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EU Data Protection Day 2020: Better you'll be safe than sorry!

3 min read

Today, it is all about data protection and IT security, as January 28 is European Data Protection Day - an initiative of the Council of Europe. Also Stackfield wants to raise general awareness of data protection within this context. If there are gaps, the consequences can be disastrous. After all, there were a number of incidents last year that showed just how important the issue actually is.

Privacy scandals show the importance of disaster prevention

At the beginning of 2019 (well, actually already by the end of 2018), a doxing attack on politicians at all levels - leading to the publication of highly sensitive personal data (including private addresses, bank statements, private photos and chat histories - shocked people all over Germany. Through systematic publication on a Twitter account with several thousand followers.

So, why do I tell you this? Well, on the one hand, the fast paced and anonymous nature of the age of New Media has made the unauthorized distribution of personal data easier than ever. On the other hand, it is just this unconsidered handling of private information by users that makes them victims of the aforementioned fast pace and anonymity or simply of stupid mistakes – for example with Amazon forwarding personal recordings of the speech recognition assistant Alexa to the wrong customer.

By no means are these cases isolated ones. Apparently, they can rather be considered precedents for poor data security – a warning of what can happen and a call for urgent preventive action.

Companies are responsible

The European Data Protection Day is intended to remind us of this: We need to be more careful about sharing personal information - both our own and third-party information. This means that companies in particular are responsible for handling internal company information and the private data of their employees and customers with care.

Strict laws for the protection of sensitive data - such as the German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) at federal level and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at European level - are intended to increase awareness among those responsible and to minimize the risk of intentional and negligent violations. This is the reason why those who violate the privacy law will have to pay dearly for it. The Cambridge Analytica scandal, for example, shows just how expensive it can be. Granted, this is an example of a very massive data protection offence with US giant Facebook. But in Germany, too, a considerable fine was recently imposed. The housing company Deutsche Wohnen has been fined 14.5 million euros for unlawfully storing personal data and thus violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In Germany, as well as in the entire European area, the very strict guidelines of the GDPR apply. And although the issue is quite complex and there are a number of questions and concerns regarding compliance, it is particularly important for all companies.

Digital tools and trends increasingly raise privacy concerns

A problem concerning GDPR compliance can currently also be seen in the legislation of the United States. Be it communication solutions or project management software - especially in IT, the US take the role of a pioneer and many of their tools are also enjoying considerable popularity in Europe. However, the Cloud Act enacted there forms a stark contrast to the German Data Protection Act (GDPR) and thus also to German data protection law.

This is one of the reasons why many companies - especially those that work with very sensitive data - switch to solutions that meet the high security requirements with absolute certainty.

In case of doubt, domestic solutions with a German server location and high encryption standards (client-side end-to-end encryption) offer the best possible protection for all companies that are subject to the GDPR guidelines.

Also Philipp Hübsch from mediaTest digital - the issuer of the Trusted App certificate - emphasizes that especially providers of project management software should pay more attention to security precautions: "Especially productivity apps of Cloud and SaaS providers as well as project management tools [...] are an extremely popular and rewarding target for industrial espionage, data piracy and corruption."

Data protection "disasters" may have devastating consequences. They come unexpectedly and sweep across the country like tornadoes in this day and age. Like tornados, they leave pure devastation behind. Disaster prevention follows a simple credo: Better safe than sorry!

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Lena Wimmer
About the Author:
Lena Wimmer is Product Marketing Manager at Stackfield. She is passionate about American literary history, great content and cinematography.
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