Data has become the most valuable asset in today’s world. An individual’s personal data allows companies to efficiently develop, tailor and market their services and products based on user demographics, interests and spending habits.
But data breaches have increased significantly over the past few years, imposing threats to an individual’s privacy. As a result, many data legislations have been laid out by the government all over the world.
One such major step taken by a government is the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation which affects data governance by companies globally and the Privacy Act and related Australian Privacy Principles (APP’s) in Australia.
But Why Is Data So Important?
Data is considered the most valuable asset of an individual, often due to the personal and sensitive details it holds. Data of an individual can include basic, public information, but also confidential and sensitive information such as health details, financial net worth and banking information, political preferences, and even low-level technical information such as IP addresses, internet browsing history, etc.
In short, by accessing one’s data, a person can interfere with his privacy and in some cases, even take advantage of it, which is why it is important to take special precautions with data security.
Why Do Companies Need Your Data?
When a person visits a website or uses a smartphone application, information including location, the type of device, its operating system, and IP address can be recorded and later used for marketing purposes. Many applications nowadays also ask for permission to access stored contact details, stored photo’s, camera and audio recordings. By default, many users simply “accept” these terms and conditions without understanding the information they are granting access to.
For example, web browsing activity can help companies understand user preferences and trends and the mobile advertising ID, also known as a ‘Mobile Ad ID’ or ‘MAID’, is another mechanism available to marketers to efficiently and anonymously identify, understand and target mobile app users.
Businesses use data to strategically plan their future endeavors and therefore obtaining clean data using proper data management is crucial.
The cost of poor analytics can be substantial and so robust data management, data governance and data quality processes are all mechanisms by which to reduce the cost or impact of incorrect data.
Data analytics increasingly plays a major role in the make and break of many businesses. The correct analysis of data can help to present actionable information to assist executives, managers, and other corporate end-users make sensible business decisions.
Is Your Data Safe With Them?
Well, there are data breaches which lead to information leakage which can breach the privacy of an individual. Which is why the Australian Government laid down the Australian Privacy Principles (APP’s) and Privacy Act which companies can leverage to improve their data resilience maturity. Further, this legislation also makes misuse or mismanagement of a person’s data, by a company, lawfully wrong and punishable.
For example, GDPR legislation dictates the companies inform people beforehand about data collection, data sharing, and its intended use.
Data legislation like GDPR and the APP’s gives power to individuals over data sharing of their personal data and helps ensure that their data will not be misused or mismanaged by an entity.
Data Growth has been enormous in the past few years, with more and more data of individuals flowing across multiple types of device every day. Consider the Internet of Things (IoT) where data and information flows between devices within homes, cars, workplaces, buildings, public areas, etc. Personal information is often embedded within these sources without an individual’s knowledge or consent.
It has therefore become imperative for businesses to implement suitable data management as with inaccurate or incomplete data, it is very likely for data analytics to go wrong. ‘Garbage In, garbage out’ as the saying goes.
Which is why it is high time that businesses and companies around the world understand that data is not just a four-letter word!