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HSBC boss: IT professionals who unwittingly commit data breaches 'risk prison'

The head of Research and Innovation at HSBC has warned that IT bosses could "potentially go to prison" if regulation for financial services fails to keep pace with advances in cloud services.

Barry Chide claimed that not enough was being done by either the regulators or the industry to create new standards.

"We need to lead (regulators) to the water so they can drink," Chide said at Cloud Expo Europe. "We've got a role to play as much as they have.

Related: An in-depth look at how a data breach could affect you (opens in new tab)

"Most definitely we need some new standards around security and standards of hosting and data centres."

If new measures are not put in place then it will be IT professionals that face the consequences, according to Chide, whether or not they are directly responsible.

"Right now a financial services IT professional is at risk if he outsources a service elsewhere and a leak happens," Chide said. "There is a risk that he would potentially go to prison. There's no get out of jail free card because he used a third party."

Last December, almost half a million JP Morgan customer details were exposed in one of the world's largest financial data breaches.

Experts at the time warned that data breaches were one of the main threats faced by the financial industry in the digital age, a sentiment that Chide reiterated at Cloud Expo.

"We need a code of conduct of due diligence. We need a standard to allow financial services firms to work with third parties," he said. "That's something we as an industry need to drive and move the regulator towards."