A major international conference of data protection commissioners is advising utility businesses to clean up their data, as personal data is increasingly becoming more valuable and improper data storage and use could lead to criminal prosecution.

Data service and solutions specialists, The Database Group has developed a new database tool which gives utility business a snapshot with which to highlight the integrity of their data. A data health check is a first step process that highlights problem areas and weaknesses in a company’s customer and prospect data. Armed with this knowledge, businesses are then able to implement the recommendations put forward, or seek more in depth assistance as required.

The data health check looks at how data is gathered, shared, used for marketing activity and managed across one or a number of databases within the company. The Health Check focuses on three core building blocks in assessing an organisation’s data fitness:

• Communication – the degree to which data is fit for communication across a number of channels.

• Customer value management – the degree with which data fitness allows the business to develop and manage valuable customer relationships.

• Compliance – the degree to which data capture, distribution and communication practices leave the company fit to comply with the Data Protection Act.

Under Data Protection legislation, company directors are responsible and liable for ensuring compliance. The data health check is an objective tool to give an easy-to-understand, accurate and insightful picture of health of the data held within a company. The process takes ten days from start to delivery and involved a combination of data/process assessments and interaction with relevant business representatives.