Does data governance and security still matter in 2020?

As the explosion of virtual events rocks the business world have you stopped to ask yourself what’s happening with all that event data?

Vanessa Lovatt, November 23, 2020

Every single touch point with a virtual event involves some sort of data creation: registration, time of sign in, IP logging, questions asked, polls answered, content viewed, logout time and so on and so on. And that brief list is not even the tip of the iceberg…

What’s actually happening to your event data? Who, if anybody, is storing this information, and if so how and where are they storing it? How long for? Are your registrants aware of this? Do you have evidence of top-level security protocols across your virtual event suppliers? Do they have ISO 27001 certification?

If you are well along your virtual event journey you will likely already be talking about your virtual event ‘tech stack’ – but have you added security measures to this conversation? If you haven’t, and if data security still matters in 2020, then it’s time to get this back at the top of the table for discussion.

At a recent Micebook educational event aimed at helping MICE professionals to understand the basics of virtual events, Ashanti Bentil-Dhue, CEO at EventMind said 'Data usage and security has flown totally under the radar in 2020 and it's going to be a major part of the 2.0 of virtual and hybrid events. Along with service levels, it'll be key criteria in selecting the right event tech."

Usage and governance is undoubtedly the elephant in the virtual room right now…

There are swathes of virtual event tech companies that require you to create an account and become a user to access an event on their platform.

This is a new wave of data harvesting that select virtual event companies are embracing to develop their own data banks and by default their marketing valuation.

An incredible market valuation of an event tech company has sent shock waves of both positivity and disbelief across the event sector. The frequent references to their 3.5million users sits uncomfortably with some… do these 3.5million users truly know that they have become ‘users’?

And more pertinently for the event sector, specifically anybody running a commercial event, are event organisers truly comfortable with feeding their often hard-earned attendee data into another company’s data machine?

Pre-Covid this would have been inconceivable to many (if not most) event organisers and yet in 2020, this data governance piece just doesn’t seem to have featured, at all, in the selection criteria of a virtual event platform.

Until this year, most of these companies would refer to their data as their IP and it was kept under modern-day lock and key. The concept of asking your attendees to join a platform where they are also presented with tens of thousands of other events to peruse would never have been considered. Within a matter of months, this has become the norm, with the same virtual event company now offering 15,000 explorable events per month to its users.

If data governance does still matter in 2020, then this needs to be put back on the radar fast so that events companies make decisions today that protect both them, and their own customers in the future.

This is another instance where it’s time for event companies to transition out of survival mode and start calling the shots again when it comes to data security, governance and their suppliers.


Vanessa is an established virtual and hybrid event professional experienced in building engaged digital communities and delivering high-quality digital content and training.

Having run her first virtual event in 2012, Vanessa has been immersed in and witnessed the scope, landscape and potential of events, training and digital content evolve. Now, as an essential part of today’s business world; she has made it her mission to facilitate event organisers, training companies and digital content providers to navigate the rapidly evolving world of virtual opportunities.

In her role as Chief Evangelist at Glisser, Vanessa is demystifying the tech that can help trainers and event organisers breathe fresh life into their work.

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