The champion heavyweight boxer, and part-time actor, Mike Tyson said once: “Having a plan is great until you get punched in the face”.

For me, this is an apt description of the world we are living in.

When glasses were raised at midnight on January 1st 2020, some of us predicted a year of known political and economic uncertainty with the Brexit withdrawal deadline and the US Presidential election. But no one predicted 2020 to unfold like it did.

The Covid-19 pandemic caught us flush on the chin like a Mike Tyson left hook, and the world is still reeling from its impact. Tragically, the virus has broken the hearts and livelihoods of many across the world and we had to find new ways of connecting with each other. Technology provided us with the means to enjoy our most basic human needs such as food and interaction. Yet, technology is again under scrutiny as the world fights back against the pandemic.

 

Covid’s data headache

To ensure we never suffer as badly from a pandemic again, the “new normal” will immediately require health, retail, hospitality and travel sectors to deploy track and trace systems. This means the ethical capturing, storing and protection of personal data is directly related to the success of any track and trace programme. This is the new data headache businesses are dealing with and it may present a far more complex challenge than complying to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Data regulators recently celebrated the second birthday of GDPR compliance with a report outlining the key successes of the programme. However if you read a little further, there were some major gaps which needs resolving. In particular, how the data regulation is applied to new technologies being developed as a response to Covid. There is an opportunity for technology providers to help their public or private sector customers use data security as the brand advantage and overtake their rivals.

 

Winter’s coming

There are implications for organisations on the front-line in the new normal. To maintain their reputation and continue operations, these organisations will be ensuring their data infrastructure can adequately handle the scale of data they’re capturing from the public, as well as effectively communicating to the public how their data is being used appropriately.

To open up as quickly as possible to recover lost revenues, some organisations are developing smartphone applications to capture the track and trace data. Software development teams under a lot of pressure to rapidly get apps ‘live’. Will the need for speed trump the desire for security?

Some predict a second wave of Covid as the winter temperatures drop, which means the track and trace data will be valuable to flatten the curve of the any future outbreak. What we have learnt in 2020 is to be prepared for unplanned events, and private and public organisations should be reviewing their data strategy, in particular their approach to data governance. Technology providers can offer real value to their customers by demonstrating how large, sensitive datasets will be managed securely.

For more insight on data security, we recently launched our trends report which is based on our clients’ insight handling marketing and communications in the new normal. To access the report, please click here.

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