From photos and messages to bank details and addresses, the amount of information we share with friends, family and businesses is vast. Rightly or wrongly, consumers put a great amount of faith in the notion that companies and organizations will protect their data.
In Europe, data protection will undergo a significant shake up in May when the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply.
The legislation will update the 1995 Data Protection Directive — introduced at a time when the digital age was in its infancy — and will impact both citizens and businesses.
Among other things, the GDPR is set to boost people's right to be forgotten and guarantee free, easy access to their personal data. Organizations and businesses will also have to inform people about data breaches that could negatively impact them, and do this "without undue delay." Relevant data protection supervisory authorities also need to be told.
The European Commission has said that a new single law on data protection will replace "the current inconsistent patchwork of national laws." Businesses, it says, will be able to deal with one law rather than 28, with the financial benefits estimated at 2.3 billion euros ($2.73 billion) per year.
Dean Banks, managing director for U.K. construction services at Balfour Beatty, told CNBC that the international infrastructure group was mindful to make sure it met and adopted regulations that were in place. "It is a changing field," he said.
"As we put more and more data into the cloud, we've got to think about how we protect that data, not only for the interests of Balfour Beatty but for our clients, for our supply chain and for the data integrity of the individual employees that we have working here."
Banks said the business used encryption, algorithms and worked with third parties to make sure it was at the forefront "of using the right technology to protect the consumer's needs."
RoOomy is a business that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality and 3-D technology to change the way people visualize homes and spaces.
Its vice president of development and global operations, Enrico Rosa, said that new regulations such as GDPR were "pushing companies to take people's and consumers' and customers' information more seriously and treat it with respect."