Robust information compliance has never been so high-profile. The introduction of the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in May 2018 put personal data protection firmly in the public consciousness. Cybercrime continues to grab headlines, with attacks causing massive disruption for airlines, hospitals and entire nation states.
Nevertheless, there is still significant variation in how industries perceive data protection, risk and compliance. Organisations that handle highly sensitive information – those in financial services or healthcare, for example – have long recognised the need for robust protection. But it is a slightly different picture in media and creative industries.
Marketing, advertising and publishing are awash with data, but they are less transparent about foregrounding regulation and managing the associated risks. This is despite the fact they contribute to the ongoing onslaught of Malvertising: malicious coders embedding viruses in online advertising. In 2017, Google blocked 79 million ads that directed users to malicious websites and removed 48 million ads that attempted to install viral software.
While protection against criminal hackers is the main priority in terms of preserving user information, data risk management has more value-added benefits for creative types. Here are three reasons why it matters more than you think.
- Intellectual property is your greatest asset
Creative and media organisations are built on narrative and imagination. Their biggest assets are the ideas they have, which are often stored in documents and designs; in other words, data. All businesses need to protect their products from theft, interception, corruption and copying, so just as manufacturers of physical products keep their assets under lock and key, producers of digital products need to keep their intellectual property secure with robust digital protection.
We’re familiar with the notion of patents to protect against intellectual property theft, but digital protections are equally important. Intellectual property theft has been a key source of tension between China and the US, and it was recently reported that China made rulings on 40% more such cases in 2018 than the year before. Watertight cyber security, data protection and compliance processes help provide powerful additional layers of protection against this threat.
- Reputation is everything
Most creative and media organisations have a substantial online presence, and many are very active on social media. This is fantastic from a customer engagement perspective – but it also means that these organisations are susceptible to reputational damage when an incident occurs. Solid and enforced processes not only alleviate the risk of data breaches and major cyber security incidents but also demonstrate proactivity to key stakeholders and guide you through effective and efficient incident response should the worst happen.
- Effective data risk management equals effective operations
Any organisation with substantial digital assets that has grown organically over time is likely to experience some operational inefficiencies. Digital information may be stored in siloes, in legacy databases or simply in unexpected places. There may be duplication, and a lack of organisation or logic.
In turn, when new employees or customers join the organisation, or existing stakeholders ask for access to legacy data (which, of course, individuals and organisations have a right to do), a messy approach to data mapping, workflows and organisation can turn a small task into a Herculean one. Data risk management and compliance frameworks enable a stripped-back and logical approach to the storing and processing of data, and in turn empower more efficient operations – no matter what those operations are.
A world of pure imagination
OK, so data risk management might not get the creative juices flowing. But it does enable businesses to operate without disruption, minimise downtime and demonstrate an attention to detail that adds real value. Is it time you got creative with data protection?