By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), which represents the voice-sector in the IT-business process outsourcing sector, yesterday said the sector is adequately protected against security breaches stressing that protection and privacy of data has become the latest critical threat to the growth of the country’s leading dollar earner.
Although CCAP members are adequately protected from unauthorized, illegal and data breaches as it complies with the various policies and protection measures required by their various multinational clients from different industries, they also stressed the need to embed data protection measures in their culture to prevent and mitigate any threats to their system.
CCAP President Jojo Uligan during a press conference with Raymund Liboro, chairman of the National Privacy Commission (NPC), for the Data Privacy Asia 2017 on July 20, 2017 in Makati Shangri-La said that while the industry will continue to grow, it could miss to capture new growth if data protection is not adequate. The upcoming “Data Privacy and Cyber Security: Impact on Outsourcing” is presented by the CCAP in partnership with Data Privacy Asia Pte. Ltd. It will be the first time for the Philippines to host this event.
“So far, we are fully compliant, but we need to capture more because there are different ways of serving clients,” Uligan said.
Uligan stressed that the market is changing and everything is transforming but data privacy is one critical factor that the industry still needs to fully understand.
“We need to understand to be able to cover as a country and clients and how to protect ourselves, on what steps to take and trends to watch out for to be able to prepare us because the Philippines is so fortunate and we are very optimistic about growth but there are factors that will affect growth so we need to align our activities with the NPC,” he said.
Uligan said the industry is still on track with its 7-8 percent growth target this year although the first half of the year has always been slower historically.
NPC has been conducting joint activities with specific sectors. Liboro said that global priority sectors are government, banks, telcos, health and information. For the Philippines, the NPC has marked the IT-BPO as a priority sector.
Tonichi Achurra-Parekh, trustee for CCAP Security Council, said this is largely because the BPO cuts a wide swath of industries. Normally, one agent processes between 100 to 200 transactions a day. Globally, data showed that 3.4 billion of personal records were stolen in the first quarter of this year alone.
Liboro said there has not been massive complaints against a particular sector or issue in the country, except on complaints of breaches on personal health data.
Liboro said that under the Republic Act 10173, otherwise known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012, companies with 250 employees and data processes of at least 1,000 in personal records are required to register with the commission on or before September 9 this year their data security protection measures and processes, including their Data Protection Officer. Already, half of the 285 government agencies have registered with NPC.
“Data privacy is becoming a fast differentiating factor worldwide whether personal or otherwise. So, a lot is at stake because this is crucial in today’s environment. Trust is becoming a big factor and if we equate privacy to trust, that is big,” said Liboro.
He cited that big companies which are outsourcing some of their processes are looking into the data protection privacy measures.
“There is no turning back to data privacy. It is big now and going to be bigger and a lot is at stake to become fully compliant,” he stressed.
Liboro further said that data protection is a growing industry and creating a new brand of careers globally. He said that EU alone is appointing over 77,000 Data Protection Officers by next year.
EU’s data protection rules will also take effect on May 26, 2018 where it is tightening rules to ensure that cross border data obtain adequacy protection status.
Liboro also noted that the US is closely guarding digital security breaches as he noted that the last acts of former President Barack Obama were on data security protection measures.
Espie Bulseco-Serrano, senior director for business excellence at the Hinduja Global Solutions, said that outsourcing firms need to understand their legal obligations and to embed the law under their existing information management and security systems.
To embed this data protection measures into their culture requires formulation of stringent management structure to help implement government regulations.