Data Privacy Day 2020. 10 tips from industry experts on safeguarding data

Data Privacy Day 2020: Tuesday, 28 January

As countries and organisations across the globe celebrate the anniversary of “Convention 108,” the first binding international law concerning individuals’ rights to the protection of their personal data, here is a list of tips from industry experts about the best way to protect your data, as well as predictions regarding the direction data privacy, is heading towards.

“Throughout 2020, companies would be well advised to undertake a trust-building exercise and ensure their customers that data is being kept secure and the company is following best practice,” said Rufus Grig, Chief Strategy Officer of Maintel.

“We will see more and more companies explaining why they need certain data, how they intend to use it, how the customer could benefit and, of course, how all this information will be stored securely.

“If somebody understands why certain information is being collected and how this data will be used, they are much more likely to trust a business.

“Companies should only collect what information they need, store it securely and they should implement data leakage protection. 

“On this Data Privacy Day, companies should reflect on the data they’re collecting. They should put themselves in their customers’ shoes – if you were a customer would you be happy sharing this data and how would you expect a business to use it and store it?”

Margarete McGrath, Chief Digital Officer, Dell Technologies said: “Upwards of €114m of fines have been collected since GDPR was rolled out in May 2018.

“Keeping data secure and protected is a challenge for any organisation, especially as cloud environments evolve.

“We expect to see security and data protection become more deeply integrated as part of hybrid cloud environments.

“Data protection alongside data management can unlock opportunities for organisations to extract insight while creating value for your customers. Trust isn’t just about data compliance, it’s about how the data is managed, stored and protected.”

Steve Wilson, UK & Ireland Director at NortonLifeLock: “Every day, as we spend more of our time online, we share more personal information, which scammers can take advantage of.

“Your online reputation is an increasingly important part of modern life and knowing how to manage this, alongside your digital footprint, is the key to staying safe online.

“You should always think about who can view any content you share online – taking control of this is the first step towards actively managing your online reputation.

“Make sure you tailor your privacy settings, choosing when and what you share, as well as who you’re sharing this with.

“Be aware of what is being posted about you from others and how far-reaching these posts can be. To prevent unauthorised access to your online accounts, whenever available, make sure you switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication for an added layer of protection.”

“While having a day to celebrate privacy and data protection is a start, for technology users, it is incumbent on them to arm themselves with enough knowledge to take appropriate precautions and carefully consider the everyday trade-offs they make between convenience and how their data gets used,” said Roger Magoulas, VP of Radar at O’Reilly.

“Here are a few simple steps that can help users get started on improving their data privacy hygiene regime: Back up your important data with strong encryption or through cloud services that promises privacy, security and redundancy.


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“Use appropriate passwords, two-factor authentication, and password managers for common sense protection.

“Unplug when you can. The best way to protect your privacy is to not create data you don’t want to fall into the hands of others

“Investing a little time and common sense can bring peace of mind for those engaging the technology that surrounds us all.”

“Despite the well-publicised year-on-year growth in cyber-attacks, both in number and complexity, businesses are still struggling to implement effective security policies,” said John Bennett, SVP & GM of LastPass by LogMeIn.

“Data protection has always been on every businesses’ mind, but over 4 billion records were still breached in 2019. 

“With passwords estimated to be the root cause of 80% of all data breaches, password management should play an integral role in data security.

“Not only this, but going passwordless might also eliminate password-related risks, leading to overall higher security.

 “The best way to prevent data breaches from mishandled passwords is by adopting a password manager with multifactor authentication, alongside other business cyber-security processes.

“We all have a part to play in this, so I urge everyone on Data Protection Day, the next time you log on, take a minute to think about how many other apps use the same password and maybe spend a little extra time creating a unique password or adopting that password vault your IT team has been plugging – it could really make a difference.”

Richard Meeus, Security, Technology and Strategy Director, Akamai Technologies: “Data Privacy Day should act as a stark reminder to businesses that the battle to protect their own and customers’ data is never won.

“Criminal hackers have shown frequently over the last year the value of personal data and we have seen big fines associated with the mishandling of these identity stores.

“Companies are in a position to foster more trust from their customers by showing good care over their data, allowing them to change what is stored instantaneously, and delete if necessary.

“Protecting these databases is now key to a company’s stability and its ability to do business. Lack of availability or integrity of identity data, or a breach of confidential information, can bite hard in the online world from both a regulatory and reputational point of view.”

“Today, data privacy has never been more top-of-mind for consumers and businesses alike. It’s not hard to understand why, given the relentless stream of security breaches and data dumps in the news each week, many of which require us to change our passwords or freeze our credit due to no fault of our own,” said Corey Nachreiner, Chief Technology Officer, WatchGuard Technologies.

“The deterioration of privacy has made attackers’ lives easier, while making it exponentially more challenging for businesses and individuals to protect themselves.

“With personal data so easily accessible across social media platforms and distributed liberally across the internet, hackers can use it against us. Leveraging readily-available personal information, they can craft believable phishing or spear-phishing messages, crack our passwords and more.

“The first step toward better privacy for individuals is to simply acknowledge that this is an issue. You should also strictly guard what level of personal information you share publicly and where you share it, and practice vigilance in monitoring for attacks that use your own data.

“Beyond our own individual responsibility to protect our personal data, society, in general, has begun demonstrating its newfound commitment to data privacy.

“From GDPR to the recently enacted California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), we’re seeing countries and US states increase pressure on businesses to protect user data.”

Jasmit Sagoo, senior director, Head of Technology UK&I, at Veritas: “IT leaders should also use the day as an opportunity to review their current data protection strategies.

“Software that can automate the protection and recovery of data everywhere it lives within an organisation, while ensuring 24/7 availability of business-critical applications, should be considered.

“Data Protection Day may be a one-day event, but it’s imperative to maintain good privacy practices year-round.”

Colin Truran, principal technology strategist at Quest: “While we are making great strides towards this, businesses still need to move away from viewing data privacy as a simple checkbox exercise and consider the ethical responsibility.

“Legislation such as GDPR and the role of the ICO are pushing this mandate to the forefront and holding organisations accountable.

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“It’s early days, but the foundations are starting to be laid and businesses need to start considering the impact of their actions. This will be another watershed moment, and one they may fall victim to, if unprepared.

“With organisations becoming more aware of the ethical implications we have to start considering data sovereignty, anonymity and ownership.

“One of our biggest challenges is human error and there is still a significant lack of understanding from the public on the true dangers of data misuse.

“Whilst we don’t know how our information will be used in the future, there is a lot we can do as individuals to protect our identities and perhaps by integrating data privacy into the national curriculum we can start to safeguard data from day one.”

Eve Maler, the interim Chief Technology Officer at identity and access management (IAM) provider ForgeRock: “While 2019 was a watershed year for data privacy and we have many reasons to be optimistic in 2020, we should not rest on our laurels this Data Privacy Day.

“We’ve seen a consensus take shape among politicians, companies, and the public; as citizens and consumers, we all deserve better protection from exploitative and opaque data collection and sharing so we must continue to evolve the privacy debate in 2020.

“Trends I will be watching closely include the debate around facial recognition technology, fuelled by scandals in the US, UK and China to which consent formulation, as outlined in GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), is more powerful for end-user empowerment.”

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