Tag: data security

Event Planners – Look After Your Attendee Data or Face the Music

As an event planner, you will know how important the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in raising the issue of data security.  In fact, a 2018 industry found that more than 75% of event planners believe that the safekeeping of their attendee data will be a much bigger priority for them because of GDPR.  But why should event professionals start taking responsibility for data security and what are the things they need to do to minimise the risks of breach?

What Event Planners Need to Know About GDPR and Data Security

Remember that GDPR is all about protecting the rights of individuals over organisations. It is an important piece of legislation that ensures that organisations dealing with personal information (and the events industry is no exception here!) are doing so in a transparent and secure way – and always in the individual’s best interests.

We’re already starting to see how GDPR is changing the way companies market themselves. After Facebook’s recent data breach scandal with Cambridge Analytica, the social networking giant has run an extensive advertising campaign promoting its security credentials.  We’ve also seen others like Barclays and the NHS using radio ads and billboards to assure customers that the safety of their personal information is a priority for them as an organisation.  This is only the beginning.

Read: Is the Facebook Data Breach Scandal a Wake-Up Call for the Events Industry?

For meetings and events, there are three important reasons why data security is now more important under GDPR:

  • GDPR makes ‘Privacy by Design’ a legal requirement, which means privacy concerns and the security of attendee data should be a consideration from the offset of all your event planning activities – and not just an afterthought.
  • GDPR requires you to take responsibility on how your third-party data processors (hotels, venues, agencies and event tech suppliers) are also looking after your attendee data.
  • GDPR makes it compulsory to notify authorities within 72 hours of discovering a security breach – it is therefore important for event teams to understand what constitutes a breach and what they should do if data is compromised.

eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Security in a Post-GDPR World

You may think that the whole issue of data security is something that needs to be dealt with by your IT, legal and operations team.  But the reality is that there are many day to day things that you may be doing as an event planner that could easily put your organisation under serious risk of a breach. Things like sharing system passwords and emailing delegate lists.  Not briefing freelances properly, losing devices and using open Wi-Fi networks.   These are just some examples but there are many more.

A new eBook from Eventsforce titled, ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Security in a Post-GDPR World’ investigates some of these common data security vulnerability areas for meetings and events and offers readers some practical advice on what they can do to look after their attendee data. It also provides some useful information on how to identify a data breach and what steps to take if attendee data does end up getting lost, stolen or compromised.

Event planners can also use the two checklists that are included within the eBook. One is for event team leaders and the other for individual team members, to ensure everyone follows the same processes when it comes to data protection and the safety of attendee data.

The eBook follows the publication of the ‘Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance’ which looked at the impact of the new legislation on things like event marketing, data management and event technology – along with some practical steps on how planners can prepare for the new GDPR requirements.

Conclusion

If there is one thing that GDPR has achieved it is that the ownership and responsibility for data protection and security now rests on everyone.

The volume of personal information we collect in our industry is staggering. And doing things that minimise the chances of this data getting into the wrong hands will give your attendees confidence that you are on the case and looking after them properly.

Doing this all the time will boost your reputation, generate more confidence and ultimately bring you more business.  After all, why would people want to work with organisations who are doing as little as possible to safeguard their personal information?

But it will, however, require a shift in thinking.  Some of the ways in which event planners operated in the past will need to be changed.  But those who embrace this change will be the ones who stand out.  By making data security a priority around their events, they will be able to show attendees that their organisation can be trusted with their most valuable asset – their personal information.

You can download the ‘Event Planner’s Guide to Data Security in a Post-GDPR World’ here.


Eventsforce offers a comprehensive set of event management solutions, services and expertise that can help with data security and support the event planner’s journey to GDPR readiness. Get in touch by contacting one of our team members at gdpr@eventsforce.com.

 

 

 

 

Is Facebook Data Breach a Wake-Up Call for Events Industry?

The Facebook data scandal that’s unravelled this week is an important reminder to everyone in the events industry as to why GDPR is happening. The incident has shaken up people’s trust in the way organisations manage their personal information and highlighted the need for more tighter regulations around data protection.

Event planners should use this opportunity to learn from the mistakes made by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and think very carefully about how they’re going to look after the personal information of attendees in a post-GDPR world.

Download eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance 

Why is Facebook in Trouble?

In 2014, Facebook invited users to find out their personality type via a quiz developed by a Cambridge University researcher. About 270,000 users’ data was collected, but the app also collected some public data from users’ friends. Facebook has since changed the amount of data developers can gather in this way, but a whistle-blower says the data of about 50 million people was harvested for political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica. He claims the firm used the data to psychologically profile people and influence voters on behalf of clients – including Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Facebook says users’ data was obtained legitimately but Cambridge Analytica failed to delete it when told to do so. Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica denies any wrongdoing – saying it did delete the data when told to by Facebook.

The repercussions of this incident so far?  Facebook has lost around $50 billion in its market value over two days and we’re now seeing the #DeleteFacebook campaign which is rapidly sweeping across the Internet, as people leave the site in protest again its use of data harvesting and manipulation. Advertisers are also now telling Facebook ‘enough is enough’ with news on the BBC emerging that the ISBA, a trade body which represents major UK advertisers, will meet Facebook this week saying if the company fails to provide assurances about the security of users’ data, advertisers may spend money elsewhere.

How is it Related to GDPR?

According to Reuters, privacy experts have said the data breach is a prime example of the kind of practices that GDPR is supposed to prevent or punish: “Had the Cambridge Analytica incident happened after GDPR becomes law on May 25, it would cost Facebook 4% of their global revenue,” said Austrian privacy campaigner and Facebook critic Max Schrems. Because a UK company was involved and because at least some of the people whose data was misused were almost certainly European, GDPR would have applied.

The maximum GDPR fine would come into play in an incident like this because of the number of users affected and what appears to have been inadequate monitoring of third-party data practices: “The fact of the matter is that Facebook lost control of the data and wasn’t adequately monitoring what third-parties were doing,” said Scott Vernick, partner and expert in privacy and data security at law firm, Fox Rothschild.

The article goes further to say that the firestorm has prompted a furious response from lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic, raising the prospect of expanding GDPR’s approach to privacy protection regulations to other countries. Again, a warning for organisations of what may lay ahead once the new legislation comes into force.

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has admitted that the social network ‘made mistakes’, apologising for the incident and admitting that a huge ‘breach of trust’ has occurred – but needless to say, damage is done.  People have lost confidence in Facebook and the way it manages their personal information.  And this is key when you look at why GDPR is happening in the first place.

GDPR is all about the protecting the rights of individuals over organisations.  And it’s happening because current legislations no longer meet the privacy needs of the connected world we live in today. We’re giving away our personal information freely to organisations without much thought into how they’re using it and how they’re keeping it safe from both theft and manipulation.  And this is exactly what GDPR wants to address: that organisations dealing with personal data (the events industry is no exception here) are doing so in a transparent and secure way – and always in the individuals best interests.

Ironically, Zuckerberg’s response to the incident reiterates the same thing: “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.”

The Importance of Data Security in Events

GDPR will certainly change attitudes to individual rights when it comes to data protection – especially in events. It will also change the mindset of event planners when it comes to deciding what data they should collect from attendees, how they use that data for things like marketing campaigns and personalisation, and what they need to do to keep that data safe.


Did you know that a data breach is essentially what can get your events into a lot of trouble under GDPR? Find out what you should do to prevent your attendee data from getting lost, stolen or compromised by getting your copy of ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Security in a Post-GDPR World‘.


In fact, the issue of data security in a post-GDPR world is hugely important for the events industry.  A survey by Eventsforce last month assessing the GDPR readiness of more than 120 event professionals found that 81% believe data security will be a bigger priority for their events after the May 2018 deadline. And yet surprisingly, only 30% have taken steps to update their data security practices or prepare for a data breach (both of which are key to compliance requirements).

Data security is also an important issue when assessing the GDPR readiness of technology providers that process personal data on behalf of events (ex. registration systems, mobile apps, surveys, networking tools). The survey, however, found that only 41% of event planners were confident that their systems met the new requirements.

As an event professional, you may think that the whole issue of data security is something that needs to be dealt with by your IT, legal and operations teams – but the reality is that there are many things event planners do today that can put their organisations at a serious risk of a data breach and non-compliance to the new GDPR requirements:

  • Emailing unsecure spreadsheets that contain personal attendee data
  • Not paying attention to the data freelancers and temp staff have access to
  • Leaving printed registration lists unattended on-site
  • Not reporting theft or loss of laptops and devices that contain personal information
  • Not changing system passwords often enough/sharing passwords with others

It is therefore more important than ever for event planners to understand what they should and shouldn’t do when it comes to collecting, processing and securing the personal information of attendees under GDPR.

What Should Event Planners Do?

Most event planners will follow their organisation’s own set of data security and protection policies when it comes to storing and sharing event data – from communication procedures to firewalls, encryption and anti-virus software.  However, it is important to take some additional steps that will help your events meet GDPR requirements and minimise the chances of data getting into the wrong hands:

1) Keep Your Data Safe

GDPR makes ‘Privacy by Design’ a legal requirement, which put simply means that privacy concerns should be a consideration from the offset in any event planning campaign – and not simply an afterthought. Data protection and processing safeguards must become part of the DNA of all the systems and processes you have in place. This will be a major shift in thinking for event planners and something they need to think about now, not later.

You need to think about risk factors and see how you can minimise them. For example, find out who has access to your event data, whether they need to have that access and what happens to that access when the event is over? You should also assess the kind of personal information you’re collecting in registration forms, apps and surveys around your events.  Do you need to ask your attendees all the demographic information you currently do? If you’re never going to use their phone numbers, then don’t ask the question. If you only need to verify they’re over 18, don’t ask for birth dates or passport details.  Don’t forget, the more personal data you hold, the higher your chances of risk.

Read: Infographic – How to Keep Your Event Data Safe

2) Assess Security Practices of Suppliers

Just like Facebook should have taken more adequate measures in monitoring what third-parties were doing with users’ personal data – event planners should look into how their event data is being managed by all the third-party suppliers they deal with around their events (tech vendors, staffing agencies, hotels, venues, event management agencies etc). Why? Because if in the course of an investigation, the authorities find that these parties have not been compliant, then the host organisation may also be liable too (even if they themselves were compliant).

Find out how suppliers like your registration software vendor are managing the data they’re processing on your behalf.  How are they using the personal information of people coming to your events, who has access to this data and where are they based?  How important is data security for them and do they follow best practices?  How long do they keep your data for and what procedures do they have in place to delete this data when you ask them to? What about their own suppliers and contractors who also have access to their data?  You need to ensure they can clearly explain what contractual and legal safeguards they have in place to look after your data at all times. Having the answers to these questions will protect you from any unpleasant surprises in the future.

Read: 5 questions to ask your event tech providers about GDPR compliance

3) Prepare for a Data Breach

Failing to report a data breach within 72 hours can result in crippling fines under GDPR – so ensuring that everyone on your events team has a good understanding of what constitutes a data breach (ex. Loss of iPad containing registration lists) and how to follow best practices is key to compliance. You also need to think about what processes you need to put in place once a breach has been identified, including how to report it within the three-day timeframe.

Conclusion

GDPR clearly presents some new challenges for event planners, but it also brings some big opportunities too. By focusing on the rights of individuals over organisations, the new regulation will help events become a lot more responsible in the way they manage the personal information of people coming to their events. Those that can show they’re dealing with personal information in a transparent and secure way and have respect for the privacy of individuals will succeed in building new levels of trust.  And given what we’ve seen this week, this will be key in deciding which organisations people choose to deal with in the future.


Eventsforce offers a comprehensive set of event management solutions, services and expertise that can help with data security and support the event planner’s journey to GDPR readiness. Get in touch by contacting one of our team members at gdpr@eventsforce.com.

 

Top Event Tech at 2018 Winter Olympics and 5 Other Stories Event Planners Should Read

There have been a number of important technology stories over this past month that are of particular interest to our industry – from the incredible display of drones, 3D projection mapping and AR at the world’s biggest winter sporting event to the growing concern around data security amongst event planners preparing for GDPR.  In this month’s round-up, we also look at the most recent social media changes event marketers need to be aware of – as well as some great ideas on interactive tech designed to boost attendee engagement and bring a wow factor to your events.

Have a look at the top event tech stories you don’t want to miss:

Bizbash: Event Producers Give Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony a B+

The opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics took place in South Korea last month, delivering a technology-heavy spectacle to the 35,000-seat Olympic Stadium. This article from Bizbash looks at some of the key highlights from the show, including the use of colourful projection-mapping technology on the stadium floor, augmented reality segments for viewers at home, over one thousand people creating the image of a dove with LED candles during a performance of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ and Intel’s Guinness World Record-breaking light show that incorporated more than 1,200 drones. Take a look here to see what event producers liked and disliked about the kick-off to the Pyeongchang Olympics.

For those of you interested in projection-mapping technology, we’re recommend watching this video from the BBC news site, which gives us a glimpse into where the technology will be heading in the near future. University researchers have developed a new way of using colour lasers and dust particles to create images that float in the air – which makes it possible to use the technology without the need for a screen.

MeetingsNet: Survey Says GDPR Still a Mystery for Majority of Meeting Planners

While most event professionals are taking steps to comply with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new survey has found that 62% still don’t understand what’s required for compliance.  The study also highlights the growing importance of data security in events – given the financial implications of a data breach under the new legislation.  Yet despite 81% saying GDPR will make data security a bigger priority for their events from May 2018, less than 30% have taken steps to update their data security practices or prepare for a breach – and only 41% are confident that their event tech systems meet the new requirements.

You can see the full results of the survey in this infographic here – including details on what steps event planners are currently taking to meet the GDPR deadline, as well as what impact the legislation will have on their marketing activities. The team at MeetingsNet have also produced a great resource for meeting and event planners on GDPR – you can get the ‘Meetings Professionals Guide to GDPR’ here.


Get your FREE eBook: ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance’, and learn what impact Europe’s new data protection regulation will have on event marketing, data management and event technology – as well as what steps event planners need to take now to get ready for the May 2018 deadline.


EventMB: 10 Ideas to Incorporate Interactive Technologies into Your Event

Interactive technologies can be a great addition to events in terms of engagement, interaction with sponsors and exhibitions…and general wow factor.  They can also offer efficiencies and savings in terms of staffing requirements and space.   Event MB has put together a nice round-up of tech solutions that are well suited for events, with details on how to use it, important considerations and how much you can expect to pay to rent these systems for your events – from mirror signage and touch-screen tables to VR headsets, video walls and interactive whiteboards. Have a look here for the full list of interactive technologies that can help you enhance engagement with attendees at events.

The Drum: The Biggest Social Media Changes in the Past 12 Months

Social media clearly plays an important role when it comes to kicking off conversations and creating hype around events. With users predicted to grow by over a million each year over the next five years and the emergence of new regulations like GDPR restricting traditional email marketing, it’s no wonder that more and more businesses are turning to social media to target their audiences.  As such, we thought we’d share with you this article from The Drum which highlights some of the most notable changes that have taken place on the main social networks over the past 12 months – from Snapchat’s new polling tools and Twitter’s increased character limit to Facebook’s ability to save videos that are broadcasted live after they’ve ended.  Read more.

AdWeek: How to Use Technology to Transform Yourself into a Master Networker

This piece from AdWeek looks at how technology can be used to facilitate networking at events – from the perspective of the attendee. Networking apps obviously do well here as they offer attendees the option to scheduling meetings way before the actual event – in areas that are of specific interest to them and as a way of negotiating potential partnerships. Some of the solutions mentioned in the article are simple to use, work in a similar way to dating-apps like Tinder and are powered by artificial intelligence.  LinkedIn and other social media sites are also effective networking tools as they allow attendees to do some background research on key contacts prior to an event. AdWeek also looks at on-site gamification technologies like Klik wearable smart badges which light up when contacts are made. Read more.

Eventplanner: This is How AI Will Impact the Future of Event Planning

Modern attendees want access to digital experiences that will help them enhance their face-to-face interactions, achieve personal goals and get a deeper understanding of the content presented at the event. According to this article from Eventplanner, not only does AI have the ability to do just that, but it can also change the way we plan events.  Let’s look at event websites as an example. Soon you may not need a copywriter for your event page as machines will do it for you – new sites are already offering AI-based design services.

Another example is on-site check-in. Forget about queues and delays at registration desks as we see an emergence of faster check-in solutions that use facial recognition technology. Based on AI and biometrics, these machines will be able to authenticate attendees and grant them access to the event venue, saving organisers a lot of time…and headaches. An interesting read.


If you would like to get similar monthly round-ups on all things event tech, along with some expert advice on how to make the most out of your technology investments, then please sign up to our weekly EventTech Talk Newsletter here.

 

The Rising Threat of Cyber Attacks in Events and 4 Other Technology Stories Planners Should Read

In this month’s round-up of top event tech news, we look at the rising threat of cyber attacks in the events industry and what kind of precautions organisations need to take.  We also bring an overview of this year’s Event Tech Live show in London, which aside from showcasing the latest tech innovations, highlighted just how important the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is going to be for meetings and events, globally next year. Finally, we look at some interesting updates from social media giants, Snapchat and Facebook, as well as the launch of the first NFC-enabled event app.

Have a look at what you may have missed:

Skift: The Meetings Industry Is Not Worried Enough About Cybersecurity

It seems cyber security is not a priority for most meeting planners, but experts warn that it’s just a mater of time before the industry is hit with a major breach, according to this article from Skift.  Just about every week, we hear about another fairly big cyber-security incident that gets talked about in public (think Equifax and Uber) – and there are many more that don’t. According to the article, there is no hard data yet on how widespread hacking is in meetings and events because planners and venue managers are hesitant to discuss it publicly, but that doesn’t mean breaches aren’t happening. One expert from a cyber security training company cites how he gets at least one call a month from event planners who have either had a meeting breached or attendee data compromised.

The article highlights how hackers could steal and use stolen data from events and the kind of things that motivate them, including identity theft, corporate espionage, social activism and practice hacks.  One of the easiest way to get data, for example, is through Wi-Fi at hotels and venues, where they either hack the system itself or set up a hotspot with an official sounding name. The article also makes recommendations on how to make events less vulnerable, including the installation of anti-virus and malware software on staff devices and the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and password managers.

Read: Infographic – How to Keep Your Event Data Safe

Event Tech Talk: 4 Tech Trends from Experts at Europe’s Main Event Tech Show

The annual Event Tech Live show took place in London this month, and once again, it didn’t disappoint.   As Europe’s only dedicated exhibition and conference for event professionals interested in event technology, the show brought together a number of experts debating some of the latest technology trends and issues shaping our industry today.  One topic that kept coming up again and again was the upcoming EU GDPR, which is set to radically change the way events collect and use the personal information of people coming to their events.  And yet an audience poll at the show revealed that MOST event planners had actually very little understanding about the new regulation – which is quite alarming, given the implications.

Read: The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance

Another interesting topic discussed at the show was the future of event apps and whether or not events will start moving towards other alternatives like chatbots in the next year. There were also some interesting questions around personalisation and how event planners decide how much personalisation they should actually do. This was the basis of one panel discussion between Eventsforce, Haymarket Media and the British Council which unveiled the results of a new research study on event personalisation.  Aside from the conference, the event was also a good opportunity to see some of the latest innovations on offer, including an event check-in solution that uses facial recognition technology and a system which scraps the need for spreadsheets when recruiting, scheduling and paying temporary staff around events.  Read more.

TSNN: Noodle Live Launch First-Ever NFC-Enabled Event App

Noodle Live announced this month the availability of the first-ever NFC-enabled app for live events. Instead of using hardware to scan badges, event organisers will be able to design and encode ‘smart’ posters which can be displayed throughout an event. All attendees have to do is download the app, tap their phone on a poster that contains one of these small NFC chips so that they can access event swag, collect contacts and check-in to sessions.

By replacing the need for placing screens around an event venue and scanning badges using QR codes or RFID, the new technology could change the way event touch points work as well as really cut down the cost of implementing contactless technology. More importantly, it means that every aspect of an attendee’s experience is brought back to their own device which makes things easier for them and promotes further engagement.  Read more.

Ad Week: Events Can Now Add Website Links to Snapchat Lenses and Filters

Snapchat is adding a feature to its ads that will allow brands and events to direct followers to websites after playing with a sponsored lens or filter – which is good news for those of you who target Snapchat users and want to use the platform to drive ticket sales for your events. The company also recently rolled out its long-awaited pixel, which allows you to analyse whether or not the ads you place on the platform are driving any traffic to your websites.

These features are all part of Snap’s newly launched ad offering, also dubbed Context Cards, which allow users to view more information about a Snap tagged with a location.  Swiping on a Snap geo-tagged with a location pulls up information like tips, directions, reviews and booking rides through Snapchat’s partnerships like TripAdvisor and Uber.  Read more.

Event MB: Facebook Announces Oculus Venues

According to Event MB, the VR revolution is finally happening – whether we like it or not. Last month, Facebook unveiled Oculus Venues – a new app that allows users to enjoy events, concerts and movies with other people via VR technology. Launching in 2018, the Oculus Venues app works with Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the new affordable Oculus Go mobile VR headset – all part of the social media giant’s plan to get 1 billion people into VR. Click here for the full article which highlights some of the implications VR will bring to the events industry and whether or not it will replace face-to-face experiences.  It also has a video demonstrating how the new Facebook app works.

While on the subject of Facebook, it’s worth noting that group video chat is now available to all Workplace by Facebook users on desktop and mobile – a really great tool for communicating and collaborating with team members and stakeholders around events. Up to 50 people can be included in the group video chats – all you need to do is create a chat group and click the video button to start a video chat with your whole team. Find out more here.


Did you enjoy reading this article? If you would like to get similar monthly round-ups on all things event tech, along with some expert advice on how to make the most out of your technology investments, then please sign up to the EventTech Talk Newsletter here.

How to Use Technology to Effectively Manage Your Event Data

big-data-1667212_1920Technology is always pushing the boundaries on how we plan and run our events. And as the significance of event tech continues to grow, so does the importance of managing all the data we now get from these events.

george-siriusEvent data is incredibly valuable. The more we make of that data, the more valuable it becomes. And yet, managing all this data is one of the most complex issues that event planners are facing today, according to George Sirius, CEO of Eventsforce. He explains here in an interview with global hotel chain, NH Hotel Group, about the challenges and opportunities of data management in the events industry and the kind of technologies that are helping improve event experiences.

Today, there are a number of databases full of customer information generated through various types of events. How can we use this information to provide them with a more personalised event experience?

Personalisation is seen as one of the hottest trends in our industry with attendees increasingly expecting both the communication about an event and the live experience to be tailored to them in some way. Sophisticated data capture tools – from event registration systems and RFID to online surveys and event apps – are helping organisations collect and analyse valuable customer information to create more powerful and targeted events.

So let’s look at a registration system as an example. You can use the data in the system to collate a report on all the delegates that will be attending a particular session at your event.  You may share this list with all the other delegates attending that session to facilitate networking opportunities that are relevant to them.  But you can also do more. Break it down by company type, interests and goals and share the list with your session speaker.  He or she can then use this information to tweak the content of their presentation or personalise it with content or examples that are more relevant to the audience.

Although the legislation is different in each country, is it ethical to use customer contacts collected at an event for subsequent commercial actions? 

Only if the customer is aware and has given authorisation for such actions. Otherwise it is totally unethical.

How does the management of Big Data help to improve the preparation of an event? 

Organisations have different databases to capture different types of information – whether it’s events, sales, marketing, finance, memberships and so on.  All these systems have data in them that can help improve the preparation of an event – so it makes sense to pool them together.  For example, your CRM may have in-depth information on the customers that you want to invite to an upcoming event.  Having this information on hand can help with the personalisation and marketing efforts around your events.

Regarding to post event, how can we transform Big Data into Small Data, or useful information about our attendees or customers? 

There are many ways a customer can engage with an organisation.  For example, with associations, members may attend their events, watch their seminars, sign up to magazine subscriptions, publish papers, attend award events and so on.  Having all this data in one place can give associations clear insight on the kind of things their members are interested in and personalise their event experiences accordingly.

Thanks to technology, we get a lot more information. What technology is providing event planners with the kind of data that would have been difficult to get in the past?

Event apps have made the whole process of collecting data at events a whole lot easier – from facilitating live polls and Q&As to networking tools that can give insight on who your attendees are meeting with at your event. We also now have new tools like iBeacons which prompt your event app to perform a specific action when attendees come within a certain range of the beacon. It’s exciting because it gives event planners control over what they want their attendees to experience. Suppose you want feedback about the sessions and speakers at your event.  You can set up a beacon outside the room so that when people pass by it on their way out from a session, it will prompt the event app to open that session’s survey.

Data security is one of the concerns of the M&E industry. Is there anything that event planners can do to prevent the theft of personal data from their guests or customers? 

Data theft is a problem for any organisation that has valuable information to protect and the events industry is no exception – the amount of information collected from attendees is a goldmine for hackers. Eventsforce conducted a data security study with event planners earlier this year, and the results exposed a number of important vulnerability areas.

Email is one area of vulnerability. It is difficult to encrypt data in emails from end to end – so you should always think about what kind of information you are sharing on email. If you don’t need to email it, don’t. Regularly change the passwords to your event or registration systems and make sure you know who on your team has access to these systems.  Do not store your event data in any physical form (print or external hard drives, USB drives etc.) as this greatly increases the chance of it getting into the wrong hands. If you are, invest in secure cabinets, fit locking doors and ensure you have the proper mechanisms in place to dispose of this data if you need to.

At your events, don’t leave your registration lists, laptops and smart phones unattended and make sure that data on your screens is not visible to unauthorised users.  Be cautious when discussing details over the phone and avoid discussing sensitive information in public areas where you can be overheard.

What are the next challenges or trends that event management software companies face for the next future? 

One of the most important technology trends in the events industry today is data integration. Over the last few years, event planners have done some great things by integrating (or connecting) their event data with payment gateways, check-in solutions and more recently, event apps. However, what is really starting to gain ground is the integration of event management solutions with other business systems – from CRM and finance to marketing and membership solutions.


Want to save time and money and do more with your event data?  Explore new opportunities with this new FREE eBook from Event Industry News and Eventsforce that provides event planners with everything they need to know about event data integration.


Having the ability to automatically share information between your Event Management Solution (EMS) and other business systems can bring a host of benefits:

  • Reduce the endless hours your organization spends replicating data from one system to another.
  • Eliminate security risks associated with email communications and having printed documents lying around.
  • Improve productivity by spending less time on admin tasks and focusing your team’s efforts on other aspects of the event.
  • Deal with accurate data – less errors and inconsistencies that commonly cause problems in communications.
  • Make critical information around your events readily available to the right people, at the right time.

You can read the full interview with NH Hotel Group here.


Want to be a tech savvy event planner?  Subscribe to our weekly EventTech Talk newsletter for the latest technology trends, discussions ad debates shaping our industry today.


 

 

 

 

Infographic: How to Keep Your Event Data Safe

infographic-imageData theft is a problem for any organisation that has valuable information to protect and the events industry is no exception – let’s face it, the amount of information we collect from visitors and attendees is a potential goldmine for hackers.  Keeping this data safe should be one of the event planner’s top priorities but are we doing enough?

The Rising Risk of Cyberattacks

Last month, hackers really upped their game by using internet-connected home devices, such as CCTV cameras and printers, to attack popular websites like Twitter and Spotify. We also saw how 500 million Yahoo user accounts also got compromised – with stolen data including things like usernames, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and encrypted passwords. The truth is that just about every week a major cyber-security event gets talked about in public – and there are many more that don’t.  And the fact that none of them seem to involve the events industry is no reason to sit back and not think about it.

Here is another worrying fact: Most companies sit on cybersecurity breaches for weeks before they’re discovered – while they take hackers only minutes to perpetrate. In 93% of cases where data was stolen, systems were compromised in minutes or less, according to Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report.  But in over 80% of cases, victims didn’t find the breach for weeks or more. The report states that criminals are getting better and faster, yet the defending side is struggling to keep up.

But the threat is not just limited to cyber attacks.  The report found that what was even more pervasive was the effect of physical theft of sensitive paperwork from desks or cars, insiders stealing data for financial gain, and mistakes like sending sensitive information to the wrong person. In fact, one article from Information Week stated that over 40% of data loss is the direct result of internal threats which come about from staff mishandling data – whether intentional or unintentional.

What Has Our Research Found?

Eventsforce conducted its own data security study this year, which exposed a number of important vulnerability areas that event planners should be paying greater attention to – including email communications and managing event system passwords to where and how you should be storing your event data.

Have a look at the infographic below which outlines six preventative tactics that greatly improve the security around your event data:

infographic_how-to-keep-your-event-data-safe


Eventsforce solutions offer event planners a comprehensive range of event planning tools that are highly secure and can be integrated seamlessly with multiple payment gateways and back end business systems.  Find out here how the Liberal Democrats are working with Eventsforce to manage security vetting around its party conferences.


Click to get in touchSources:

Information Week: Insider Threats: 10 Ways to Protect Your Data

CNBC: Most hacks take minutes to do – and weeks to discover

BBC:  Smart home devices used as weapons in website attack

 

How ‘Pokémon Go’ is Revolutionising Audience Engagement and 4 Other Tech Stories Event Planners Should Read

Untitled design (44)As tech-savvy event planners, it’s important to keep yourself updated on some of the latest trends in event technology. These past few weeks have been particularly interesting in that we’ve seen a number of stories hit the headlines that have massive importance for our industry – from the launch of the world’s biggest gaming phenomena to new applications of Beacon and VR technology.

Here are the top event tech stories you don’t want to be missing out on:

 Forbes: 7 Valuable Marketing Lessons Pokémon Go Has Taught Us

So it’s official. Pokémon Go is the most successful gaming phenomena in our history.  It also happens to be the most popular application of Augmented Reality (AR) – the technology that is tipped to be the next big thing in computing.  So why is it important for us as event planners? The game is compelling people to meet up and engage with each other in a way all those pre-event Tweets and e-mail blasts never can.  Some of our colleagues playing the game have literally bumped into other people while their heads where buried in their phone screens, started chatting about what they were looking for and ended up becoming friends!

How can you make augmented reality work for you to get people engaged face to face like that? This great article from Forbes looks at the key marketing principles that have made the game such a roaring success – a great reference to any event planner who’s looking at using gamification or AR as part of its audience engagement strategy.  The gaming craze can also teach us a lot about what attendees want from the blending of digital and live experiences. It’s Pokémon today but what will come tomorrow? Have a look at this piece from EventMB which also does a good job of highlighting some key takeaways for event planners.

 

Untitled design (17)Meetpie.com: Events Industry ‘not taking online security seriously enough’

According to technology experts at IBTM America, event organisers are not taking online security seriously enough, with many not even aware of ways they could be digitally compromised.

Cyber hackers have really upped their game over the last few years with millions of people falling victim to personal data theft. We all remember the stories in the headlines regarding security breaches at Talk Talk and the Ashley Madison dating site. Imagine if your own systems got hacked and exposed the personal details of the hundreds (or thousands) of delegates attending your events each year.  Doesn’t really bear thinking about, does it?

Events deal with highly sensitive customer information, including names, emails, telephone numbers, employment information, disabilities and other confidential details. The wealth of information we collect from our delegates is a gold mine for hackers and safeguarding this data should be key.  If you’re not sure where to start, have a look at this list that provides easy tips on how to go about securing your event data.

Event Magazine: Eurostar Launches Virtual Reality Experience for its Destinations

Many in the events industry are keeping a close eye on Virtual Reality (VR) as tech pioneers like Google and Samsung spearhead the charge to bring the software to the mainstream market. Destination and venue suppliers have invested in the technology as a new way to showcase their products – the latest of which is Eurostar.

Last week, the train operator devised an interactive installation with VR technology at a shopping centre in London to promote it high-speed service and destinations. Users were able to immerse themselves in cities like Paris, Lille and Brussels with a 360 virtual reality experience using the latest Samsung Gear technology.

It’s an important development as just 12 months ago, it was still unclear what VR’s entry point into the events industry would be, but now it’s obvious.  Just looking at IMEX and IBTM World show floors and the sight of event professionals clad with futuristic headsets gawping at their shoes or straining their necks 180-degrees has proved that it’s no passing fad.

Campaign: Google beacon technology helps bring The BFG’s dream jars to life

viralBeacons (small battery-powered transmitters that can be detected by smartphones) are seeing increased adoption in live events, where they’re helping organisers communicate with audiences more intimately than ever before. They’ve also proved to be a good way of collecting data on attendees. They can provide you with insight on their movements at an event, identify hotspots and popular sessions and see how they’re engaging with your event app.

This article from Campaign magazine looks at the application of the technology in the promotion of Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of The BFG.  Entertainment One has become the first company to make commercial use of Nearby Notifications, Google’s new beacon technology, which allows any Android user to receive notifications when they’re within 15 metres of one of 50 six-foot ‘dream jars’ around London landmarks.  Clicking through the notifications gives the user more information about the jars, the installation and the film’s release.  Not only does it offer a great way to engage with the audiences ahead of the film’s launch but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to make use of new technology that offers people relevant digital content.

Venture Beat: Facebook Pilots Event Ticketing Service

Click to get in touchFacebook is piloting a program, with payments powered by Braintree, in which users can purchase tickets to events directly from the social network’s website or app. The aim of the project is to make it easier for people to plan and attend events with their friends, peers and colleagues.

The article explains how in its research, Facebook found that some of the top reasons why people don’t go to an event are because they found out about it too late or they didn’t know who else was going. It may be something more relevant to big social events such as concerts and festivals, but nevertheless the project definitely makes the whole process of ticket purchasing on Facebook a lot faster, especially on mobile devices.