Data Privacy Day, celebrated annually on January 28th, is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to reflect on the importance of privacy and the steps that can be taken to protect personal information. This year, Data Privacy Day takes on added significance as the world continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shift to remote work and increased reliance on technology.
One of the most significant threats to privacy today is data leak extortion incidents, where cyber threat actors attempt to hold personal or health information hostage unless they are paid. Identity-based attacks, where compromised credentials are leveraged to access accounts and sensitive data, are also on the rise.
As a result, countries around the globe have adopted privacy regulations that include cybersecurity requirements. This highlights the importance of individuals and organisations asking what the current risks to their privacy are and how they are mitigating them.
As Drew Bagley, VP & Counsel for Privacy and Cyber Policy at CrowdStrike, says, “it is important to reflect on what holistic data protection entails, and how critical cybersecurity is, not only to compliance but to protecting privacy.”
In today's digital age, companies are undergoing a rapid digital transformation, and data privacy compliance has emerged as an important concern driving crucial business decisions. As companies expand their digital footprints and massive amounts of data are being generated and transferred globally, cybersecurity vulnerabilities continue to surge.
Peter Waters, Senior Vice President of Legal at Equinix, says that “data privacy compliance is a balancing act, and necessitates risk assessment.” He adds that “due to the growing complexity of data flows, enterprises must evolve previous ways of securing data in transit and at rest to a posture of constant governance where all data is protected.”
To address external security threats, organisations must deploy and frequently update basic processes such as two-factor authentication, firewalls, and anti-malware solutions. Additionally, they can also implement advanced strategies such as Trusted Platform Module (TPM) capabilities and adopting Zero Trust architecture.
Another crucial step towards comprehensive data privacy compliance is to be aware of which data is stored and exactly where. “The human factor is often the most vulnerable in the data protection chain, and organisations need to ensure employees are well-versed with the compliance regulations and best security practices by providing them with both training and proper guidelines,” says Waters.
As we recognise Data Privacy Day 2023, it is important for individuals and organisations to take a holistic approach to data protection, evaluating and mitigating risks to privacy and cybersecurity. “Through strong policies, practices and constant governance, we can work towards protecting sensitive data and personal information from cyber threats,” says Bagley.