Data Privacy Day serves as a reminder of the issues surrounding data processing and increased regulation like the GDPR. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the way that businesses handle and store consumer data has been thrust into the spotlight with almost all services forced online.
Senior Privacy and Compliance Attorney, Nicola Howell shares her thoughts on the growing importance that data protection officers and data more generally will have this year and beyond.
She said: “During the pandemic, data has been more important than ever to us as individuals and to the business community. As the volume of data available grows exponentially, we have also seen an increased scrutiny and focus on data privacy and the way that data it is collected and processed, with 60% of UK leaders surveyed in research from Dun & Bradstreet indicating they were concerned about data privacy in the wake of new regulations.
“Dun & Bradstreet has been providing businesses with commercial data for nearly 180 years and we’ve seen huge changes across the industry, especially in recent years. For example, data privacy has had legislative support in the UK since the millennium but the impetus was greatly increased in 2018 with the introduction of the GDPR. Despite the pandemic occupying much of our focus in 2020, there were also significant milestones for data privacy, ranging from significantly high fines, the revocation of privacy shield and the ‘still-to-be-felt’ impact of Brexit on the flow of data from the UK to the European Union and other countries.
“Covid-19 has intensified conversations around data as working from home becomes the norm and digital services are being increasingly relied on to manage finances, make purchases and much more. Now is the time for organisations to take stock of their ‘data health’ and really understand how their systems work. With an uncertain geo-political environment and the disruption from Covid-19 expected to last well into 2021 (and beyond), it’s essential for businesses to have a full and transparent view of how data is used across their organisation. Many businesses are employing or seeking advice from data experts, with analysis from LinkedIn finding that there are 24x more Data Protection Officers in the UK in 2020 than there were in 2015. Appointing dedicated resources and working with industry bodies can help businesses ensure they are processing data in a lawful way and identify new, innovative ways to use data to support growth opportunities and add value in a challenging environment.”