Happy Data Protection Day!

Today, Tuesday 28th January 2020, marks Data Protection Day, which serves as a timely reminder on the importance of keeping data safe both online and offline.

Data Protection Day – known as Data Privacy Day outside of Europe – initially focused on raising awareness among businesses, but has expanded in recent years to include families and consumers.

The first month of 2020 has seen some high profile cyber attack cases where data has been breached.

Travelex are still recovering from a ransomware attack, where hackers claim to have stolen data, financial data (including card numbers and CVC numbers) were stolen from a site raising money as a result of the Australian bushfires.

Regulators have been cracking down on companies that have been found wanting when it comes to data protection with Dixons Carphone and a London-based pharmacy receiving hefty fines as a result of jeopardising personal data.

Thanks to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018, businesses were forced to reconsider their processes surrounding how data was handled, processed and stored.

The Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denhem said:

“Today is an opportunity to reflect on the rights that protect people’s personal data around the world. It is also a day to recognise the role those rights play in encouraging trust and confidence in how organisations handle data, which is particularly important in enabling successful digital innovation.

“Organisations that share people’s personal information must do so in line with the law. But it’s a myth that GDPR prevents data sharing.”

Agata Nowakowska, AVP at Skillsoft, said:

“Mobile platforms, Big Data and cloud-based architectures are creating significant challenges for data protection, but no challenge is higher up the corporate agenda than IT security. Even the most careful organisation is vulnerable. A smartphone or laptop inadvertently left on a train, or a well-intentioned lending of access privileges to an unauthorised user can have far-reaching consequences.

“Security is the number one IT priority in nearly every business sector today, but the scarcity of security-savvy IT experts means many companies can no longer rely on hiring their way to a robust solution. Fortunately, there are a wealth of sophisticated education and training strategies now available that allow organisations to reward and retain employees whilst simultaneously improving corporate security from within. From expert-led instruction to continuous hands-on experiential learning, organisations are putting in place complete frameworks for training and certification that can tighten corporate IT security, making them less vulnerable to both external attacks and insider threats.”

Ensuring everyone in your organisation is aware of the procedures regarding personal data, is key to remain compliant. But also following simple cyber security measures to ensure your systems aren’t compromised is also key.

Sascha Giese, Head Geek at SolarWinds comments:

“Public sector IT professionals are working every day to ensure the data their department holds is kept secure – Government and healthcare organisations store vast amounts of very sensitive data, and therefore the risk posed by a potential data breach are extensive. What’s interesting is how much there’s been a change in value in credit card information, for example which is lower, compared to personal information and identities, which has become more valuable to cyber criminals. UK Government IT professionals are entrusted with keeping citizens’ personal data secure, so organisations must implement, and then adhere to, strict security policies. The key point organisations should take in 2020 is it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep data safe.

“While technology is of course the most solid defence against security threats, senior public sector IT professionals should also consider how leading by example, training their teams, and ensuring policies are updated regularly can make a huge impact on how well their organisation prevents any security headaches.”