British Airways breach: What this teaches us about our data

Geoff Burns, head of sales at Nice Network, explains what we can learn from British Airways' data breach, which saw the firm receive a record fine of £183m.

British Airways, the quintessentially British airliner, hit front pages across the globe yesterday (8 July) after the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ruled that the company is set to face a record fine of £183m for last year’s breach of its security systems.

The fine, according to the ICO, was the largest penalty it had handed out and the first to be made public, providing a scare to frequent BA fliers and an even bigger fright for fellow FTSE 100 companies.

But, could the breach have been easily avoided? It’s hard to say without knowing all the facts but you can’t ignore that, when companies fail to implement reasonable prevention procedures, they leave themselves wide open to a security breach. This, is why many companies are starting to worry.

When GDPR first came into place, a lot was made about how strictly it would be regulated and, if the BA breach teaches us anything, it’s that you ignore GDPR at your peril. Many of us, and I include myself in this, were trying to figure out how we could market our products and services to our existing customers and prospects while staying on the right side of the law.

In fact, a lot of people working with data weren’t convinced that the regulators and legislators were going to take GDPR seriously when it came into play. Ironically, it has taken a breach of this magnitude to really drive home the message and, for Nice Network, a reminder of how worthwhile securing our ISO27001 certification is and highlights how much of an impact the upgrades we’ve made to our security software have had on us as a business.

At the centre of this investment is the ongoing time and effort spent on making sure our sales organisation and technical teams are fully trained and competent when it comes to complex conversations regarding cyber essentials to protect your network and maybe more importantly the impact of not doing anything to protect it, all the way to managing the security of fleets of mobile devices using MDM software, something which we haven’t just implemented for our own benefit, but for our clients across the board.

The main issue facing many businesses however, is the cost implication. Now, while it isn’t majorly expensive, it can be yet another expense for a CIO/CTO/Head of IT who has already outlined a budget for the quarter and can easily be brushed aside.

However, the million-dollar question is this: would you rather outlay a little extra, or put something aside for a quarter, and prevent a data breach like BA? Or run the risk?

As a company that helps others undergo digital transformation, data drives everything we do, so we’re aware of our duty to educate and help others so that they stay on the right side of GDPR – and we’re always happy to have a chat and tailor a solution that can keep your company safe while making you more productive. Whether it’s helping you install a network-neutral data centre or simply protecting your mobile devices, we have the expertise to help.

So, if you’re worried that you could potentially fall victim of a data breach and are wondering how to prevent such an issue arising, why not drop us a line? Nice Network can help secure your data whilst ensuring your business runs seamlessly.  For more information, visit us at: or drop me an email at: