Data: What It Is, How It’s Used


Data: What It Is, How It’s Used

Rigorous Data Rules You Need to Follow

Data is an important part of running our businesses. There are numerous ways in which data needs to be controlled. We can’t simply just store data. There are rules that govern how the data is stored and used.

In this article, we’re looking at the data laws and how they can be followed.

What is Meant By Data

Data is a rather broad term and many people get confused over what is classed as data and what is not. For legal purposes, data means any information that can be used to identify an individual or company. For example, data can include:

  • Name
  • Age (or date of birth)
  • Address
  • Telephone number/email
  • Financial information
  • Social media details
  • Previous communications

This data can be stored in many different ways. Data can be stored as written notes, or it can be stored on a computer system (locally or via the cloud).

What are the Laws for Data?

There are numerous laws about data with processing and storage. These laws are worded differently and included in numerous acts globally. However, generally the laws all cover the same principles, which include:

  • All data must be used fairly, lawfully and transparently.
  • Data can only be used fairly, lawfully and transparently.
  • Usage of data must be relevant and limited to what is essential for the task.
  • Can only use data for the specific reasons stated at collection).
  • All records should be accurate and kept up-to-date.
  • Data should be deleted or destroyed when it is no longer necessary.
  • There should be an identifiable data office in the company who is responsible for storage and handling.
  • Data should be protected from:
    • Malicious use
    • Accidental loss, damage or destruction
    • Unauthorised access, theft or third-party contamination of the data.
    • The data usage complies with UK and international laws.
  • If there is a breach, the owner must inform the authorities and those affected by the breach. 

Ways to Protect Yourself

It is critical to protect yourself from potential data issues. Companies and individuals can be fined significant amounts for improper use and storage. And 40-60% of small businesses are the target of cyber criminals every year, partly because their security is often easier to breach.

And more than half of all businesses that suffer a data theft don’t recover from the financial burden caused by it.

Protection is relatively simple. You must ensure the following:

  • That all data is secured. Include unique passwords for each system and database.
  • Destroy irrelevant data that is not required.
  • You could store data offline.
  • Have a data audit of your business.
  • Use secure systems like MailChimp.
  • Don’t share data.
  • Collect only essential information.
  • Ensure there are adequate disposal options in your business.


Want to learn more about digital rules? Check out our video and written courses: Keeping Things Professional and Social Media Rules

Data is probably where most businesses, freelancers and even employees fail in the world. Most employees probably throw away data that could be classified under a data breach, especially if an unauthorised person gained access to the rubbish.

Therefore, you need to ensure you are protecting your data and using it only for what is essential for your business.

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