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Keeping Up with Data Privacy: Best Practice at Work and Home

Protecting our personal and business data involves an ongoing regimen. Our financial institutions, cloud providers, and even our nation have the responsibility of enlisting and maintaining safety measures on our behalf. We, however, are also accountable. Protection involves a personal and professional level of effort, attention, and diligence. Understanding of and respect for the power and impact that a data privacy breach can create is motivational in enlisting a full-court press of defense.  

Data privacy is vital in protecting unauthorized users from access to and misuse of information. Whether stored by you or your business, and whether internally or through a storage provider, it is vital to remain diligent in making sure data is protected. Assuming safety doesn’t guarantee it. 

Personal Protection

Personal data includes information such as name, address, and phone numbers. This category also encompasses sensitive information such as banking details, medical records, social security information, and biometric statistics.  

Several steps can be taken to guard the individualized information that surrounds you and your family. Personal data can be protected through utilization of tools such as firewalls, encryption, and secure servers. Enlisting complex passwords and safeguarding information from vulnerability are key. Opting to store passwords online, for example, creates an open door for viruses or malware. From there, an attacker is welcomed with full access to private, personal data. Keep passwords, PIN numbers, and other personal means of identification off the radar.  

Be sure that your wireless home network is secure and protected. Limit the sharing of files and media, and regularly perform a backup of your personal computer, whether to a hard drive or a secure cloud provider such as Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive.  

Platforms such as Facebook seem benign, however one post on social media can reveal sensitive information to people at-the-ready to take advantage of it, and you. Protecting personal data requires constant and consistent attention and vigilance. 

Professional Safety

Business data involves delicate, proprietary, and often irreplaceable information such as formulas and recipes, financial particulars, and customer and employee information.  

From a business perspective, the development of a data privacy policy ignites a key resource in protection and diligence. Such a policy outlines how a company collects, uses, and shares personal data, as well as providing a commitment of data protection to the fullest. Regular review and update of this plan and its policies and procedures is essential in making sure things are updated and remain compliant. In addition, company-wide training must be performed with each employee, stressing the importance of protecting data and providing methods of handling proprietary information in a responsible manner. 

When a business experiences a data breach, its data privacy policy is engaged immediately, prompting users to take the appropriate steps to minimize impact and protect the affected information and individuals. There are several principles of data privacy that are generally recognized as important for businesses to follow. These include:

  • Security: Enlist the appropriate measures in preventing unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of personal data. 
  • Transparency: Adhere to your data privacy policy by openly disclosing ways in which you collect, use, and share personal data with your employees and affiliates. 
  • Accountability: Companies with integrity are able to demonstrate compliance with rules and regulations and are accountable for their data privacy practices. 
  • Control: Provide employees and customers with access to their personal data and the ability to change or remove information as preferred.  

By following these principles, the responsibility of businesses to respect the privacy of their customers, their employees, and sensitive information is appropriately covered. 

Technical Defenses

Trust is lost when sensitive information is compromised. Protecting your business coincides with respecting your workforce, your customers, and your information, and there are several methods that can be employed: 

  1. Perform updates regularly:  Keeping software current improves functionality, addresses performance and potential breach areas, and installs patches that protect systems from viruses and malware.  
  2. Use of encryption: Converting data into code provides protection by requiring a password or designated key for access. Encryption helps protect against unauthorized access. 
  3. Guarantee server security: Securing servers with measures such as firewalls, accessibility constraints, and intrusion detection measures are vital ways of thwarting prohibited activity. Business servers are a main source of data storage within an organization. This means that companies need a key line of defense when imploring good server safety measures. Methods that businesses utilize to safeguard their servers include: 
  • Having a plan: Preparedness is key and having a disaster recovery plan in place means that your business is ready if the server experiences a security breach or fails. Add a network strategy to this plan to manage and limit spread in the event of a breach. 
  • Updating, monitoring, and auditing: New threats lurk on a daily basis. Use of the latest security patches keeps software and servers up to date. Monitoring and auditing regularly will keep you abreast of unusual or suspicious activity and identify possible vulnerabilities. 
  • Using strong tools: For server access, enlist the use of strong passwords and two-factor authentication for your accounts. Use of firewalls restricts access to the server from unauthorized users. 
  • Offsite partners: Engaging with a remote hosting provider or cloud-based server allows for a partnership in additional technical expertise of support and security. In addition, backing up data to an offsite location provides extra safety measures. 

Trust as a Tool

Personally and professionally, breaches are relationship breakers. Significantly impactful to functionality and reputation, failure to adequately protect data leads to a loss of trust and loyalty, potential financial burdens, time spent repairing the damage, the decline of relationships, and the potential for legal ramifications. Fortunately, there are several ways to put data privacy at the forefront of your protection initiatives.  

Personal efforts aid in securing home-based data. Protection for businesses involves plans, policies, and a well-educated and trained staff. Gain business protection and leverage by enlisting help and guidance in safeguarding the data that guarantees your functionality. Consider a Data Services provider and form a partnership in trust and knowledge to manage and protect the important, proprietary, and irreplaceable information that defines your business.  

 

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