Reported data breaches on the increase

The number of data breaches reported to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) over the past three months has climbed by over 35 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

The number of breaches in both private and public sector hit 376 by the end of last month, up from 277 for the quarter ending October 2008.

Around seven in 10 of the breaches occurred in the public sector, with just 112 from the private sector on par with the previous quarter's results.

The ICO took the opportunity to call on chief executives to take better care of their company's data. "Organisations that fail to take data protection seriously risk losing the trust and confidence of the public," the watchdog said in a statement.

Data breaches have been increasingly in the public eye since HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) managed to lose millions of people's records click here to read about the 11 data breach lessons we all should have learnt by now.