Netizens Urged to Get Secure Ahead of Data Protection Day

Netizens Urged to Get Secure Ahead of Data Protection Day

Tomorrow, 28 January 2017, is Data Protection Day – an annual event designed to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices. It is currently observed in 47 European countries including the UK and in the US and Canada.

This year’s theme is focused on Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust.

Data Privacy Day began in the US and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the signing of Convention 108 on 28 January 1981, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

Doug Davidson, global head of cloud security offers and UK cyber security CTO at Capgemini, said that Data Protection Day is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of protecting personal information.

“As the amount of data we produce grows at an exponential rate, so too does the importance of retaining its privacy. Customers are comfortable with sharing their data with businesses, but only with those they authorize to do so.” 

Trust is a key part of any relationship, particularly when between a business and its customer – which can have serious consequences if it’s broken, he added. 

“Protecting data should therefore be of paramount importance to every business that holds sensitive information. This not only means having the right security solutions in place, but also making sure everyone in the company that comes into contact with that data knows how to protect it. With the Government recently showing its commitment to boosting cybersecurity, the UK is certainly heading in the right direction. However, this needs to focus on improving the skills of those handling the data, as more often than not, it is employees that are found to be the weakest link.”

Lillian Pang, senior director of legal and data protection officer at Rackspace, shared a similar view, suggesting that Data Privacy Day serves as a timely reminder that organizations are now halfway through the two year compliance period since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation was adopted by the EU Commission.

“At a time when we create more valuable data than ever, it is crucial that personal data is kept private and secure: by the businesses that store it, from both internal and external threats. For UK businesses however, 2017 will see two additional pieces of legislation in the mix – the draft ePrivacy Regulation and the UK Government’s Investigatory Powers Act 2016 – which have the potential to increase compliance requirements even more and cause further concern and uncertainty. 

“The sooner organizations work towards compliance with the latest regulations, the sooner they can be confident of their own security, and reassure the businesses and customers they work with.”

Matt Middleton-Leal, regional VP for the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe, CyberArk, added that the internet has blurred the distinction between publishers and readers/viewers, with fake or doctored information distributed globally at little cost and amplified through social media.

“This can make identifying the original source of falsified data or information incredibly difficult. In the 2016 US election we saw information used as a weapon and propaganda tool, and the concern is that these events result in information that is no longer trusted at all. Attackers have realised that there is more damage to be done beyond just accessing information; they are changing information where it resides, and manipulating it to help accomplish their goals. 

“Ensuring the integrity of data and controlling its use is critical to maintaining trust not only in organisations, but in public institutions and leaders’ ability to make decisions,” he said. “Defending ourselves and our institutions against misinformation requires a combination of personal skills and technology. Instilling trust in the data relied on to make decisions and protect citizens must be part of advanced cybersecurity strategies. Raising visibility of this challenge and spurring ongoing discussions will help to maintain global awareness, even as elections fade from the front page.”

Source: Information Security Magazine