Celebrated on the 28th of January every year, Data Protection Day hasn’t always been amongst the most well-known of events on our calendars, so it’s possible you may not have been aware of its occurrence this past weekend. But it’s becoming more well-known with every passing year, and thanks to GDPR, that’s hardly a surprise. Due to the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR for short), which comes into effect in May this year, almost all business are going to need to make dramatic changes to how they store their customers’ information.
Both GDPR and Data Protection Day share the same principles of the importance of digital privacy and security, making Data Protection Day more relevant than ever. So we know why governments and campaigners think it’s important – but why should your business care?
Data Protection Day, also known as Data Privacy Day in the US and Canada, has long been a staple of the international calendar, first created to mark an historic piece of regulation. In 1981, members of the Council of Europe, an international human rights organisation, signed Convention 108 – snappily subtitled as the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. As of the time of writing, Convention 108 is notable for being the only international treaty of its kind in this field, and even today it’s still being updated to ensure that it takes the latest technology and societal advances into account.
Twenty-five years later, in 2006, the Council of Europe decided that the Convention’s message was still as relevant as ever, and this prompted them to introduce Data Protection Day. It’s celebrated every year on the 28th of January, the date of the original convention signing back in 1981, and the event is intended to raise awareness of the risks of sharing personal data.
You don’t have to know the ins and outs of Data Protection Day to understand the relevance it has today; in short, it reminds us of the importance of being prepared in the digital age. Increasingly, almost every aspect of our lives is tied to digital in some way. It affects how we socialise with our friends, how we manage our finances, and how we do business – just to name a few! In almost every case, these interactions require us to part with personal data, even if it’s as something as simple as an email address or phone number. If this information isn’t handled with care, it can sometimes make us vulnerable, and it’s exactly this sort of danger that Data Protection Day is meant to highlight. It encourages organisations and individuals alike to take responsibility for the information they share and store, to protect the persons concerned against malicious intent.
But while Data Protection Day is great for raising awareness, businesses, governments and other organisations also need to take concrete action to protect the data they’ve been entrusted with, and this is where GDPR comes into play. With the deadline only a few months away, there’s not long to go to make sure your business is compliant with GDPR. That means taking steps to secure the data you’re getting from new and existing customers, and storing it in a way that minimises risk.
It sounds like a big job – but don’t worry, you’ve still got time to prepare! I recently published a post giving a quick introduction to the basics of topic, and how you can prepare for GDPR in 4 simple steps.
In the meantime, if you’ve got any pressing concerns, don’t forget that at Twentyone we’re here to help. Digital Consultancy is one of our core services, and every one of us is committed to helping you get the most out of your digital presence. Feel free to give us a call on 01254 660 560, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.