Privacy Day 2023 reminds the importance of protecting personal data in today’s digital age

Every year on January 28th, Data Privacy Day serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting personal data in today’s digital age. Individuals and organisations must take precautions to protect their data as technology advances and more of our personal information is shared online.

  • Data Protection Day, or Data Privacy Day, is celebrated with the aim create more awareness about the right to data protection

As we enter 2023, enterprises will need to take a holistic, situational approach, which will often require refreshing the data protection strategy of the entire organisation.

The starting point must be creating and continuously updating a data privacy, backup & recovery, and disaster recovery plan, as part of an overall data protection strategy.

Being able to identify, locate and prioritise the most critical datasets to their business is the first step, and vital to safeguarding their customers’ data and combat the continuous rise in threats, assessing and encrypting data is crucial for data protection and helps prevent unauthorised access.

Moving into 2023, this is especially important for businesses that handle large amounts of private data, such as healthcare providers and financial institutions – encrypting data for the duration of its existence reduces the risk of potential cyberattacks. 

Brian Gin, Chief Privacy Officer, Trellix says there’s no doubt privacy is a priority – and Data Privacy Week is a great time to talk about how we all have a key role in protecting it.

“Sometimes, we as people and organisations make the mistake of thinking privacy is someone else’s job. When in fact, every one of us is critical,” said Gin

“Everyone with access to personal information or who helps build a product that does – almost everyone in the workplace – is responsible for safeguarding it.” he said.

Ultimately, World Data Privacy Day serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting personal data in today’s IT landscape.  Individuals and organisations must mitigate risk by safeguarding their data every day of the year. 

Change is happening fast. Businesses will need to take the plunge and ensure data is protected and secure throughout the year, regardless of what that data is or where it lives at any given moment.

Craig Bastow, Sales Director in Australia and New Zealand at Commvault says if there’s a buzzword that defined 2022 for Australia, it should be ‘data breach’.

“Last year’s events underlined some hard truths about data privacy, cyber protection, and governance policies for many Australian public and private organisations,” said Bastow

“In 2022 ‘bad actors’ have become even better at deception techniques to cloak infiltration into company systems,”

“Security and IT departments trying to protect their most valuable asset – their data – are being constantly challenged to keep up with the increasingly industrialised ‘ransomware industry,”

“Organisations need to put practices in place to secure consumer data from the very beginning of collection. Tokenization can play a huge role here.” he said

While originally used for Personally Identifiable Information (PII), any kind of data can be tokenized, organisations need to think about how they start using these tools at data capture and how they communicate to customers that their data is secure.

With innovation becoming increasingly dependent on personal data, that information must be protected at all costs. Investing in innovative tools that make built-in regulation features a priority will win the day and the public trust.

Scott Harkey, EVP, Financial Services & Payments, Endava says the global digital payments market continues to expand rapidly as we edge closer to a cashless society and we’re seeing payments become increasingly embedded in the products and services we consume.

“Technology is fuelling the digital revolution in e-commerce but it’s people – and their sensitive data – which lie at the heart of this innovation,” said Harkey

“Personal data is the golden asset which companies are increasingly looking to leverage, from apps powered by this data to embedded financial transactions using saved customer information. Identity is key to building meaningful experiences, but this relies heavily on trust.”

“Customers are more aware of their data than ever and will think twice about sharing it if they feel it won’t be protected,” he said.

Privacy now extends far beyond protecting ourselves physically and encompasses everything we do or interact with digitally: our online footprint, often referred to as our digital twin.

We’ve seen a raft of high-profile data breaches in the spotlight this past year which has fuelled public concern around data privacy.

As companies become more data dependent, customers become even more reluctant to share data while citizens remain woefully ignorant about data collected on them. and its this tension and misalignment that needs to be properly addressed in order to unlock data’s full potential.

Cindi Howson, Chief Data Strategy Officer, ThoughtSpot said “In a digital economy, we are creating, capturing, and sharing more personal data than ever before.

“Companies rely on customer data more than ever to create actionable insights to personalise services, operate more efficiently and drive business growth. We’re living in the “decade of data” – and with this comes, of course, the decade of data privacy,” said Howson

“Those working with customer data within any business need to be vigilant about how personal data is collected, stored, and used, as well as the implications of failing to handle this data correctly,”

“Behind this data are real people, many of whom will not hesitate to take their business elsewhere should their data be lost or exposed. Ensuring data privacy is not just a technology issue, it’s also about company culture, process, and controls,” she said.

With analysts now able to extract increasing amounts of data from even more internal and external sources, ensuring data privacy must be part of an organisation’s DNA. Dumping data from analytics tools to spreadsheets remains a weak link.

Howson added, “Data Privacy Day is our opportunity, as businesses and data leaders, to bring awareness to those persistent knowledge gaps, take a closer look at best practices around data, and open up the conversation around data privacy and protection.”

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