France has experienced a profound shock to its way of life during the pandemic, creating an unprecedented surge in digital demand as its economy moves online.
The implementation of the COVID-19 lockdown forced businesses from restaurants to art galleries to close – but in doing so, web traffic exploded, with Orange having to double its capacity through underseas internet cables to handle the demand. At the height of the lockdown, streaming sites like Netflix and YouTube were also asked by European governments to throttle their services due to the explosion in web use from video conferencing through to social media and online software use.
But as people transition to digital and start working from home, the use of data has once again become a central issue. In the wake of the pandemic, the French government has been developing an app for contact tracing that will be rolled out nationally, but there have been questions about privacy, and the wide ranging implications of people’s personal information, medical history and more being accessed by cyber criminals.
There’s no quick fix solution to the contact tracing problem, and traditional businesses that have depended on the high street for sales are also transitioning to e-commerce and moving their entire models online. This again poses a data challenge, and a risk when it comes to securing personal information.
Specialist companies that work in the data security space such as Verity Systems have seen how the landscape is evolving, and what it means for businesses to protect themselves.
“There has been a dramatic shift for many businesses to digital, and we have seen in France in particular, an increasing demand for data security products such as degaussers and hard drive destroyers,” said David Tucker, President of Verity Systems.
The transition from physical to digital for many businesses is a huge hurdle, but with Europe’s strict data laws and GDPR once again coming back to the spotlight, businesses are having to consider how they store, and erase data once it is no longer in use.
With COVID-19, there is a unique opportunity for France to lead Europe in bringing forward new laws to protect citizen data, and has already been working with a number of nations including India to create a ‘data safe’ environment for all.
The question is, with all the disruption to businesses, can they make sure that personal data remains safe during this shift?