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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The majority of corporate events rely on online invitations as a way to conduct an RSVP process that’s efficient and accurate. What many planners aren’t aware of however, is that online invitations are so much more than merely a way to invite guests to an event. If you’re using invitation software that’s intelligent, you’ll be not only able to gather all the information that’s relevant to your event, but to your brand as a whole too.

Online invitations are a corporate event planner’s secret weapon for an event planning process that’s driven by data.

The more you know about the people who’re invited, the better equipped you’ll be to create an event that resonates. In turn, planning an event is that much easier – across every single aspect of an event.

If you know that the majority of your guests are vegetarians, you’ll be able to create a menu that’s appropriate and know that your culinary choice won’t alienate any guests. In addition, information obtained via your online invitations can alert you to elements that you may not have given adequate attention to. If you see that a guest has indicated that they’ll require a disabled parking space, you’ll know to ensure that they’re also able to easily access the venue and the restrooms.

The number of parking spaces and choice of entertainment are also able to be based on hard data that you’ve accessed via your online invitations.

Online invitations that are integrated into a sophisticated RSVP software solution are a powerful means of gathering vital data about your guests.

Besides the usual dietary preference, golf shirt size and partner’s name, online invitations enable you to collect invaluable information about your brand’s market. The wealth of information that you’re able to obtain makes it essentially another way of doing market research. You’ll glean insight into their behaviour and demographics, which includes information like age, marital status, location, industry, job titles etc.

If you’re organising a conference, for example, by examining the talks and presentations or recreational activities that guests sign up for, you’ll be able to piece together an accurate picture of not only who your guests are, but their interests too.

We live in an age where information is used as currency, which means that the more detailed and accurate your data is, the more valuable your market offering.

Consumers have become increasingly difficult to engage. However, the more information you have about your audience, the easier it is to create an experience, product or service that they relate too.

Events are essentially another form of marketing, and the industry is becoming increasingly data-driven in order to catch the attention of an audience who’s more discerning than ever. Data collected via online invitations is therefore invaluable – not just to the event in question, but to the brand as a whole. The more clarity you have about your guests, the better your offering will be.

Industry-leading brands like Coca Cola have seen the tangible benefits of our online invitations system.

Coca Cola used our RSVP management system two years in a row for their ‘Santa’s Workshop’ year-end celebration. For the first year’s event, we gathered information about their employees’ children’s ages, genders, dietary requirements, etc. This allowed them to segment the children into age groups and provide the appropriate entertainment and gifts. The second year’s event was so much easier to organise as we were able to prepopulate all the data – saving huge amounts of time and streamlining the event planning process.

Clients are also using our system to ask guests if they would like to be invited to future events.  Some are even listing the events that will be taking place in the coming months and asking clients to select which one they would prefer to attend.  That way, you already have their permission regarding future communication, as well as knowing which event to invite them to.  This is becoming more important as POPI is introduced.

There’s a wealth of information waiting to be mined, but in order to do this properly, you need the right kind of RSVP management software. Click here to find out more about our innovative RSVP management software, and here to view some of our clients.

Image Credit: Yorkshire Envelopes