Belfast Telegraph

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Watchdog probe after body hit by series of data breaches

By Simon Rowe

Published 17/09/2015

Invest NI has been hit by a series of data breaches, with two incidents leading to the disclosure of high-risk information, it can be revealed.

An investigation was launched by the Information Commissioner of Northern Ireland into the incidents after a spate of thefts and losses of portable storage devices belonging to more than 35 staff working for the agency.

There were six incidents of unauthorised disclosure of confidential data in the past 12 months alone. In the past five years, Invest NI has reported the theft or loss of three encrypted laptops, 24 encrypted mobile phones and nine encrypted iron keys.

The cost of replacing the devices is estimated to be £2,600.

Two of the incidents in the past year were deemed to be high-risk by Invest NI chiefs, meaning there was a real danger of a detrimental impact on the business concerned.

In one incident, data was incorrectly shared with 30 internal employees of the development agency, and in another case a "significant" breach of confidential information involving a client of Invest NI was reported to the Information Commissioner.

Invest NI said: "All staff are required to and have completed annual mandatory data protection training."

No disciplinary or legal action has been taken against employees as a result of the Information Commissioner's investigations.

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