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Data Protection And Cyber Security: Next Steps For Care Homes

Record numbers of care homes are using the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) to check and improve how they keep information safe. Almost 80% currently comply with the self-assessment tool. But compliance is one thing – the real challenge is implementation.

Cyber crime is a real and present danger. The real risk, however, may be closer to home. According to the Information Commissioners’ Office, most data breaches occur because of human error, not as a result of a criminal attack.

According to the ICO’s analysis of data breaches reported by social care since 2019, only 22% were because of cyber concerns. 78% were due to non cyber issues – including data being emailed, posted or faxed to the wrong recipient, verbal disclosures of data, and the loss or theft of paper records.

But what can senior care managers do to protect their organisations from malicious criminals and innocent staff?

Better Security, Better Care – the national support programme on data protection and cyber security at the Digital Care Hub advises care provider to prioritise the following areas:

Train your staff: Even with the best tech security in place, a well-intentioned, but poorly informed colleague can leak data or admit a cyber criminal into your systems. If you haven’t trained them on what to look out for, or you haven’t put clear policies in place – you can expect errors to be made and your company is responsible as well as the individual. Access free training on data protection and cyber security specifically for care staff.

Add digital and data to your business continuity plan: Something will go wrong at some stage – that’s just the data-rich world we live in. You need to be prepared. Use the Digital Care Hub template and guide to create your own plan.

Review and republish your DSPT at least once a year: Things change: new tech is introduced, care services come and go, and staff turnover is high. The DSPT is a comprehensive checklist of issues you need to consider every year. The deadline for this year is 30 June 2024.

As ever, Better Security, Better Care offers free, expert support to help care providers complete and implement with the DSPT.