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Posted on 09/15/2022

Top 5 data privacy trends In hybrid and virtual events to look out for in 2022

In this content, we discuss the current data privacy trends to look out for in your next event. With the pandemic coming into effect, virtual events have become a common part of our realities and went up by 1000% in 2020. Since then, we all have grown accustomed to joining events and webinars from the comfort of our homes or cozy cafes. 

However, hosting a virtual or hybrid event is not as simple as showing up on video and connecting with the attendees. 

Conducting a virtual event requires you to have the right tech stack to ensure your meeting runs smoothly without any quality issues. Additionally, most of these events involve sensitive user data like payment details and personal identification, and keeping this data safe must be the top priority for organizers. 

What is data privacy?

Back when the pandemic was in its full force, many of us relied on video conferencing platforms to stay connected with the world. This was the time when the cases of Zoombombing were very prominent. Uninvited participants would join an ongoing meeting to disrupt the meeting. 

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Later, Zoom was accused of wrongfully sharing their users’ data with Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. As a result, an $85 million lawsuit was filed against Zoom for violating the data privacy of its users. 

Virtual events are a goldmine for hackers to break in and steal your attendees’ sensitive information, and data privacy is your north star.

Data privacy is essential for protecting data and preventing any unauthorized access. It consists of the company’s procedures and guidelines for gathering, disseminating, and utilizing this data. State or federal laws that are relevant to businesses in a particular region or sector are frequently the sources of inspiration for these policies.

Top data privacy trends in virtual or hybrid events

As virtual and hybrid events are reaching maturity today, cybersecurity is the key to minimizing these threats and safeguarding your attendees’, stakeholders’, and employees’ data. This involves taking the necessary actions like complying with CCPA or GDPA laws, using multi-level authentication to restrict access, strengthening your tech ecosystem to detect vulnerabilities, and many other measures. 

From the users’ end, taking precautionary measures like deleting cookies, updating anti-virus, using VPNs to mask IP addresses, and changing passwords frequently prevents data breaches.

Other than these ‘non-negotiable’ measures, stay one step ahead by implementing the latest and upcoming trends in data security in your virtual events. 

Here are some trends you need to look out for to take your data privacy measures to the next level. 

1. Third-party cookies will cease to exist

Both marketers and hackers love cookies. While the former use them to decode their customer’s behavior, the latter use them to access their account and steal their information. Public WiFis and non-secured networks are to blame!

However, Google made it official in Jan 2020 that the third-party cookies are going away for good. Though this change will be reflected by the end of 2024, you need to be proactive about forming a backup plan for collecting customers’ data without leaving it unprotected. 

When this cookie-less future might prevent hackers from gawking around your data, it may be challenging for your marketers to get audience insights. How to turn that around?

Here are some measures that will help you get future-ready. 

  • Seek consent by providing your customer the option to opt-out
  • Offer something valuable in exchange for information
  • Develop and maintain a good relationship with your customers—offer them perks and a good shopping experience
  • Be upfront about your privacy policies—put it up online, showcase it on checkout pages

2. Growing focus on audience analytics 

Data analytics and measurement are crucial elements in virtual events. 

You get access to data such as what, when, and how long your audience interacts in your event. It opens up avenues for marketers to get more strategic in their marketing strategy and make informed decisions about upcoming events. 

They’ll get a better understanding as to which speakers to invite or how much money they should spend on their event. It also helps them understand whether they’re reaching the audience they want and whether those people behave in ways that indicate interest in their product or service offerings.

Removing some guesswork from these processes will allow you to focus more on what matters most. Moreover, it’ll help you understand their consent over data privacy—up to what extent they are willing to share their personal information, what they want to opt out of, and so on.  

So, ensure your attendees have an engaging experience at your event without fussing over how you use their data. 

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3. Biometric verification is booming

Biometric verification uses biometric data, such as fingerprints or facial recognition, to verify a person’s identity. These are typically combined with other information to complete a digital transaction. 

For example, when you buy something online from some sites, you often need to enter your password and then scan your finger for security reasons. This can be done through either an optical reader or by taking photos of your face using a smartphone app (like Apple Pay).

Often, checking in and registering for virtual events can get confusing. Especially when a large set of attendees have registered for the event and want to check in, it gets challenging to handle or troubleshoot issues or address their questions.

Biometric verification has become increasingly common in virtual events because it helps ensure that people are who they say they are—not someone pretending to be them. Using biometric data as an entry for your event ensures that the security standards are as high as feasible because a face cannot be forged easily.

You’ll see biometric technology being used at airports, banks, government agencies, security companies, schools, universities, and many other places.

4. Extra payment security measures

Online payments have become the norm and requirement in today’s digital landscape. Attendees want to avoid laborious or manual payment processes, and a simple and quick payment option is their resort. However, payment security is an integral part of any event you must take extra precautions for. 

As opposed to traditional credit card payment methods, several new and secure methods have evolved today. 

Anonymity

The ability to pay without being identified as someone who belongs at your event. For this, many payment options are available today, such as cryptocurrency, PayPal, Google Pay, Venmo, prepaid credit cards, and many others.

Remember that complete anonymity is still impossible as most transactions require a minimum of two parties to agree with the payment terms.

Security

You need a system that protects from fraud, theft, and identity theft by preventing unauthorized access to data during payments. 

For example, Google Pay has a policy that prevents its users from sending payments before confirming the identity of the person they’re sending it to.

Entities

Another option is to put your assets in a trust. These assets can include cash and stocks, vehicles, properties, and business interests. The trust then uses your assets to make payments, and you won’t be personally associated with the payments made by the trust.

5. AI-based predictions will be big

AI will play an increasingly larger role in helping organizations detect malicious activity before it becomes public knowledge.

It uses machine learning algorithms on specific patterns, such as payment card numbers being entered into web forms by attendees at events like virtual conferences. It’s also possible that this technology could one day replace traditional security measures altogether by detecting threats based solely on behavioral patterns rather than hard coding rules like passwords and usernames—a concept called ‘behavioral biometrics.”

Additionally, AI has revolutionized the virtual meeting experience by making it more personalized. Attendees can engage with the presenter through polls, quizzes, and games and that too live with the presenter. 

Data privacy is the real deal

Data privacy is becoming a crucial pillar to organizing a successful virtual event, and it’s something that all parties involved need to be aware of. 

Organizations must ensure they have adequate policies and procedures in place and a team or department responsible for overseeing these policies. Audience members should also be aware of what types of data are collected from them when attending your event so they can make informed decisions about whether or not they want their information shared with third parties (such as sponsors).

Not complying with data privacy laws can result in hefty fines; worse, you’ll risk losing your customer’s trust and business reputation. Moreover, it sets you apart from your competitors, who don’t bother about data privacy as much. 

So, take that step toward data privacy protection in your virtual meetings and provide a memorable event experience for your attendees. 


This article was written and co-developed with contributory author Deepali who is an engineer-turned-freelance writer for B2B SaaS, writing actionable long-form content for marketing, Cybersecurity, and HR-Tech companies. When she’s not writing, she’s engrossed in a cozy murder mystery novel with a cup of hot chocolate!

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