New appointments at Ocean Telecom

ocean-telecom-it-support-Shropshire-oswestry

Leading Shropshire telecoms and IT firm Ocean Telecom has expanded its team and welcomed two new faces to support its plans for growth in IT support and networking services.

David Jones and Ryan Griffiths have joined the team at their Oswestry office to bolster its managed IT network and support services. The pair have been supporting the IT of local businesses for the last two years in their previous role at another local firm.

IT services manager David, who lives in Oswestry has over 15 years’ experience in telecoms and IT networking, including with BT, Virgin Media and IBM. He is joined by Ryan from Ruabon, who takes on the role of IT networks and systems engineer after four years working in IT.

Ocean Telecom managing director, Jeremy Rose said: “These new appointments are an integral part of the business as we prepare to take on more IT work than ever before.

“David and Ryan bring a wealth of industry experience and will work closely together as we look to grow our market share of IT support in Shropshire and Wales.”

David said he was impressed with Ocean’s existing team and client base.  “I’m delighted to join Ocean Telecom. They’ve got a strong reputation for their knowledge and customer service and I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen here so far. I look forward to expanding the IT business without compromising on the high level of customer service Ocean Telecom’s customers expect.”

Ocean Telecom, who are based on Mile Oak Industrial Estate in Oswestry have been supporting local businesses with mobile, telephone, IT support, email and web hosting for over 20 years.

As the relationship between IT and telecoms continues to strengthen, with the rise in popularity of hosted IP technology, the firm is replacing more and more traditional landlines with hosted IP solutions.

To find out more about the IT networking and support services offered by Ocean Telecom, call 01691 661177 or visit www.oceantele.com.

Ocean Telecom scoops top award

ocean_telecom_award_winner

An independent business telecoms provider from Oswestry has won a prestigious industry award from one of its suppliers.

Ocean Telecom, based on Mile Oak Industrial Estate, was awarded with the Best Premium Partner Performance on EE at Mainline’s Annual Partner Conference on 7 March 2019.

As a Premium Partner since 2010, the team at Ocean Telecom has grown from strength to strength, serving local businesses with the best mobile telecoms solutions, brilliant technical support and excellent customer service. Its longstanding relationship with airtime distributor Mainline Digital Communications has been built on trust, reliability and hard work and the prestigious award recognises the outstanding contribution that the team has delivered.

“Ocean Telecom fully deserves its best premium performance award on EE,” said Gail Eddery, head of sales and marketing at Mainline. “This award is a testament to the expertise, hard work and strong partnership Ocean Telecom has built with Mainline and EE over the last few years. We are thrilled to award it to Jeremy and the team.”

Jeremy Rose, managing director at Ocean Telecom said: “We are delighted to have won the award in recognition of the hard work the team here put in every day.

“Our partnership with Mainline and EE has enabled the team to deliver great mobile solutions for our customers and continue to put Ocean Telecom at the forefront of telecoms provision in the Shropshire, Wrexham and Powys area.”

Ocean Telecom is one of the region’s leading telecoms providers, supporting businesses with mobile, broadband, landline, email and hosting.

To find out more, visit www.oceantele.com or call 01691 661166.

Ocean team scale three of UK’s highest peaks in 24 hours for charity

Three adventurous men from Ocean Telecom have raised over £3500 by scaling the UK’s three highest mountains in under 24 hours.

Jeremy Rose, Sean Bolas and Robin Talbot who all work together at the telecoms firm on Maesbury Road Industrial Estate took on the Three Peaks challenge on Friday 8 June, for The Movement Centre charity in Oswestry.

They were joined by colleagues Darren Lavender and Simon Calloway who volunteered to drive the long miles between each mountain.

The dynamic team spent the months leading up to the challenge fundraising around the industrial estate to reach the total and money continues to come in from supporters.

Speaking after completing the challenge, Jeremy Rose said: “We started at 8am on Friday morning at Ben Nevis, the weather was warm and sunny and we managed to get up and down in four hours 40 minutes. There was even some snow at the top to cool us down.  After, we headed straight to Scafell Pike in the Lake District, but hit bad traffic and lost 30 minutes of our time.

“We started climbing Scafell Pike, the weather was good and the traditional mist and rain of the Lake District didn’t show up. We had to really push ourselves to climb this due to the loss of time and instead of our scheduled time of four hours to get up and down we managed to do it in three hours 20 minutes by climbing as fast as we could.

“We then drove through the night to Snowdon, however with the M6 closed, we were diverted losing 40 minutes of time. Arriving at Snowdon the adrenaline kicked in and we managed to get up and down in three hours 50 minutes, completing the challenge in a very respectable 22 hours 50 minutes.

“My favourite mountain was definitely Scafell Pike, it was the toughest but the most satisfying to conquer in such a short time. As well as being a fantastic team building exercise, we’re all really pleased to have raised so much money for The Movement Centre.”

Victoria Handbury-Madin, head of fundraising and marketing at The Movement Centre said: “Completing the Three Peaks Challenge is a fantastic achievement, one that the team from Ocean Telecom took on with amazing enthusiasm. The Movement Centre are delighted to be Ocean Telecom’s Charity Partner and we are extremely grateful for their fantastic support. As a charity, we rely on the kind support of donors and fundraisers, which is why the funds raised through the challenge will make such a difference to our work with children with movement disabilities.”

Jeremy ends: “We are absolutely thrilled not only to have completed the challenge as a team, but that our loyal customers supported us so generously. The Movement Centre is a very worthy cause and we are delighted we could help fundraise for them.”

To donate to the fundraising effort, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jeremy-rose3

The basics about security and anti-virus software

Security and anti-virus software has an essential role. This is to protect your company’s servers and computers. It detects, blocks and removes viruses, spyware and malware (malicious software including ransomware) before it can do lasting damage.

What does security and anti-virus software do?

Security software aids your company computers and keeps your network secure. This is done by examining files and data for anything that looks suspicious. Security packages will:

  • Monitor files
    As soon as files are opened, the software analyses the file to ensure they haven’t been infected by a known virus or piece of malware.
  • Monitor your computer’s network and internet connection
    This is in case malicious software or hackers are trying to connect to your system.
  • Check files as they enter your network
    This is usually by scanning email attachments and downloaded files.
  • Periodically scanning
    This includes all the data on your computer, in case any undetected malware is lurking there.

Do I need security software for my Mac?

Apple Macs have been known for suffering from fewer security problems than Windows computers. However, Apple’s market share has grown and so has the number of threats. In addition, it’s always best to run security software on your Mac.

Security and anti-virus software reduces the risk of unsuspectingly passing viruses. Whether it’s onto colleagues or contacts that have Windows computers.

Viruses and malware can spread via infected websites, emails and files sent to your business. The software identifies these threats by comparing files on your computer to the electronic ‘signatures’ of known viruses.

Although security software can reduce the chance of your business suffering a virus infection, it’s not watertight. Most packages only protect reliably against known threats. It can take more than just security and anti-virus software to stay safe.

It won’t stop physical threats like:

Thieves stealing your server,

A dishonest employee stealing your company database,

A fire damaging your IT equipment.

You need a robust security plan, IT policies, good staff training and a backup system to guard against data loss and theft.

Types of security software

There are many security and anti-virus packages around. Most offer similar core protection:

  • Virus and malware protection
  • A firewall
  • Email protection

It’s easier to get a package offering all these functions in one. There are two main types of software:

Standalone security software

This must be installed and managed on each individual computer. It’s good for companies with up to five computers. It’s most of all managed on an individual basis. The only problem is that it can give your staff more freedom to disable protection or updates. Therefore can leave your business at greater risk of infection.

Centralised security software

These packages give you a central control panel to manage the protection of all your computers. Setting up a centralised package requires expertise. It works out cheaper and more effective for businesses with more than five computers.

Every computer and server in your business should be protected by security software. Furthermore, you should consider installing it on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. This is if they hold critical data.

Choosing anti-virus and security software

Security and virus protection is so critical, it’s important you choose software from a reputable company. A good IT supplier will be able to advise on the best option for your business. There are a few decent free packages available, however, there may be light on features or only really suitable for home use.

Updates

Once you’ve set up your security software, you must keep it up to date. New threats emerge daily, so the software should check for updated signatures at least once a day. After the first year or two, you’ll probably have to pay a monthly or annual fee to receive updates. Do not be tempted to cancel the subscription, as a result, will leave you vulnerable to new threats – which are evolving all the time.

Call us today to find out more information on security and anti-virus software available for your business on 01691 661166 or read more:

IT networking & support

Which is best for your business In-house or outsourced IT support?

In-house or outsourced IT support can be hard to choose which is right for your business. Both options have their advantages, but you need to be certain before you make a decision.

In-house IT support

The Benefits

Developing an IT helpdesk in-house has its benefits. With the right background and continued training, your support team can build up in-depth, specialised knowledge of your company’s particular IT set up and systems. An in-house team can be a benefit if you have implemented specialised systems that can’t be found elsewhere. This brings comprehensive knowledge of the system within the business. Your IT support team will also be available to solve problems quickly and efficiently on site.

Disadvantages

IT support training costs money. To stay current in the ever-changing world of technology your staff will need to undergo constant training and possibly have examinations. You have to pay a regular salary to your IT support staff. Figure on at least £28,000 a year each (more in London). Experienced IT managers will expect to earn much more.

It can be tricky providing holiday and sickness cover, too. What happens if one member of your two-person IT support team is on holiday, and the other is sick? You may also need an on-call rota, to deal with problems out of hours. Really you shouldn’t just rely on one or two people to run your in-house support. Even the most experienced IT engineer will lack expertise in some areas. In-house or outsourced IT support can be hard to choose you need one that covers all the bases.

Outsourced IT support

The Benefits

Outsourced IT support is more cost-effective than creating an in-house helpdesk. An internal helpdesk requires at least two salaried staff members – and maybe more, depending on your company’s size.

Outsourced IT support can be priced in different ways, but as a rough guide you can expect to pay anything between £15 per user per month and £350 a month to provide outsourced IT support to up to ten users depending on the location and level of support required. This price would include management of your company server (if you have one on-site), plus all your desktop computers, laptops, tablets and possibly even company smartphones. Many businesses find that outsourced IT support is clearly the better option.

Outsourced IT support gives you access to a larger scope of expertise. If you choose a good IT support company, they’ll have staff with experience and qualifications in a whole range of areas.  Outsourced IT support company should always be able to find someone to help, no matter what your requirements. There are other good reasons to choose outsourced IT support. It frees up time for people in your business to focus on the day-to-day running and growth.

Disadvantages

There are a lot of advantages however, there are still a few disadvantages to outsourcing your technical support. Before you make your final decision, it’s important to understand the following disadvantages.

There is potential for hiring the wrong technical support company. If you hire a company not capable of living up to the promises made or a company overseas, you may run into issues. Some companies will advertise services and even accept projects in areas they simply don’t have much experience in. Less Control as well, so you won’t be overseeing the support on a day-to-day basis.

There are a few disadvantages to outsourcing technical support. However, you can avoid these disadvantages by working with companies providing only UK call centres with experience in your area. In-house or outsourced IT support both have their advantages and disadvantages it all comes down to your business.

Technical support can be quite a tricky job. You need to provide support to your clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This means you either spend a ton of money staffing a call centre or you outsource the support to a third party. You need to figure out which is best for your business In-house or outsourced IT support? Call or drop in today to find out more about our IT networking & support.

Business broadband and dedicated leased line

Broadband comes in lots of different ways, from ADSL and FTTC to full fibre. A popular one is the leased line. If your business needs ultra-reliable, high bandwidth internet it’s the best option for you.

What is a leased line?

A leased line is a dedicated connection to the internet. You don’t share it with anyone else, so you never have to fight for bandwidth with your neighbours. Speeds on leased lines can range from 10Mbps all the way up to 1Gbps and beyond. Suppliers like Ocean give you the flexibility to increase bandwidth as and when you need it.

What are the benefits of leased lines?

With normal broadband, speeds can vary as other users go online. Crowding can slow down the speed of your internet traffic, especially if you are trying to move large amounts of data or host a large and busy website. Leased lines don’t have this issue and can be very fast. You can also have faster upload speeds as well if you are uploaded data.

A major benefit as well is that the leased lines are symmetric. That means that the upload speed matches the download speed. The speed at which you can transmit data matches the speed at which you can receive it.

What would I use a leased line for?

Not only are leased lines fast, they’re also stable. They are a great solution if you:

  • Host a website,
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN),
  • Carry phone calls
  • Need to connect different corporate sites together,
  • Employ remote workers who need to connect regularly to your company network.

Do I need a leased line?

This depends on how critical a stable and reliable internet connection is to your business, and how heavy your internet use is. If your business depends on the internet for high bandwidth activities, it is certainly worth considering. Leased lines tend to offer far more in the way of performance and availability guarantees than standard business broadband.

A dedicated leased line provides a private fixed bandwidth point-to-point data connection. It’s used to connect offices to the Internet, and to link offices to other offices. And it’s perfect for business use. Leased lines are exclusively for your company’s use. The bandwidth is reserved solely for you, at all times.

Many business applications need substantial amounts of data to be sent upstream, and a leased line ensures there’s far more upstream bandwidth available than there would be if you had a standard ADSL connection.

CASE STUDY: Beaumont Financial Planners

IT support_business_ mobiles_broadband_Shropshire

Key Facts

  • IT infrastructure for a brand-new office building
  • Overhaul of existing IT system and equipment
  • Mobiles, broadband and hosted IP

Beaumont

Beaumont Financial Planners is a firm of independent financial advisers based in Oswestry. They have been providing financial planning solutions for their clients for over 15 years. Their team consist of qualified financial planners backed by a professional team of support staff.

From their Oswestry base, they cover the whole of Shropshire, Cheshire, North Wales and the Midlands, offering services such as cash flow modelling, pensions, savings and investments and estate planning.

Beaumont aim to be the number one choice for independent financial advice across all services. They pride themselves in investing client funds with integrity, honesty and professionalism to maximise long term returns in the most tax efficient manner while delivering exceptional client service every step of the way.

The Challenge

Beaumont has experienced a period of expansion as a result of organic growth and was in the process of acquiring additional office space to accommodate the growing operation. To ensure a smooth transition and ongoing collaborative working between the office locations, the company wanted an IT system that would connect the two sites for secure file sharing and to expand their current hosted IP telecoms system to increase efficiency and control costs.

The company also wanted an ongoing IT support package which could deliver instant support for any staff member when and where they need it.

The Solution

Ocean Telecom has been working with Beaumont since 2013, supplying mobile phones, landlines, broadband and hosted IP. As Shropshire’s leading provider of specialist communications solutions, Ocean Telecom recommended expanding the current hosted IP provision with additional handsets, proving their ease of scalability. Additional benefits of hosted IP include:

  • Free local and national calls
  • Free standard calls to UK mobiles*
  • Better business continuity
  • Economies of scale by using a single internet connection
  • Work from anywhere with a single phone number

Ocean Telecom was approached to provide the IT networking for Beaumont’s offices – which, alongside the existing telecoms provision – would provide a totally unified communications package.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) was installed which would allow a secure connection between sites. Powerful PCs with integrated Office 365, 30 exchange email accounts and premium business security were supplied.

Following the installation of the network and PCs at the new site, Ocean performed a health check on the original office building equipment and discovered the main server hard drives were performing very poorly and a temporary fix was applied while new equipment was ordered.

The final part of the project was to provide the highest level of ongoing IT managed services both remotely and with onsite support included.

According to Mark Evans of Beaumont Financial Planners: “Our IT and communications systems are vital in providing a first-class service to our clients. Ocean’s approach in proactively supporting our telecoms over the years has allowed us to seamlessly expand the team without interruption to our services. Their enthusiastic approach impressed us from the start, consistently and promptly meeting our needs, suggesting better ways of working and in turn helping us to achieve our business objectives. The addition of IT support has been a big boost and having a single point of contact for all our IT and communications has already proved valuable.”

Ocean’s Approach

  • Unified communications package
  • Cost effective
  • Dedicated account manager
  • Telephone and on-site support
  • Delivery and set-up on site
  • Proactive support

5G, the strong business mobile data connection

Everyone in the tech and telecoms sector is talking about the mobile data connection in the UK compared to other countries around the EU and Europe. The new fast mobile data connections are being trialled around the world at the moment. This may still take a while until it makes it to our phones.

Network providers globally are getting ready to test 5G networks throughout 2018. The first 5G-ready smartphones expected to be released early next year.  Super-fast mobile streaming could be just around the corner.

If everything goes to plan, the idea is that 5G will bring us broadband-equivalent download speeds over mobile networks. No more waiting for videos to buffer or web pages to load. It can even make it easier for driverless cars to transfer vast amounts of data really quickly. If you can get a mobile signal, of course.

It’s still not clear which manufacturers and networks will upgrade to 5G first, or how long it’ll take. Here’s everything you need to know about the slow shift to 5G.

What is 5G?

5G networks will be able to handle more data and connect more devices simultaneously. All at faster speeds than is possible using existing technology. Current 4G download speeds max out at around 50 megabits per second. 5G networks have been demonstrated that run at up more than 100 times that speed.

With a good 5G connection, you’d be able to stream a 4K video straight to your smartphone with no lag at all.

5G networks can handle loads of devices at one time.  This makes it handy for connecting together a large amount of Internet of Things devices in smart buildings and cities.

Why is it so much faster than 4G?

All the existing mobile networks use radio waves. However, 5G is faster because it uses bits of the electromagnetic spectrum that aren’t currently being used by other kinds of network. There have been new developments in receiver and transmitter technology. This allows 5G networks to communicate using very high and very low-frequency waves which, until recently, was impossible using existing technology.

When will we get 5G?

Right now, there’s not a single 5G-ready smartphone on the market, but Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC and 14 other phone manufacturers have already announced that they’re working with the chip manufacturer Qualcomm to bring out 5G-ready devices in 2019.

A widespread of mobile manufacturers, including Vodafone, Verizon and AT&T are already trialling 5G networks powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 50 Modem. While some operators, such as AT&T, are hoping to develop full 5G networks by the end of 2018, others are taking a slower approach. Vodafone has plans to start by trialling radio towers that transmit 4G and 5G before it considers switching over to full-5G networks. These dual towers have the benefit of offering the reliable range and coverage of 4G while adding the huge speed increases that come with 5G.

 

Business phone systems: The features

For small start-ups, setting up your hosted business telephone service can be as easy as setting up a phone in your home.

If you’re a larger company or a company that plans for growth, your phone service may need an update. You’ll need to consider how many users you’ll likely have, what calling features you’ll require, and how many long-distance or international calls you’ll likely be making and receiving.

How does it work?

Hosted and managed IP telephony service runs on highly-resilient and secure next-generation network and provides the functionality
of a high-end telephone system. With no physical on-site
switch. To connect to it all you need is a reliable, quality voice IP connection.

Usage

Business lines are used a lot more than residential lines, this is why it is important to have a hosted phone for professionality. Businesses rely on phone lines for daily communication with customers, clients and co-workers across the country or around the globe. Your business may need to make more long-distance or international calls, so it’s important to evaluate how you will be using your business line before selecting a plan.

Equipment

The hosted IP telephones are a bit more complicated than your standard landline. While your home phone might include features like an answering machine, speakerphone and caller-id, your business phone will need to be able to handle multiple lines, call-forwarding, conferencing and other features.

If you’re using a VoIP service provider for your business telephone service, you will need to purchase digital IP phones. These allow you to take advantage of the wide range of services VoIP has to offer. We can help you decide which equipment is most suited to your needs.

Call features

Residential lines may only need one or two phone lines that have more limited calling features. It would include voicemail, call waiting and 3-way calling. For a small start-up or home-based businesses, these features might be enough to get by. However, for a company with plans for growth you need to think about the future.

Most businesses require multiple lines and more features from their phone service, including call forwarding, automated call handling, extension dialling, conference calling, dial-by-name directory, fax and more. To determine which call features would be the most useful for your business, it’s important to estimate the volume of calls you believe you might receive at any given time. If you expect to receive multiple calls simultaneously, a two-line residential phone wouldn’t be able to accommodate the high call traffic.

Phone numbers

The process for assigning phone numbers to a residential line compared to a business line is essentially the same. Unless you purchased a unique number for your business. Unique numbers can be randomly assigned, but most companies offer business owners the chance to pick an easy-to-remember vanity number.

For a more professional image and make it easier for your customers to get in touch with you (and easier for you to identify incoming business-related calls), setting up a separate number for your business is wise. You won’t have to use your personal number of marketing materials or risk having your anyone else answering business-related calls.

Ideal for home and flexible working

Perfect for homeworkers or staff on the move that need to work productively whilst out of the office. Hosted IP makes flexible working a reality.  In business, it is often employees need to be in other parts of the country. With VoIP platform, you can choose a number from a wide range of both geographical and non-geographical ranges from across the world.

CRM integration

Connect multiple sites easily and cost-effectively with one system. Transfer calls to different locations seamlessly, integrate with your company CRM and corporate directory and implement call schedules in minutes.

Integration with a CRM system is one of the most important features of any modern business. Most hosted CRM systems seamlessly link to your VoIP system to bring excellent customer services to even the smallest of businesses. This can mean anything from huge improvements in call handling quality and to automated diallers that keeps your outbound sales team constantly prospecting from your customer database.

To find out more calls us on 01691 661166 or visit our Fixed line, Hosted IP & Broadband.

What does GDPR mean for your business?

The UK is getting ready for stricter regulations and stronger fines across all industries.

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) date is set for 25th May 2018.

GDPR regulation is on everyone’s minds but are you prepared for the changes? Here are key things you’ll need to watch out for and act upon.

What is GDPR?

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR for short) is built around two key principles:

  1. Giving people more control of their personal data.
  2. Simplifying regulations for international businesses with a consolidating regulation that stands across the European Union (EU).

GDPR will apply to any business that possesses personal data of EU citizens. This also applies to companies based outside of the EU.

The government confirmed that Brexit will not affect the GDPR start date or its immediate running. It’s also confirmed that post-Brexit, the UK’s own law will directly mirror the GDPR.

How GDPR will affect your business

As stated above, GDPR applies to any business that processes the personal data of EU citizens. This includes customer, supplier, and partner and employee personal data. You need to check how often your business deals with personal data. This includes your customer data as well as:

  • Supplier data
  • Past and present employees
  • Anything else you’ve collected, that doesn’t fall into these two groups.

If you’re collecting any of this data routinely, you’ll need to comply with the GDPR, whether it is on a spreadsheet, on your computer network, your mobile phone, or in the cloud.

Businesses must employ a Data Protection Officer (DPO) if you have ‘regular or systematic’ process of checking extensive personal information or involve in handling large volumes of ‘special category data’.  Their role will be to ensure the company complies with the requirements under the GDPR. They’ll also be the contact for any data protection queries. The GDPR doesn’t yet fully define what constitutes ‘large-scale’, but some examples include the processing of patient data by hospitals, travel data and transport services, and customer data by an insurance company or bank.

Customers and clients will have more rights on how businesses use their data. In some cases, the ‘right to be forgotten’ if they no longer want you to process their personal data. If the individual is no longer a customer and the contract is void,  this does not give you a right to keep the data.  Failure to comply will result in harsher penalties.

The GDPR will apply to any business that processes the personal data of EU citizens, including those with fewer than 250 employees. Serious breaches must be reported immediately to the regulator. In the UK it would be Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), within 24 hours where possible, but at least within 72 hours

Employ fewer than 250 people? 

Being a small business doesn’t mean you fall out of the GDPR range, even if you don’t need to employ a DPO. It’s recognised that small businesses have fewer resources and pose less of a risk to data protection, so there could be more leniency by the ICO in relation to any non-compliance.

Your business must still comply if it’s involved in regular processing (which includes collecting, storing and using) of personal data. It’s easier to follow the GDPR and get compliant than to spend time figuring out how you can avoid it.

If you’re contracting with a larger company that conducts large-scale processing you may also be subject to the stricter end of the GDPR’s regulation.

GDPR regulation list you need to check for your business:

With this list, you need to take into account past and present employees and suppliers, as well as customers as well as anyone else’s data you have or, will have.

Get to know your data if you don’t already

You’ll need to demonstrate an understanding of the type of data you hold, where they’re coming from, where they’re going and how you’re using that data such as:

  • Personal data – Name, address, email, bank details, photos, IP addresses.
  • Sensitive (or special category) data – Health details or religious views.
Consent to process personal data

If you’re relying on consent for data this may become more difficult under the GDPR. The consent needs to be clear, specific and explicit. You should really avoid relying on consent unless absolutely necessary.

Customer or individual ‘consent’ has been redefined and become much tighter. Requests for consent can no longer be hidden in small print but must be presented clearly, and separately to other policies on your website or communications – so no more pre-ticked boxes.

Scrutinise your security measures and policies

You’ll need to update these to be GDPR-compliant. If you don’t currently have any, you need to get them in place. Broad use of encryption could be a good way to reduce the likelihood of a big penalty in the event of a breach.

Access requests

Subject Access Rights are changing. Under the GDPR, customers and clients have the right to:

  • Access all of their personal data,
  • Rectify anything that’s inaccurate,
  • Object to processing in certain circumstances,
  • Completely erase all of their personal data that you may hold.

Each request has a timeframe and deadline of one month from the original date of the request. This can only be extended in mitigating circumstances.

Train your employees for breaches

This is the most common cause of a data breach. Every employee should understand what is included in a personal data breach and how to pick up any dangers. It is important that everyone in your business is aware to report any mistakes to the DPO or the person or team responsible for data protection compliance.

Check your supply chain contracts  

All suppliers and contractors should be GDPR-compliant, this would avoid any impact by any breaches and penalties. Check you have the right contract terms in place with suppliers. This should put the crucial duties on them, like notifying you if they have a data breach. For processors, the GDPR carries a specific set of legal obligations some of which will require you to:

  • Keep up-to-date personal data records. This includes details of your:
    – Processing activities and categories
    – ‘Data subject categories’ i.e. customers, employees, suppliers, etc
    – Categories of processing carried out i.e. transferring, hosting, altering, receiving, disclosing, etc
  • Keep details of any transfers to countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Implement appropriate security measures, may include pseudonymization and encryption, and prove you’re regularly testing these measures.
  • Be ready with a general description of the technical and organisational security measures you keep in place

What are the GDPR penalties?

The GDPR toughens up penalties already existing under the DPA. These existing penalties include:

  • Maximum fines of £500,000
  • Prosecutions, including prison sentences for deliberate breaches
  • Obligatory undertakings, where your company has to commit to specific action to improve compliance

Penalties will be getting heavier in May. Businesses in breach will see a dramatic increase in fines with penalties reaching an upper limit of €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher. Bankruptcy will be a real risk for non-compliant businesses as a result of these fines. There is the possibility that individuals can also sue you if they suffer as a result of your data management. This could be for material damage or non-material suffering, such as distress.