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Confidential information at greatest risk in new businesses

Businesses under five years old are twice as likely to compromise the confidentiality of sensitive information as more established rivals, claims Iron Mountain.

Almost half (48%) of employees in recently established organisations surveyed by the storage and information management services company say they have left sensitive documents lying about the office, have mislaid them completely or have left them in a public place.

This is twice as many as staff in more established firms, where fewer than one in four (23%) have made similar errors.

Younger businesses are also less clear on how long they are legally required to retain documents such as tax records, contracts and customer data.

More than half (59%) of respondents from companies that have been in existence for one to five years admit they could be keeping sensitive human resource records beyond retention deadlines, potentially exposing the business to reputational damage and fines. This compares to just 20% in firms that have been in business for more than 25 years.

Iron Mountain director Elizabeth Bramwell said: “The first five years of a business’s life are often dedicated to rapid growth as the organisation establishes itself in the market. The start-up phase is a busy one, so it’s perhaps understandable that information management mistakes are more likely to happen during this time. However, whether you’re a new or an established business the law is the law, so it’s vital that confidential information is protected.

“If bad information habits are left unchecked and effective processes aren’t put in place, young businesses face severe legal and reputational consequences that could fast erode customer confidence and threaten the very survival of the business.”

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