Considering the potential loss of data that is possible from third parties managing your system there was host of IT Services companies at the Start up British Business Exhibition at Earls Court today. I had a walk round and there is full system management, web management systems, web site building and everything in between being offered to new and growing businesses. There is not any mention of the security risk that is inherent in having a third party manage your IT. I have seen this on many occasions, where IT services provider will maintain hardware as well as software and when a PC tower is being replaced they will through the old one in the back of their van. If the validity of the disposal is questioned by the small business owner or personnel than they are reassured by the IT services agent – who is often a self employed operator themselves – that everything is kosher. The new business owner may not want to rock the boat with such a critical supplier to their operation and especially if the exchange has been going smoothly up until then. It may seem churlish to imply that the IT services agent will not be careful with confidential material. However small business should be aware that this is exactly how costly data breaches occur and they should feel confident that questioning the disposal process is legitimate business practice.