PLDT and Smart Take the Lead in Equipping Startups with Cybersecurity and Data Management Tools

In a groundbreaking initiative aimed at fortifying the digital landscape, telecommunications giants PLDT and Smart have rolled out a series of educational sessions for startups. These sessions, part of the PLDT and Smart Startup Innovation Challenge, were designed to arm emerging businesses with the critical skills needed in cybersecurity and data management.

A New Paradigm in Startup Education

Kristine Dara Ever Juan, who heads PLDT’s Innovations Lab and Ecosystem Partnerships, emphasized the urgency of embedding cybersecurity and data privacy into the very fabric of startup culture. “As we navigate an increasingly digital world, it’s imperative for startups to be cyber-resilient and data-compliant, especially as they eye future collaborations with established corporations,” Juan stated.

Guarding the Digital Frontier

The educational series also featured Elijah Mendoza, Smart’s Senior Manager for Digital Communications, who turned the spotlight on the protection of social media assets. Mendoza issued a stark warning against the rising tide of phishing attacks, urging startups to exercise caution when dealing with unidentified communications and suspicious links.

A Comprehensive Approach to Cybersecurity

Carl Balagot, who leads the Awareness, Training, and User Adoption division at PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group, offered actionable insights into the creation of robust cybersecurity frameworks. Balagot stressed the importance of educating team members on potential cyber threats and recommended the implementation of advanced security measures, such as intrusion detection systems.

Data Privacy Takes Center Stage

Dinjo Constantino, from PLDT’s Data Privacy Office, provided an in-depth look at data privacy and protection protocols. Constantino urged startups to be transparent about their data collection practices and to ensure that the scope of data collected aligns with its intended purpose. He also introduced the concept of Privacy Impact Assessment, a tool designed to preemptively identify and mitigate privacy risks.

Celebrating Innovation

The PLDT and Smart Startup Innovation Challenge culminated in the awarding of the grand prize to Xeleqt AI, a Cebu-based startup specializing in AIOT-powered HR solutions. The award ceremony was a highlight of the Philippine Digital Convention 2023, organized by PLDT Enterprise.

A Commitment to Digital Excellence

This initiative by PLDT and Smart underscores their commitment to elevating customer experience by mitigating cyber risks. It also aligns with broader national objectives, including the government’s Go Digital Pilipinas Movement and the Private Sector Advisory Council’s focus on digital infrastructure.

For startups and established businesses alike, the message is clear: in an age of digital transformation, cybersecurity and data management are not just optional add-ons, but essential components of a successful business strategy.

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