Will the finance industry’s data debacle benefit contractors?

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An alarming increase in the number of Data Protection Act (DPA) breaches in the UK financial sector could boost demand for information security specialists.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) show there has been an eye-watering 183% surge in cases over the last two years. Some 585 incidents concerning the finance industry were reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in 2014 alone.

The figure is more than three times the amount of violations committed by the legal sector in this period, which stood at 187. There have been a total of 791 incidents investigated over the past two years.

Tony Pepper, chief executive of encryption services provider Egress Software Technologies, said: “The financial services industry has a responsibility to us all to ensure that the information they manage on our behalf is protected in a highly secure way.

"It is staggering to see financial services firms reporting more than three times the number of incidents than the legal sector, which has recently come under targeted fire from the ICO.

“With planned reforms to the EU General Data Protection Regulations, the financial services industry must take action now or risk falling foul of laws that could see much tougher penalties handed out for a data breach.”

The threat of hefty fines could compel banks and other financial institutions to invest in information security, creating opportunities for contractors.

The report represents more good news for contractors, who have seen demand for their services soar in recent years. A recent study by recruiter Leathwaite reported that some financial services firms have trebled the size of their compliance teams since the economic crash.

A risk of punitive fines and personal liability have also forced up salaries, with some pay packets more than doubling over the last six years.

Have your say

Are you a contractor specialising in information security? Have you noticed an increase in demand for your services? Do you expect the trend to continue? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.