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Will data become the new oxygen?

Andrzej Kawalec
Head of Innovation & Strategy, Vodafone Enterprise Security

It’s been said that data is the new oil: the backbone of the world’s economy. But will data ever become the new oxygen – essential for people to survive? If so, then clearly the loss of data will be more than an inconvenience – it will be a crisis event. Our global infrastructure is dependent on data, politically, economically and socially – data makes the world go round.

Currently, prohibiting people and systems from accessing data and services is predominantly an inconvenience. But as we saw in the global ransomware attacks of May and June 2017 – WannaCry and Petya – digital and data disruption on a large scale can have serious effects on our institutions, businesses and personal lives. Yet, in our headlong rush into a digital economy, we have been ignoring the imperative role data plays across the globe today.

As such, the incoming EU directive of May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), must be commended. Recognising the importance of data to individuals, GDPR is a bold and decisive statement about the responsibility of organisations to be effective custodians of people’s data. GDPR is effectively putting data and privacy at the heart of government policy for years to come. It will become the data constitution for hundreds of millions of EU citizens.

In ten years at the outside, we will be surrounded by a global sensor-net which will create an astounding level of data about each and every digital and physical interaction: not only every interaction between systems, machines and virtual machines, but also between humans.

Forward-leaning organisations have correctly identified the ability to use digital channels to disrupt more traditional business models. How companies are able to create value and connections through data is key in defining their competitive position; but they must now do this in the context of a set of digital values – enshrined in law: GDPR.

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 LinkedIn.

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