by Maya Harruna
Data Protection Day, which takes place on the 28th January 2019 aims to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices. Initially launched in Europe, Data Protection Day is now celebrated globally and is also referred to as ‘Privacy Day’ outside Europe.
Now in its thirteenth year, Data Protection Day is an opportunity for governments, parliaments, national data protection bodies and other actors in the aforementioned countries to highlight the importance of, and encourage individuals and businesses to improve data protection and privacy. Activities will range from media campaigns, educational projects for teachers and students, and data protection conferences and events.
In an increasingly digital world, people are sharing more and more of their information. Data is being collected and processed every second – at work, during our interactions with public authorities, in the health field, when we buy goods or services, and when we surf the Internet. Whilst the information we provide is being used to benefit us and our experiences, personal data equals money in the eyes of criminals, and this means individuals should strive to protect its value.
Over the past decade, there has been a marked increase in the volume and sophistication of cyberattacks. According to a UK government report 43% of businesses experienced a cyber-security breach or attack in 2018. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Information Security Breaches Survey found that some of the attacks caused more than £1 million of damage.
This year’s Data Privacy Day presents a unique opportunity for businesses, governments and individuals to gain a clearer understanding of data security challenges. Especially as the first anniversary of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is upon us. The introduction of GDPR in May last year was a major driving force for businesses small and large to take greater care in safeguarding their customers’ data.
For businesses that are looking to ‘celebrate’ Data Privacy Day, it is key to embrace PR to ensure that your clients know that cybersecurity is a priority for you. It allows you to inform your customers of the techniques you are using to keep their information safe, and also what they can do to protect their own data. Keeping electronic information secure is crucial to a business's profitability, according to Universities and Science Minister, therefore highlighting the systems that your business is putting in place is imperative to your long term success.
Public relations has the ability to reach large audiences, giving your business the platform it needs to be centre stage and allows you to position your business as industry leaders. You can tap into PR techniques such as press releases, news alerts and interviews to ensure that you reach as wide of an audience as you possibly can. These methods ensure that you are able to be seen by not only your existing customers but to potential customers.
By positioning yourself as valuing data protection, you can ensure that you distinguish yourself from your competitors. While there is a cost associated with hiring a PR agency, the advantages may make the expense worth it. It can result in increased brand awareness, growth in sales, and improved market share.
The current climate highlights the importance of dates such as Data Protection Day. It is a great way for businesses to refocus, prioritise and raise awareness of their attempts to protect their customer’s data, and for citizens to have a greater awareness of the strategies that are being put in place.