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REPORTING A DATA BREACH

There are certain incidents that organisations need to tell us about.

A personal data breach is a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data.This includes breaches that are the result of both accidental and deliberate causes. It also means that a breach is more than just about losing personal data.

When a data breach has occurred, you need to establish the likelihood and severity of the resulting risk to people’s rights and freedoms (Recital 85 of the GDPR). If it’s likely that there will be a risk, then you must notify us, otherwise you don’t have to report it. However, if you decide you don’t need to report the breach, you need to be able to justify this decision, so you should document it.

In brief, below are five main points that organisations must consider:

  1. 1. The GDPR and Data Protection Act 2004 introduce a duty on all organisations to report certain types of personal data breaches to the Information Commissioner. You must do so within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach, where feasible.
  2. 2. If the breach is likely to result in a high risk of adversely affecting individuals’ rights and freedoms, you must also inform those individuals without undue delay.
  3. 3. You should ensure you have robust breach detection, investigation and internal reporting procedures in place. This will facilitate decision-making about whether or not you need to notify the Information Commissioner and the affected individuals.
  4. 4. You must also keep a record of any personal data breaches, regardless of whether you are required to notify.
  5. 5. You do not need to report every data breach to the Information Commissioner.

To notify the Information Commissioner of a personal data breach, please use our Data Breach Notification Form shown below.

This form should be used by organisations that have become ‘aware’ of a personal data breach and, having undertaken an assessment of the data breach, are required to notify the Information Commissioner, as the supervisory authority, in accordance with Article 33(1) of the GDPR or section 76 of the DPA.

For further guidance in relation to personal data breaches, please refer our Guidance on Personal Data Breach Notifications.


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