The Big Cost of Small Data

A new study by Ground Labs has revealed that consumers are completely in the dark about how much personal information UK companies hold on them.

54 million people believe that fewer than 20 organisations hold their personal information, whilst a quarter assume it to be less than 10. However, when confronted with a list of common service providers and companies that might hold their information, the majority of survey respondents admitted just how inaccurate their perceptions were.

In reality Ground Labs believes a conservative estimate would suggest that for any given adult, hundreds of thousands of copies of their personal data resides on physical devices and cloud storage platforms. That’s an awful lot of data and as a result of the multiplying effect the more data there is, the more chance there is of it being past its best. This means that hundreds of thousands of records held in databases across of the country are inaccurate costing organisations dear in unnecessary storage costs, poor targeting of marketing collateral, brand damage as a result of bad marketing and the increased likelihood of substantial fines for irresponsible marketing.

Ground Labs believes that the responsibility falls on the companies to protect this sensitive data against cyber criminals – this is true, but the onus also falls on them to not only keep it safe, but to keep it up-to-date or risk the strong arm of the ICO.