Don’t take data security for granted…


Data is very valuable and powerful. If used right by the right people, it could enable transformation and innovation. If the data gets into the hands of the wrong people, it could be destructive and may ruin many lives. Time and again, news proliferate about people making wrong decisions because of data misuse. Sadly, there are incidents of identity theft that pushed people to the brink of total desperation.

We live in an era of connected world and “global village”. Data is distributed all over the universe. All the systems are interconnected. The information we provide to obtain services or purchase products are stored in massive data repositories in many places and shared with millions of people around the globe. These data are mined constantly for marketing purposes, machine learning and artificial intelligence. New and disruptive business models are fast-emerging because data is available and accessible. A good example of a new business model leveraged by data was developed by Uber, a ridesharing and transportation network company based in San Francisco, California.

For the most part, these data are secured and shared only for the right reasons. This kind of data distribution, centralization, consolidation and sharing have enabled governments to improve services to its citizens, protect them from terrorist attacks, and helped hospitals to provide better service to clients, among others.

Data sharing has also allowed researchers and scientists to learn about diseases, formulate vaccines, and other solutions to improve the quality of life for humanity. Unfortunately, this also paved way for criminals and identity thieves to steal valuable personal information for their own purpose.

The recent incident of data breach of Personal Health Information in one of the largest Home Health Service providers in Ontario, Canada, is a dark reminder of the era we live in. Unfortunately, many organizations are taking this issue with a blind eye; they are still not doing enough to protect their data. As much as I empathise with the mentioned organization, I am also very disappointed on the fact that this organization has their data un encrypted. This is not acceptable.

Not-for-profits such as the above organization hold personal information about their clients, donors, etc. In some cases, they also hold personal health information. According to the privacy act of Ontario, it is the responsibility of an organization to do everything possible to protect the data from these kinds of breaches.

Not doing enough does not only put your clients’ and donors’ lives at risk, it also exposes your company to several lawsuits, and challenges the viability of the organization. This is urgent. This is critical. Organizations, especially not-for-profits, must take measures to ensure their data is protected.

Article by:

Joseph Edward

Founder & Chief Innovation Officer @INVORG

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