Data Privacy – Seven Best Practices

Data Privacy – Must have for all organizations

Did you know that 64% of Americans would blame the company, not the hacker, for the loss of personal data? Data breaches are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world of cyber attacks. An organization’s reputation can be severely tarnished by a data leak of any kind.

Data privacy is a critical issue for all organizations, as it directly affects the reputation and trust of the company. With the increasing amount of personal and sensitive information being collected and stored, companies must take proactive steps to protect their customers’ data. Best practices should be in place with any organization storing any data. Many employees are often not aware of their company’s data privacy policies.

What is Data Privacy?

Data privacy refers to the extent to which an end user’s sensitive data is shared with third parties online. Sensitive data can include an individual’s name, address, date of birth, race, gender, contanct information, credit card number, photograph, ID card number, IP address, or location data.

Any data connected to real-world or online conduct, whether it’s a financial transaction or an engagement with a social media post are all considered sensitive data.

Seven Best Practices

1. Data Collection and Storage Policy

Organizations should have a clear policy on what data is being collected, why it is being collected, and how it will be stored and protected. They should only collect the data that is necessary for their business operations.

Adopting a compliance verification, such as a know your customer (KYC) framework, will help decrease the amount of data that organizations store. KYC uses third-party sources to check users’ input, verify the information and confirm their identities, then stores minimal or no actual data after

2. Encryption

Encryption is a powerful tool to protect data from unauthorized access. All sensitive information should be encrypted when stored and during transmission.

Use password protection, such as multifactor authentication and password managers, to secure confidential emails and data. Additionally, encryption — such as file-level encryption — can help protect data on computer hard drives, and 256-key bit length encryption can secure emails.

Services that detect repeat passwords can help eliminate reuse and mitigate the risk of data breaches related to password theft.

3. Access Control

Companies should implement strict access control policies to limit the number of individuals who have access to sensitive information. They should also regularly monitor and audit access logs to ensure that only authorized individuals are accessing the data.

Authentication and authorization are two important parts of access control. Access controls help reduce the possibility of unapproved users entering physical systems and jeopardizing security.

4. Data Breach Plans

Companies should have a plan in place to respond to data breaches. This includes regularly backing up important data, conducting risk assessments, and notifying customers in the event of a breach. Organizations should also stay on top of any software updates to lessen the vulnerability for hackers to attack.

Organizations should utilize endpoint security tools to safeguard their data. A robust endpoint security infrastructure will reduce the likelihood of a potential data breach. Some tools to consider are antivirus software, anti-spyware software, and firewalls.

5. Employee Training

Regular training for employees on data privacy best practices is crucial. This will help ensure that everyone in the company is aware of the importance of protecting customer data and is following the correct procedures to do so. Trainings should include updates and refreshers as cyber attacks evolve. A good practice is to provide real-life security breach examples as blueprints of what not to do.

6. Privacy Policy

A clear and transparent privacy policy should  be easily accessible to an organization’s customers. This policy should explain the company’s commitment to data privacy and explain the rights of customers with regards to their personal information.

7. Compliance

Companies should ensure that they are compliant with relevant privacy laws and regulations, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

By adopting these best practices, companies can protect the privacy of their customers and build trust with them. Additionally, companies can reduce their risk of a data breach, which can result in costly legal fees, damage to reputation, and loss of customer confidence.

Absolute Performance Inc. has a variety of services to help ensure that your organization’s data is secure and that you are complying to the latest regulations. From implementing firewalls to setting up Multi-Factor Authentication and monitoring your IT environment and more, we are here to help. Contact us today.