cybersecurity and popi

Not to be overly sensationalist or anything, but cybercrime is evolving, says a recent ITProPortal blog article, with one of the main threats being to small businesses and their data privacy. 

The guys at ITProPortal point out that along with the improved sophistication of our digital gadgets and toys has come an increased opportunity for data breaches via a widening array of digital end-points. Think about it: data can now be accessed via smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and security systems –  essentially through any ‘connected’ device that is being used to store, capture or retrieve personal information. 

When it comes to the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, online data breaches are no laughing matter. What businesses do to protect the personal information that they collect from their clients or customers is incredibly important. This includes any information collected from guests attending your corporate events.

How does the POPI Act translate to the real-world handling of your guests’ information?

One of the most important things to remember about the POPI Act is that it holds you, the event organiser, ultimately responsible for securing the integrity and confidentiality of any personal information entrusted to you by your guests – whether collected by electronic or manual means. You are expected to take every measure to:

  • Prevent the loss of, damage to, or unauthorised destruction of, guests’ personal information;
  • Prevent the unlawful access to, or processing of, guests’ personal information.

And an important FYI –  according to the POPI Act, processing any personal information for direct marketing purposes through unsolicited electronic communications is also considered unlawful (see Chapter 8 of the POPI Act for more information).

If you are in the habit of sending unsolicited electronic communication to guests listed on your event database, then best you supply them with an address or other contact details that they can use to opt-out of such communications.

POPI Act compliance requires daily actions on the part of event organisers

The POPI Act stipulates that those collecting personal information are responsible for both identifying any potential data breach risks and establishing and maintaining the necessary safeguards to prevent such breaches from happening.   

Establishing safeguards for POPI compliance is not a once-off activity. As an event organiser, you are expected to:

  • Regularly confirm that these safeguards are working effectively;
  • Use the appropriate updates for any new risks or de?ciencies that are discovered in the previously employed safety measures.

In short, as an event professional, you are required to know about and apply the generally accepted security practices for the handling of personal information. You are also expected to know and apply the security practices that are specific to the events management industry.

Password protection and secure data storage –  what you need to know

As discussed in a previous blog, you as an event organiser will need to ensure that all of your content management systems (including laptops, intranets and software) are password protected. This is to protect your guests’ personal information.

Your event management software also needs to be POPI Act compliant

All of your efforts to comply with the Act will be in vain if you’re not making use of Event Database Software that’s also POPI Act compliant. This software needs to allow for the secure storage and handling of guest information. This is required from the moment you access your database to the day that you wrap up all event proceedings and start planning for your next event.

Event compliance entails a multitude of considerations. Put your mind at ease and download our Event Compliance Checklist to make sure your events remain on the right side of the law.

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Event technology has changed a lot over the last three decades. Considering that the world’s first personal computer (PC) was only released by IBM in 1981, and the World Wide Web was invented a mere nine years later, digital technology has made some relatively rapid advancements in the last 35 years. In this blog, we take a look the associated advancements in event technology and how these have improved the way we run events in the 21st century. 

The first online event registration tool makes its glorious appearance in 1995 

While South Africa was celebrating its first year as a democratically-led country (under the iconic figure of President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela), Microsoft was releasing Windows 95, while JavaScript – a popular software coding language – made its first introduction on the web development scene. In the same year, the first online meeting registration tool was developed and, in a separate development, a two-dimensional barcode, containing event guest’s full contact details, was printed for the first time on guest’s badges – making it the forerunner of the popular QR code.

Fast-track another five years and the first trade show goes virtual, SpotMe develops a mobile networking device and event technology advances even further

By the year 2001, a virtual event had been run in an online environment for the first time, and the beginnings of what we now know as mobile applications had made their earliest appearance on the digital technology market. Online event technology advanced to include capabilities that allowed event planners to find and book suitable venues, meeting spaces and hotel rooms for their guests. (This may not sound like much now, but it was a massively cost and time-saving breakthrough for event planners at the time). 

Welcome to 2016, where event technology continues to improve in both function and capacity  

In 2016 we can celebrate that wireless connectivity (better known as wifi) has been around for a good 13 years, which means that we have been able to develop capacity for smartphones and ipads to serve as online (and on-site) event registration and entry management tools. Event database software systems can now also be updated and operated in real-time. We can pull off events that are interactive and fully-immersive thanks to ongoing advances in event technology. We are a far cry from the pen-and-paper approach that was undoubtedly the order of the day for event organisers before the 1980s.  

Download our Event Technology 101 guide to find out more on everything you have ever wanted to know about event tech.

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It’s the start of a new year and the event management industry social-sphere is abuzz with predictions for upcoming event management and planning trends for 2016. If you haven’t yet thought about how to utilise these trends to enhance your own event planning activities for the year, then you may find the following tips to be quite useful.

A summary of event management trends to use or lose for the year ahead

This article from Eventbrite suggests that in order to pull off your most talked about events of 2016 you should keep the following in mind:

Organise events that look to engage guests in unique, live and fully immersive experiences

2016 will be all about producing event experiences that are engaging, immersive, experiential, and uniquely customised to guests’ needs and preferences. These bespoke events will pursue live experiences, capitalise on audio-visual elements, can be pop-up, and should definitely focus on both quality and quirk factors.

Remember to blend tech with genuine connection and human experiences

Thanks to second generation mobile apps and sophisticated digital technology, events in 2016 will look to becoming increasingly omni-channel. Despite a strong focus on maximising on available event tech and event management software, event guests still want environmentally friendly and connected experiences that are organised with a human touch.

Event examples that are tech-driven, digital, and deeply engaging

Rocking the Daisies is an annual music festival that gathers music enthusiasts to listen to live music (that ranges from folk to trance), camp under the stars and share their appreciation of good sound. AfrikaBurn, an enormously popular, theme camp event in the Klein Karoo in South Africa, blends art displays, costumes, music, and live performances to gather creatives from across the world to enjoy a quirky and creative, week-long experience of ‘anything goes’ in the creative sphere. Corporate events can make use of versatile venues or projection mapping to create equally stimulating and engulfing event experiences.According to the team at Go2 Productions, project mapping is a virtual technique that turns static objects, such as buildings, vehicles or props, into “dynamic display surface[s] for video projection”.  Video technology can be incorporated to pull online communities into the event to enhance the event experience.

More points to consider when organising your next event:

Collaboration is key

While many believe that modern technology is leading to an increasingly anti social society, event guests are still looking for experiences that are shared, collaborative, and that invite their active involvement. Think of the Colour Run – the “original paint race”- which attracts thousands of eager walkers, joggers and runners, of all ages, from across one city to participate in a city-based run, during which time they get doused in colourful powder. These events are increasingly popular because of their fun, quirky and collaborative nature, which also lends itself to a great buzz on social media.

Take care to create an unforgettable brand journey

Event guests need to be taken on memorable brand journey, says Wahaca’s digital marketing manager, Paola Feregrino-Rodriguez. According to Paola, guests need to be actively engaged, “from the ticket purchase, pre-event warmup/buzz, during the event to post-event communications.”Effective event database software can help event professionals handle multiple RSVP guest lists, send out well designed and personalised event invitations and SMS reminders, and allow for easy, on-the-day registration, to assist with the smooth delivery of such a brand journey.

What are best practices for email invitations, online registrations and managing RSVPs? Download our guide to learn about RSVP ‘eventiquette’ and the 10 practical steps to RSVP.

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Admission Tickets

The guests you invite to your corporate events are individuals valued by your brand – they’re either VIPs, brand advocates or potential brand advocates. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to plan an event that they love. In addition, the more info you have about them, the easier it’ll be to plan marketing campaigns and strategies that resonate and engage.

How to do this? With ERM™ (Event Relationship Management) software.

We wrote about using ERM™ to your brand’s advantage here. ERM™, or Event Relationship Management, is the practice of using data that you’ve collected about your guests, to create events, marketing campaigns and brand offerings that are in line with the specific demographics of your target market. Successful ERM relies on the use of sophisticated event management software. Without an intelligent tool at your disposal, collecting, storing and analysing this invaluable data can be incredibly difficult.

Here’s how events management software enables you to gain crucial consumer insight:

Send online invitations.
Sending out email invitations – that can be viewed on a mobile device and online – you can start to gather data about your guests from the get- go. This is the very first step in the ERM process. Your online invites allow you to ask your guests specific questions pertaining to your brand and the event in question. For example, you can find out the name of your guests’ partners; their dietary preference; the car they drive; the gender of their children; their favourite cocktail – and so on.

Receive real-time updates.
Events management software notifies you as guests read, open and RSVP to your online invitations. This means that you don’t have to continuously follow up to see the status of your guest list. In addition, all of this information is stored in a secured server which is crucial if you’re collecting sensitive information about high-profile guests. This data is accessible via one dashboard, so you won’t have to search through countless documents or files.

Run post-event surveys.
It’s essential that you find out your guest’s experience of the event. Gathering their feedback is paramount to the success of your future events, as well as your marketing campaigns. Events management software enables you to run post-event surveys, and then store this data along with the rest of your guest list information.

When combined and viewed holistically, you’re left with a source of rich data about your guests.

Importantly, event management software retains all of this information for you, so that when you talk to your customer again the next year, you’ll be able to prepopulate all of their information. For example, if you’re inviting them back to a golf day, you’ll already know their shirt size, handicap, favourite drink, car registration, etc.

Because event management software enables you to collect relevant information, you’ll be able to ask your guests questions like ‘Is champagne still your favourite drink?’, ‘Are you still using a Canon camera?’ etc. If you’re managing a corporate getaway, you’ll know not to take peanuts on the game drive, as one of your guests is allergic. In the same vein, you’ll be able to offer your VIP’s wife a vegetarian snack, as you already know that she’s a strict vegan.  Remember that it’s these small details that are crucial for successful ERM. If you don’t have this information on hand, you’ll irritate guests if they have to re-enter it year after year.

Find out about our event management software here, drop us an email, or give us a call.

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