The value of data has never been more apparent. Since the last Data Protection Day in January 2018, there has been a significant shift in how data is regarded, utilised and protected. The Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted the reputational pitfalls that companies face when they attempt to profit from data, while the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) outlined the severe penalties incurred if such companies misused it. Recently, tech giant Google was fined €50 million for failing to be transparent in how it collected data to personalise advertising. Facebook is also facing potential billion-pound fines from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In addition, several high-profile data breaches have highlighted that even companies held in high esteem and who are regularly trusted with sensitive personal data are successful targets of cyberattacks. As a result, companies are entering 2019 with a much warier customer audience, who have a better understanding of how much their data is worth, what their rights are if personal data is collected without their consent, and greater concern that their data will be exposed to bad actors. The financial and reputational impact can be staggering if companies fail to get data protection right, affecting the way they operate in future.
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