Help, I lost my laptop. What should I do?

Say you return for a business trip. At the airport, you discover your laptop is missing. It contains all your customers' data. In other words, a data breach. Maria Genova, online privacy expert, tells you what to do.

Notify the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) of the data breach

Customer data is privacy-sensitive information. "The GDPR (AVG in Dutch) states that in such a case, you have to notify the Dutch Data Protection Authority. If you fail to do so, you risk a fine that can amount to a maximum of €820,000."

Unpleasant consequences

"A data breach may have unpleasant consequences for clients. So you should always inform your clients and warn them about the risks. Fraudsters may send them phishing emails or call them with a fake story. Once they get the data they want, they can plunder bank accounts", says Genova.

Prevent data breaches

To prevent a future data breach, you can encrypt (in Dutch) your laptop's harddisk. Make sure your laptop and phone passwords are strong. That will make it harder for cyber criminals to access your network. If someone gets their hands on your lost or stolen laptop, a strong password and encrypted hard disk may still stop them from getting to your data. Finally, Genova advises to regularly delete information you no longer use. "And if you do decide to save it, store it on an external hard drive that is not connected to the internet."

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