose of it properly is liable to have dire implications for you, your employees and your customers. Depending on the severity of your data protection shortfalls and the results for your customers, the impact could range anywhere from an inconvenience to a fatal blow for your business.

Proper data disposal methods are surprisingly easy, affordable, and convenient. There’s no excuse for a business to shirk their responsibility to handle their customer’s data properly. If they do, they’re liable to encounter the following consequences.

Poor brand image

This is arguably the lesser of the implications that could come about from a data breach resulting from poor data disposal practices, but it’s still one you want to avoid at all costs. Would you ever do business with a company that might mishandle your data? No. Neither will your customers.

Once your brand has an image of being unreliable and offering poor levels of data security, you face a mountain to climb in terms of winning back positive public opinion. Your customers will quickly find more secure alternatives, putting your business in potentially serious dire straights.

Customer litigation

If customers’ private information comes into the hands of thieves thanks to your negligence, the results could be severe if they decide to sue you. Court cases aren’t known for being quick or cheap in most cases. Is that time and money your business can afford?

Say you decide to settle as an alternative to fighting the case. Not only will the settlement likely be exceptionally expensive, but you will have also admitted your guilt publicly, which will serve to tarnish your business’s reputation and make finding new customers much more difficult.

Legislative punishments

Have you read the small print for most data protection legislation? If not, it’s advisable you do so as soon as possible, because it makes for scary reading. If you’re not already convinced that diligent data disposal is essential for every business, that will surely do it.

The penalties for negligent handling of customer data vary, but none of them is remotely appealing – they range from heavy fines for relatively small transgressions through to outright prison time, depending on the severity of the incident. Proper data destruction takes minimal effort, and it’s a worthy investment to avoid a minefield.