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How long could you survive without data?

Andrzej Kawalec
Head of Innovation & Strategy, Vodafone Enterprise Security

How long can humans survive without the basic necessities? Without food, we are said to be able to manage for three weeks; for water, it’s three days; and for oxygen, it’s a mere three minutes. But in the current age, there is a new necessity – data. If humans were starved of data, and unable to access the huge array of digital services, apps and devices that we are used to, for how long could we do our jobs, manage our relationships, and maintain normal life?

Access to data is an increasingly integral part of our very existence. The Physiological Society asked 2000 people to rate how stressful they found key events in their 2017 report, ‘Stress in Modern Britain’. Incidents that have been long established as stressful scored highly, such as the death of a loved one or suffering from a serious illness or moving house. However, modern-day concerns were also found to induce extremely high levels of anxiety, including identity theft, commuter delays and even going on holiday. Indicative of our reliance on data was the fact that the ‘arrival of first child’, at number 11, was only three points above losing a smartphone at number 14.

The thought of living without data was clearly more concerning for young adults, who have grown up in the digital world. The Physiological Society found that amongst 18-24 year olds, losing a smartphone was on par with suffering from a serious illness. This represents a clear example of nomophobia, or the phobia of being out of cellular phone contact – signifying the need for instant access to data amongst young adults.

So it follows that keeping our data secure must also be close to our hearts. The incoming EU directive of May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) must be commended. GDPR recognises the importance of data to individuals, and requires organisations to be responsible custodians of people’s data. Effective cyber security protects and defends our data wherever it is – on a device, in transit in a network, in the cloud or in an app.

Clearly, the ability to access data as and when we want is an essential part of modern life – for many of us, data is fast-becoming one of the basic necessities. But as a society, we haven’t yet got to the state of doing cyber security as naturally as we do our physical security.

Cyber security is a key concern for organisations of all sizes. Protecting devices, networks, data and apps is an essential component of doing business. Vodafone provides security products and services to businesses of all sizes, helping you secure your business anywhere because we are everywhere. We are trusted by organisations globally, including utilities, financial institutions and government agencies. For more cyber security insights, you can find us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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