Asperity Employee Benefits Ltd has become the UK’s first employee benefits provider to be accredited by BSi to ISO EN 27001 the internationally recognised standard for Information Security Management.

Achieving accreditation means that Asperity’s Information Security Management System has been assessed to be compliant with the standard, which ensures that companies understand and classify the data that they hold on individuals and the risks and threats associated with that data. The standard ensures that risks are managed through process and technology.

The announcement was warmly welcomed by Michael Whitfield of Thomsons Online Benefits, one of Asperity’s industry partners: “We think it’s brilliant that Asperity has achieved the ISO 27001 accreditation which will drive up standards in the VB sector. As we are in the final process towards receiving this accreditation ourselves, we are fully aware of how much hard work goes into it and the benefits it brings to both the business and to clients. It will prove to be a significant factor in provider selection for clients in the future”.

Asperity’s MD, Glenn Elliott, confirmed that he thought that the protection of data was his company’s ‘single highest priority’. Less than 6,000 organisations worldwide have achieved the accreditation, surprisingly low given the focus in recent months on safeguarding personal details, and high profile lapses.

Asperity spent over a year preparing for accreditation, and leads the industry in recognising the importance to clients of a provider who fully understands information security. Glenn said: “3 years ago, we rarely received an enquiry from a client about data security. Now, it is routine, and formal accreditation helps clients to understand how seriously we take it. We are of course delighted to have our system recognised.”

Benefits providers control personal data on millions of employees and the industry was shaken recently when Childcare Voucher provider Busy Bees had to take their service offline following a major security incident. Asperity is setting a trend as well as a standard with its ISO certification and a number of other providers are expected to follow suit.