Data Protection Day – Taking Data Protection Seriously

 

We recently saw 9th annual international Data Protection Day, a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of protecting personal data. Raising awareness and vigilance in is key amongst both businesses and individuals as 2014 not only saw a record number of data breaches, with some very high profile targets such as the Sony hacks, but was also rife with controversy concerning who has access to our data following a range of snooping revelations.

Results from our global data protection index study at the end of last year showed that businesses in the UK are losing out on £10.5 billion per year due to downtime and data-loss, with only 53% acknowledging data protection as being critical to the success of the business and only 22% fully confident they could recover systems and data today from all platforms. This is more alarming considering that two-thirds of organisations suffered from either unplanned systems downtime or data loss over the past year, with the average data-loss being equivalent to about 7 million e-mails.

EMC_Data_Country_UK

Of course, data protection requires time and investment, and businesses can’t protect everything. However, this just makes it even more important as it becomes an issue of managing risk and data, increasing the need for leadership and accountability, and the need for businesses to take it seriously.

And it’s not just businesses that need to take care.

For example, did you know how easy it is for hackers to access private information using free public Wi-Fi networks? In an experiment, it took a security expert just minutes to access e-mail and bank accounts details, and the ability to track people’s movements. There are some very interesting technologies coming out to help with security, such as biometric keyboards that can recognise the typing patterns of individual users, but these technologies aren’t yet widely available, and people still need to be vigilant when it comes to their data and devices.

Protecting information for Individuals and businesses is becoming an ever increasing priority – and this year’s data protection day was a clear reminder of the need to remain vigilant. The time for a ‘wait and see’ policy has certainly passed and businesses need to protect themselves now in order to make sure they’re not the next newsworthy target. Consumers also have a responsibility to protect themselves too. It’s about time we all united to make data protection a clear priority this year.

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