This year in Europe a major new regulation will come into force to safeguard customers and clients’ data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes law across the European Union as of 25th May, 2018. Which lets us in Namibia breathe a sigh of relief; “At least it is not here.” This may be the case, but data protection is essential and the fact that it is now to be regulated comes as no surprise, especially if we think about how much data, well our own data, details and information is flying around out there in cyberspace or stored somewhere. How do we know who has access to it, who can use it or perhaps leverage for fraudulent activities? Can our data or identities be stolen, simply because we once filled out a form which has been digitised by a company or organisation? Or whether a company simply sells your information on to a third party without your knowledge.
Whether you shop online, use social media or have a bank account, insurance policy, driver’s license you can be sure there’s an organisation that has your details. This does not have to be a problem, as long as the organisation knows how to handle, store, and protect your data. It is after all…your data!
Most people would feel uneasy or downright offended if someone was just to start scrolling through their smartphone. The information, details and perhaps pictures on there may not be for everyone’s eyes. The same can be said for information that is stored on company servers or in the cloud. They need excellent protection to avoid, pre-empt and stop data leaks, data hacks or data simply being stolen. The European Regulation’s aim is to give individuals more rights over their data and restrict how companies process private information and with whom they share it. This will become the norm across the globe.
As more and more services move online in Namibia, more data is collected. With the increasing stability of Internet and higher speeds, services that were beyond our reach in Namibia are now accessible. Just think of Amazon, Netflix, online insurance brokers, banking and many others. Often we only see the convenience in being able to buy, sell, apply or subscribe to things online. We are more than willing to give our personal details and simply assume they will be handled, carefully, securely and with the greatest respect for privacy. This data is immensely powerful and we have all heard of the horrors of ‘identity-theft’ and people having their credit cards maxed out or their bank accounts depleted. Countering this starts with ensuring you protect your own information and knowing that the organisations that have your information for whatever reason, know how vital it is to keep it safe and secure and protected from prying eyes.
Whether the organisation is large or small, their responsibility to safeguard your information and data is no less. This is what the new European Regulation deals with in broad strokes. One can be confident that across the world and therefore, right here in Namibia similar regulations will become the norm. Companies and organisations will expose themselves to lawsuits, criminal damages and immense fines if they cannot ensure that their clients’ data is protected. Often it pays to be ahead of the curve and with protecting your customers’ data this is definitely the case. It is something that customers and clients will appreciate and seek out organisations that protect their information and data. Additionally it is only a matter of time before it becomes law here in Namibia as well.
By Johann van Rooyen, Senior Technical advisor, Green Enterprise Solutions