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There was a time when data security meant "armed guards, closed circuit cameras and a good lock on the file cabinets," says Jason Neal, director of IT and web development for Brightspot Incentives & Events. "Today, the topic of securing data is a very complex one, and that complexity has greatly impacted the business of managing meetings and events."

Cybercrime will cost the world more than $6 trillion annually by 2021, according to global research company Cybersecurity Ventures, and many cybercriminals target small businesses -- including plenty of meeting planners.

"All meeting planners, whether corporate, association or independent, should have standard language in their RFPs and service-level agreements with third-party service providers asking how their attendee data will be protected by third-party staff," advises Kevin Iwamoto, speaker, author, educator and senior consultant at GoldSpring Consulting. "This can be augmented by asking if their data privacy protection standards are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR] regardless if the organizer, event and attendees have European Union residents/citizens or not."

What else can meeting planners do to ensure their organizations don't become cyberattack victims and that their attendees' data is protected?


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