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September 14, 2023

The Picasso Privacy Awards – Our Shortlisted Team Member

Our very own Louis Ricci has been shortlisted for a Picasso Privacy Award, and we sat down with him to get more of an insight.

Our very own Louis Ricci has been shortlisted for the PICASSO Privacy Awards ‘The Rising Star on the Future of Privacy Welfare and the Individuals Making Waves to Protect the Data.’ A huge achievement for him and Direct Business Solutions!

The Rising Star focuses on the future of Privacy welfare and the individuals making waves to protect the data. For those who go above and beyond and make positive changes to benefit the companies they work for. The winner of this category shows great promise with their technical or practical ability and knowledge.

The project leading to the nomination was a culmination of work. From stabilising IG and DPA in an NHS Charity and achieving accreditations there to coming to UKDBS and getting us on the road to ISO accreditations for the company.

We sat down with Louis to ask him some questions about the award and get an insight into the experience of being a part of the process…

Can you briefly explain what the PICASSO Privacy Awards Europe is and its significance in the industry?

The PICASSO Privacy Awards celebrate the champions of data privacy and information governance. The awards recognise the outstanding contributions in everything from folks on the data security frontline, ensuring their companies comply with legislation and law to the academics and tech wizards and the innovative solution creators who are pushing the boundaries of data privacy.

How does this award differ from other privacy awards or recognitions in the field?

The PICCASO awards are open to all industries and sectors. They cast a wide net and consider nominees from very diverse and differing fields including, health and social care, finance and banking, automotive industry, and utilities. And this isn’t just limited to the UK. It’s a Europe-wide award event.

How do you feel about being shortlisted for such a prestigious award?

Absolutely blown away and lost for words. To be in the mix with 14 other really high-profile candidates from some world-renowned companies is utterly incredible and it's an absolute honour to have even been considered let alone shortlisted. It's incredible to see my name and UK DBS up there with the likes of Shell, Volvo, and Metro Bank.

What does this recognition mean to you on a personal and professional level?

Professionally it’s a validation of the years of work, dedication, and expertise I have poured into this field. Whether it's Data Protection/Privacy / Information governance, it’s a recognition of the impact I’ve made within the industry.
On a personal level, it is incredibly gratifying. It’s a moment of pride and fulfilment knowing my knowledge has been acknowledged by industry experts and peers within this field. It’s a reminder of the importance of setting high standards in the work I do in safeguarding privacy and data.

Can you share some insights into the work or project that led to this nomination?

It’s a combination of a number of projects. From stabilising IG and DPA within an NHS mental health charity and achieving NHS standard accreditations supported in tenders and as a result helping more people with mental health needs to coming into UK DBS and forming this new department, creating new processes, frameworks, and strategies – leaving no stone unturned we have revamped our data handling practices, liaising with other business units and working with training team to roll out functional training courses for GDPR.
And as a result of the work put in at UKL DBS in the short few months, we are heading in the right direction to become ISO accredited which will be a huge boon for the business.

How has your role or contribution impacted our company's approach to privacy and data protection?

My contribution has made us more proactive. We aren’t just reacting to privacy issues; we are getting one step ahead of the game and preventing those problems before they occur. We are becoming more transparent now. Clients and partners are aware of exactly what’s happening with their data and that builds trust.
We have some new tools and strategies to keep our data secure. We aren’t just meeting standards; we are setting them.
And we are just getting started with data privacy in UK DBS – There's more good stuff to come…watch this space!

Why do you believe privacy and data protection are critical in today's digital age?

Take a look at social media and the amount of information we share about our lives. Those new home posts, or new jobs, or the tags in restaurants or outings – we post and share so much more online than we did even 5/10 years ago. Especially given the COVID-19 era when we all flocked to social media to stay connected with friends and families and shared so much so we could communicate with those in our circle. Protecting that data is essential for keeping our private lives, well… private.
There is a trust issue too, right? We sign up for store cards, loyalty cards, newsletters, and online accounts on the basis that we trust the companies and services we have given data to, and we sign up for all of those without reading the T&Cs! When we hear about a breach or data misuse trust in companies begins to erode.
We all have a right to know what’s happening with our data. We should be able to control it and decide who gets to use it and for what. It’s a matter of respecting individual rights.
So yeah, in this hugely digital age, privacy and data protection are like the guardians of our data and there’s not enough emphasis to put on how important it is.

What message do you believe it sends to our clients and partners about our commitment to privacy?

I think it tells our partners and clients that we are more serious than ever about keeping their data private and secure. Its feathers in the UK DBS cap for our commitment to Data Protection.
It says we take this seriously. We don’t mess around when it comes to privacy and their data is safe with UK DBS. We follow rules and best practices to keep all the data we hold secure.
It says we aren’t stuck in the past. We use the latest and greatest methods to keep data secure and safe and we are upfront. We aren’t hiding anything in lengthy T&Cs we are clear about what we do and how we do it.
It also says we aren’t sitting back, and we are continually looking at ways to make things even more secure and we are innovating as the threats change.

What are your next steps or goals following this recognition?

Just keep the momentum going! Not rest on laurels, keep pushing the envelope on all things data protection, and stay up to date on the latest trends and regulations. Use this as a reminder of what can be achieved when data privacy is at the forefront of practices. So next step? Keep the privacy momentum going and do what we are doing great at the moment and that’s protecting data!

What advice would you give to young professionals aspiring to make a mark in the privacy and data protection field?

Stay curious - keep learning about the latest developments.
Network – Connect with industry pros for insights and learning opportunities.
Simplify complexity – Learn to jargon bust and explain complex concepts in simple terms.
Stay ethical – Always prioritise handling data ethically.
Be passionate – Allow your passion for data protection to shine in your work.
Ask for help – Stay open to learning from others – there are plenty of webinars, conferences, and networking opportunities available.
Enjoy the ride - It’s a crucial field and open that can be fun and rewarding.

Any final thoughts or messages you'd like to share with our clients, or the broader audience about this achievement?

This recognition shows what’s possible when we focus on privacy and protection. This is us just getting started. This recognition fuels our commitment to keeping data safe and secure.
Thanks for trusting us and know we have things under lock and key.

Congratulations, Louis, and thank you for all the hard work you have been putting in! Good luck with the rest of the award process.

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