Welcome to Issue 18 of Big Data Innovation.
The last few months have seen the importance of data, its security and the potential consequences that data breaches can have, brought into the media spotlight.
With this added media interest has also come the potential for more financial and brand reputational damage at a time when more customer data is being collected and stored.
This means that the necessity to protect data adequately has never been more important, but from the number of data hacks that we have seen in the past few years, it is becoming increasingly clear that not enough is being done in this regards to this effect.
Data safety is a key element to organizations from small startups through to the largest and oldest governments in the world. David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, actually cites cyber security as a key point to justify the increase in defence spending at a time of austerity.
To touch on the vital role of security, Laura Denham takes us through the importance of data protection in pharma companies and the implications that this can have on not only the companies involved, but also on life and death decisions made by patients.
As mentioned, a rise in instances of hacking has also seen an increased interest from the media, which begs the question about whether or not this is a help or hinderance.
It is true that a hack can only be as bad as how far the data is spread. The fewer people who access the data, the less damage can be done. Therefore, it could be argued that through an increase in media coverage, they are spreading the idea that this data is available and making the leaks worse.
On the other hand, through making an example of companies who do not adequately protect the data they hold, they are making others make sure theirs is well protected. After the intense scrutiny of companies like eBay, Target and Ashley Madison after their hacks, other organizations took a look at their security, making it more complex for hackers to target other large companies.
So perhaps, despite the clear correlation between reporting the hack and spreading the data held in it, the media holds one of the most important positions in terms of forcing companies to upgrade their systems. At least that is what we hope.
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