Government, academia, and industry leaders are coming together to celebrate Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28 and raise awareness about the importance of personal and agencywide data protection.

First celebrated in Europe, Data Privacy Day became a designated holiday in the United States in 2009. It encourages citizens to take more steps to protect their personal information online, such as updating account security settings. The date is a callback to the 1981 signing of the first international treaty on data protection, Convention 108, according to Stay Safe Online.

Gary Newgaard, vice president of Public Sector at Pure Storage, predicts that data privacy awareness will be a trend for the rest of 2020. A renewed focus on encryption, data management, and data consolidation will help the public sector leverage the data they have while keeping it safe from cyber threats.

“Beyond Data Privacy Day, cyberattacks and the social and legislative climate have dramatically elevated awareness around the need to protect information,” he said. “Agencies of all sizes, from state and local governments to large Federal departments, have to confront this challenge in all that they do with their own data as well as civilian’s. Agencies must focus not only on cost effective storage and management, but also work to truly become stewards of protection.”

As awareness around the importance of data privacy grows, Newgaard added that strong data protection can bolster agencies’ security reputation.

“Agencies earn and retain the trust of citizens by embracing this holistically,” he said. “This means making data privacy a responsibility and priority at all levels – and improving systems and processes around data management.”

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.