Data reigns supreme in the digital economy, yet only recently has become a key driver of growth and competitive advantage. Like financial capital was during the industrial revolution, data now acts as the capital that powers digital production of goods and services. Due to this transformation there has been an increased need for tools and practices that effectively manage and secure data; for this purpose a holistic approach that encompasses all aspects of data management is ideal.
The Hong Kong Data Protection Act (PDPO) establishes an overall framework for protecting personal information in Hong Kong. PDPO regulates the collection, use, disclosure, correction and deletion of such information as well as how organizations should comply with it. Personal data includes any identifying information such as name, contact details and nationality as well as work-related, health or lifestyle-related details about an individual; for example: an employee card bearing their name and HKID number could qualify as personal data under the Act.
Data’s rising importance has far-reaching ramifications for business strategy, technology investments, and governance practices. An automaker cannot build an autonomous car without accessing data to help guide its onboard algorithms; similarly, businesses cannot innovate without being able to predict customer behavior and create new products based on analytics.
Strong organizational design is crucial in creating an effective and trustworthy culture in our data-driven society, beginning with setting clear lines of responsibility for managing data. A chief data officer must be empowered to lead his or her organization and ensure all employees understand their roles in protecting it as needed and making it available when required.
Data protection officers must possess the necessary skills and training to foster a culture of data privacy, responding quickly to data breaches or incidents when handling sensitive information such as salary or medical records.
Data is a priceless asset that must be protected from unwarranted access or misuse, whether for marketing or cybersecurity purposes. Organizations should ensure their data management practices comply with industry best practice while continuously reviewing policies and processes in response to emerging security threats in order to safeguard this most important asset. Only by taking such steps can an organization protect its most prized possession – data.