Data Privacy Day: Empower Your Organization with Privacy Protection

Blog Img Security Generic iStock 1137485042 (1)

As we approach January 28, Data Privacy Day, it’s crucial to prepare your organization by ensuring everyone within it gains a clear understanding of data privacy. By doing so, you empower your business to enhance privacy measures for both employees and customers. In this article, we’ll explore what data privacy is, its relevance to your business, and practical steps to ensure the data within your organization is well protected.

What is data privacy?

Data privacy is the amount of control individuals can exert over their private information, particularly who can access it and what it can be used for. This information may include names, locations, contact details, or records of online and real-world activities. Online users often desire to keep their personal data private.

How is data privacy relevant to your business?

Maintaining data privacy is vital to modern businesses for multiple reasons, including:

  • Compliance with privacy laws: Complying with data privacy laws (such as HIPAA for the healthcare industry) is crucial to protect your business from legal liabilities and potential fines. Failure to abide by these laws can incur significant penalties and public backlash for your business.
  • Customer trust: Privacy-literate companies build and retain higher trust ratings with consumers. A 2023 report from the International Association of Privacy Professionals reveals that 68% of consumers are concerned about online privacy. Transparent privacy policies and a solid reputation for protecting privacy contribute to a better relationship with customers.
  • Improved data analysis: Robust data privacy can also improve data collection and, in effect, data analysis. Individuals are more likely to share their information if they trust the organization that makes the request. Your organization can use such information to obtain critical insights, refine customer experiences, and support potential research and development.
  • Cost of a data breach: Maintaining data privacy helps reduce the costs associated with a personal data breach. Whether it’s accidental disclosure or unauthorized access, the consequences of a breach can range from an email sent to the wrong recipient to a full compromise of an entire IT system.

Data privacy tips

You can maintain and bolster data privacy through a number of means, such as: 

Collecting only the data you need

Minimize potential privacy breaches by collecting only the personal data essential for specific business purposes. In the past, companies have resorted to methods not unlike fishing boats with broad trawling nets. Similar to those nets, the methods they used ended up collecting information that was often useless to the companies, so they ended up wasting time and money acquiring and storing that information in the process. Furthermore, such indiscriminately obtained data can include private information customers do not want shared, which violates their rights.

Conduct regular data audits to help evaluate the necessity of collected data and ensure your methods are only acquiring data that is useful and not in breach of privacy. 

Keeping track of the data you collect

Protecting data starts with knowing what data you collect, how it’s used, and who uses it. So categorize data types by sensitivity to create a data inventory. By organizing your data, you will have an easier time finding what you need, when you need it. It also makes it easier to prove your compliance with regulatory requirements.

Generally, data can be organized into the following classifications:

  • Public data, which includes any public statements and press releases, as well as directory information for contact from the public
  • Internal data, which comprises anything pertaining to the internal workings and management of an organization such as budgets, business processes, shifts and schedules, project planning, strategies, and marketing data
  • Confidential data, which consists of personal information, including confidential health information, Social Security numbers, and other forms of government-issued data
  • Restricted data, which is any data pertaining to passwords, intellectual property, and major financial plans

Maintaining a transparent privacy policy

Clearly define and implement a data privacy policy for both your organization and your customers, disclosing what data you collect, how you collect it, and what you use it for. Communicate this policy to all investors and publish it on your business website for customers. You should also always keep your customers informed of any policy changes.

Encrypting and backing up data

Encrypt as much of your data as possible so that it becomes inaccessible without authorization. Ensure your data is encrypted both when it’s at rest (sitting in its current location) or in transit (when it’s being transferred to a different location within your system).   

Also, regularly back up your data — whether in physical storage devices or on a cloud server — to prevent data loss in case of a cyberattack or other data loss emergency.  

Restrict access to data

Base employee access on their roles and responsibilities to ensure only authorized personnel can access the data necessary to their tasks. Make sure that your organization adjusts permissions as roles change, such as when individuals get promoted or transferred, to prevent security gaps.  

Always update software

Data breaches often occur due to outdated software, as cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities that later updates remove or patch over. Regularly check for software and app updates, and apply said updates as soon as possible.  

Train your employees

Thoroughly educate your employees on cybersecurity best practices so they can recognize potential phishing and ransomware attempts. The training can also teach employees to be more self-aware of their actions to minimize instances of human error, which can create vulnerabilities or accidentally expose critical data. Make sure to conduct recurring training sessions. This not only refreshes employees’ knowledge of cybersecurity best practices but also keeps them abreast of the newest cyberthreats and data privacy issues. 

With Liberty Center One, you can get the tools you need to protect the data privacy of your organization and your customers. Contact us today to learn more.