How to celebrate Data Privacy Day in the Hong Kong workplace

By Robert Half on 11 January 2024
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

Mark your calendars – Data Privacy Day is just around the corner!

Taking place on January 28, this annual celebration encourages organisations to reflect on the significance of protecting personal information and respecting the privacy of individuals.

First introduced by the Council of Europe in April 2006, this cybersecurity milestone commemorates Convention 108 - the first legally binding international treaty on data protection, signed in 1981.

Data Privacy Day symbolises the international efforts to safeguard privacy and personal information. With data breaches becoming more common than we’d like to acknowledge, it’s not hard to see why security and trust are more critical than ever.

As we approach Data Privacy Day in Hong Kong, let’s explore how you can recognise and celebrate it in your workplace while strengthening your commitment to safeguarding this valuable information.

Data Privacy in the workplace

Linda Loughnane, Data Privacy Managing Counsel for APAC at Robert Half, says, data privacy is a predominant theme for workplaces in 2024. She says, “as a consumer and a business leader, data privacy has never been so front of mind. Like many, I worry about my personal information being compromised - in turn, I’m forever mindful of how we as an organisation need to double down on our personal information handling practices and our cybersecurity efforts. We’ve seen safeguards fail in some of the most trusted corporations, and that proves that no one is immune to data breaches. Protecting personal information is a cross-functional responsibility and requires support from all levels of an organisation which is why raising awareness in the workplace is essential.”

In the Hong Kong workplace, Data Privacy Day is the perfect opportunity for businesses and their employees to unite and open the dialogue around privacy and data protection.

By leveraging this day to facilitate conversation and education, you can take an important step in protecting individual privacy as well as organisational reputation and revenue.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Data Privacy Day is relevant to IT teams only - everyone has a part to play when it comes to data privacy!

How should you celebrate Data Privacy Day in the workplace?

At Robert Half, we regularly match businesses with the right data privacy candidates. As a result, businesses and HR leaders often question how they can effectively recognise industry milestones and events such as Data Privacy Day.

There is no set expectation when it comes to celebrating Data Privacy Day. However, that being said, it’s important to customise the celebrations to make it truly meaningful for your organisation.

Below are some of our top tips for maximising this special day, while bolstering Hong Kong company culture in the process:

1. Educate your team

When it comes to data privacy, the landscape is ever evolving! Foster a culture based on the expansion of knowledge – this kind of continuous learning is sure to pay dividends in the future.

Introduce education initiatives like workshops, webinars, or training sessions, to educate your employees about data privacy best practices, technology, and emerging trends.

Take the time to ensure that everyone has a foundational understanding of how your business collects and protects data. Be sure to highlight the potential risks associated with mishandling it. Practical tips around how to work individually and collectively to prevent data breaches will be highly valuable.

A competent and confident team is the first line of defence against data breaches.

Don’t forget to add all of this material to employee handbooks and onboarding training to ensure new employees are just as security aware.

2. Conduct a privacy policy review

It’s important not to get lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to data privacy.

Use Data Privacy Day as an opportunity to review and update your organisation's data privacy policies and procedures. Be discerning and evaluate whether they align with the latest regulations and industry best practices.

Make the review process engaging and accessible to gain traction with your employees. Be open and transparent in communicating any changes to them, and make sure they understand their specific roles and responsibilities in maintaining data privacy.

Taking the time to assess the strength of your privacy initiatives will help you to identify and address any vulnerabilities to mitigate potential threats.

3. Add some fun

The most effective lessons are often taught in an engaging way.

To get the most out of your efforts, look at ways to make activities interesting and interactive. Reinforce data privacy concepts through quizzes, trivia, or games, and consider offering prizes for maximum employee buy-in.

Look at different ways to conduct these fun activities, whether it be in real time or online.

Gamification will help to quiz employee knowledge and reward the high achievers, while enriching the employee experience.

4. Organise a data clean-up campaign

Hong Kong companies need to be savvy when it comes to the volume of personal information they collect.

There is a huge responsibility and cost tied to maintaining the safety of any data - It’s critical that businesses and their employees only collect what they actually need.

Periodically organising this data is critical.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “for every minute spent in organising, an hour is earned.” So, by actively facilitating employee clean-up campaigns now, you can enjoy the benefits in the future.

Encourage employees to review and delete unnecessary or, outdated data. Provide a framework for creating a systematic approach to data organisation and storage.

5. Share the secrets to security savviness

We all have varying degrees of involvement with technology. What seems like basic knowledge to you might be completely unheard of to one of your employees.

Use Data Privacy Day as a chance to verbalise some of the little tweaks that can make big improvements to your privacy processes.

Some of our favourite include:

  • Managing privacy settings on personal devices.
  • Using customised privacy tools.
  • Changing and protecting passwords.
  • Implementing two-factor authentication (2FA).

Streamline these processes by explaining the reasoning behind them, as well as the steps required to action them.

6. Celebrate success stories

It’s human nature that we learn by example.

Recognising your star employees is a great way to reinforce the positive behaviours that contribute to a secure work environment.

Data Privacy Day presents an ideal opportunity to spotlight the individuals (or teams) that have demonstrated exemplary commitment to protecting data.

Consider rewarding the employees/teams at the heart of your organisation’s data success.

7. Hold privacy focused events

The best way to get people talking about data privacy is to get them all together!

As Data Privacy Day approaches, look at ways to bring some events into the fold and keep conversation going. Whether it’s a webinar or a guest speaker, use each event as a forum to talk about the importance of data privacy, the opportunities, and the associated threats.

Consider opening up these events to key stakeholders to demonstrate your commitment to data privacy.

Always leave room for questions so that employees are able get their queries and concerns clarified.

Explore the opportunities around mock events like cyber drills. Practise what your organisation would do in the face of a data breach to review, assess, and continually improve your processes.

8. Encourage feedback and improvement

Perhaps the most critical way to celebrate Data Privacy Day is to foster a privacy-centric culture.

At the heart of this is two-way communication. Encourage open communication about privacy concerns, and establish a system for reporting potential breaches or weaknesses.

Empowering your employees to prioritise privacy can lead to a collective effort to protect personal information.

Don’t rely on your employees alone, take the initiative to be critical of your own business. Use Data Privacy Day to assess your data privacy framework. Demonstrate a commitment to data privacy by:

  • Reviewing any new data privacy legislation to ensure you’re compliant.
  • Strengthening your data incident response plan.
  • Tracking the compliance and effectiveness of your privacy programs.
  • Bolstering your privacy programs as required.

In the digital age, nothing tarnishes organisational reputation quite like a data breach. The stakes are high and the expectations around data privacy are even higher. While Data Privacy Day is recognised on one day, it serves as an everyday reminder of the commitment required to protect personal information.

Celebrating this day in your workplace will go a long way in raising awareness and fostering a culture of shared responsibility. Everyone has a part to play - your recognition of Data Privacy Day will empower your business to navigate the changing domain of privacy and data security.

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