5 Tips for Protecting Your Event Data

From retailers and banks to tech companies and Hollywood movie studios, data has been exposed as crackable, hackable and exploitable. Your event data is just as vulnerable.

Opportunities to collect data are everywhere at events—pre-event emails, registration systems, interactive technologies, mobile apps, and the list goes on. Data brings incredible insights, trackability and measurement to event marketers. But with the industry awash in information, we now have the responsibility of protecting it.

With today’s events reaching thousands or even millions of people, this may very well be the year that a major event database is breached.

There are basic protection actions, such as using PCI-compliant collection platforms and partners that audit and test systems for threats, identifying a privacy policy and a communication plan if and when a breach does occur and deploying apps that allow for opt-ins, or additional levels of security in areas that are considered more vulnerable such as networking and contact matching features. Here are five other tips from different brand categories for keeping event data safe and secure:

Category: Automotive. Data Security Tactic: “The Grab and Go.”

How It Works: At auto events, most data (collected as leads for dealers) has traditionally been captured through an app and stored locally on an unsecured device using an unsecured wifi network. Now, secure collectors are uploading that data to a secure cloud server in real-time and deleting the on-site information minutes after its been collected.

Category: Pharma. Data Security Tactic: “The Chain of Custody.”

How It Works: Several pharma events are now creating a “data log” in which the event team maintains a log of internal marketers as well as vendors and agencies that accessed event data—who, when and why. Many keep those logs for at least a year, or, if there is a potential security issue on-site, for five years.

Category: CPG. Data Security Tactic: “Prepare for the Worst.”

How It Works: The insurance industry has opened its arms to data protection coverage. For many CPG companies running large national experiential tours that span events and stores, it’s good practice to take out a data theft insurance policy, protecting you from damages should a breach—whether physical or digital—occur.

Category: Tech. Data Security Tactic: “Lead Privileges.”

How It Works: Set a multi-level, protection process in place where only specific people are approved to access event data with regularly changing passwords. Then update that access, removing people that no longer have a need or are no longer working on a particular event immediately.

Category: Aviation. Data Security Tactic: “Security Audits.”

How It Works: Audits involve making sure event databases are secure and that best practices are in place to prevent a breach. For one aviation brand, these audits are executed quarterly by the event team and key agency partners.

Granted, data security isn’t the sexiest 2015 trend, but it’s certainly an important one. I know there isn’t an event marketer that wakes up in the morning dying to think about their event’s data security. But in a world where stolen data can sour a relationship between a brand and a customer, it’s vital to ensure that your data collection methods go beyond the minimal requirements to ensure that data is safe at the physical, network, host and application levels.

Author: Kristy Elisano  - Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Northeast powder hound. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. VP Marketing @sparksmarketing. Doodle owner and cocreator of my daughter.

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2828 Charter Road
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19154
United States

February 23, 2015

By Kristy Elisano