By Daniel Hunter

More than two thirds of British businesses have admitted to losing important data, with a quarter suffering a cyber attack, according to Crown Records Management.

As Ashley Maddison, the controversial dating website for people who want to cheat on their partner, deals with the fallout of having more than 30 million customers' data stolen and leaked, the survey from Crown Records Management found that 33% of IT managers said their business has lost important customer more than three times.

Another third said the business had lost customers' information between one and three times. Just under 25% of IT managers reported that company had suffered a cyber attack.

Individually, two fifths said they knew someone who'd had their office computer hacked.

Losing important data doesn't just apply to IT data, it appears. The survey also found that a third claimed they personally knew of cases where sensitive documents had been left somewhere.

Ann Sellar, Business Development Manager at Crown Records Management, a global information management expert, said: “These survey results should be a wake-up call for UK businesses because the importance of protecting customer data is higher than ever. Not only because of potential fines for data breaches (which will soon increase when the EU General Data Protection Regulation is ratified) but also because of growing public awareness.

“It takes on average 20 years to build a reputation but just five minutes to ruin it with a data breach and then up to two years to rebuild it. So businesses need to look at the way they protect their information, understand where the threats are and start putting robust processes in place to protect their customers. If they don’t I can only see the number of data breaches increasing in the next few years.”