While the COVID-19 pandemic is having far-reaching economic effects on organizations across all industry sectors, those involved in travel and hospitality are undoubtedly at the “sharp end” of the resulting downturn in consumer and business spending. Airlines, in particular, have been hard hit with some experiencing demand falling in excess of 90%. In these unprecedented times, senior managers have had to rapidly rethink their operational strategies and priorities to protect their businesses as well as meet the raft of new COVID-19 related requirements and regulations. The pressure of dealing with day-to-day business operations and reducing costs in this climate could easily mean data compliance matters drop off the priority agenda.
Amongst all the key issues that organisations need to deal with, regulatory compliance such as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Californian Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is still as important as ever. The relevant regulatory authorities are, and will, continue to ensure compliance and issue substantial fines for any avoidable breaches.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK has recently fined British Airways (BA) £20m (approx $ 26.2 million) for failing to protect the personal data of some 400,000 of its customers, following a significant cyber attack. The ICO investigation concluded that BA had been negligent in maintaining and securing key operating systems, which suffered from significant vulnerabilities and shortcomings allowing criminals to gain access to financial data, such as combined credit card and CVV numbers. In addition, the ICO found that British Airways did not detect the attack themselves but were alerted by a third party more than two months later!
Despite the pandemic crisis this is one of the largest GDPR fines to be issued by the ICO and in the current pandemic and trading conditions, $26 million is a very significant fine.
As global organizations, restructure their operations and workplace environments, it is clear that these organizations will need to seek new ways to support, in particular, remote working data security and compliance. A part of this will be ensuring the security of end points including desktops, mobile devices and home office printers.
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