Mark Deem, partner in Mishcon de Reya's Data Practice, has edited Global Data Review's first edition of The Guide to Data as a Critical Asset.
The Guide explores with leading practitioners how to take a fresh look at data as a wider class of asset within a business context. Topics include protecting data in proprietary deals, data protection in the context of mergers and acquisitions, and cybersecurity compliance.
Mark argues that this is a necessary widening of the aperture of the debate, as protecting data as a critical asset of a business is not simply a case of complying with data protection law. Much of the data that a business will have is not "personal data", but regardless, it is important to consider key questions such as:
- Where did the data come from?
- How was it obtained?
- What will our organisation use it for?
- Do we have the rights to use it in that manner?
- Are we holding that asset in a secure and safe manner?
In his introduction, Mark notes that the hackneyed analogy of data being "the new oil" fails to recognise that, whilst the value of oil derives from being a finite resource (with the value being achieved through consumption), data has no such constraints, either in terms of quantity or availability, and will generally be replicated rather than consumed.
Mark adds: "At Mishcon de Reya, we say that we 'defend data rights' and we do so because we appreciate how critical the data asset is to all of our clients. Data is integral to business success and economic growth in general, but at the same time it can also be intensely private and highly sensitive. Clients come to us with a remarkably broad range of data concerns and issues about the use of and protection of data.
The Guide to Data as a Critical Asset reflects my experience and that of some of the peers I most respect, of providing support and advice in the area. The Guide will be a regular publication and as future editions are developed, I hope that it will establish itself as the definitive guide to the subject".