Data Privacy Day 2018

by Sarah Harvey / January 25th, 2018

Are You Doing Enough to Protect Customer Data?

In a highly data-driven world, protecting the privacy of customer data is more important than ever. January 28th, a day dedicated as Data Privacy Day, is an international holiday meant to help raise awareness about data privacy best practices. Encouraging companies and individuals to value privacy will help to create a culture of privacy and embolden everyone to properly safeguard data and protect our customers. Are you doing enough to protect customer data? Take a look at these data privacy best practices and make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure data privacy.

Know Your Data and How You Collect It

As technology continues to advance, so do the number of data breaches. When reviewing and maturing your data privacy practices, it’s important to fully understand the data you are collecting and how you are collecting it. Personally identifiable information (PII) comes in many forms. Names, addresses, birthdates, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and medical data are all types of data that must be protected. Personal data can also be collected in many ways. Do you collect customer data via the internet? Do you collect customer data through a third party or an app? Do you collect customer data in person? Understanding the type of data you collect, and how you collect and store that data, should be among the first considerations when assessing whether or not you’re doing enough to protect customer data.

Four Things to Enhance Data Privacy Practices

Data privacy means proper and secure collection and storage of proprietary data. So, what are you doing as part of your data privacy program to accomplish this? Here are four things you can do today to mature your data privacy practices:

1.  Have a formal information security and privacy policy

  1. Your information security and privacy policies should be reviewed, tested, and updated at least annually. The best way to ensure your policies are covering all your bases is to start with your annual risk assessment. Are there controls that are missing entirely? Are there controls that are lacking important elements? Spelling out each of your risks and knowing where all your data exists will help you verify that your policies and procedures accurately reflect all the precautions you must take.

2. Implement strong access controls

  1. Strong access control measures can help thwart unauthorized access to sensitive customer data. Password requirements like strong passwords and password expiration policies are important in keeping passwords hard to crack. Maintaining permissions are another strong access control to have in place. Limiting access to sensitive customer data to only those with a specific need, such as privileged access, can help minimize the risk that the data will be accessed or compromised by an unauthorized source.

3. Ensure secure disposal of data

  1. Data retention and disposal policies help companies minimize the risk that data can be compromised. If there is no further business need to store sensitive data, get rid of it. When it’s time to dispose of or destroy sensitive data, be sure you’re doing it in a secure and appropriate manner. Commonly used methods for destroying non-electronic media include cross-cut shredders, pulverizers, and incinerators. Electronic data should be disposed of by appropriate data deletion methods to ensure that the data cannot be recovered.

4. Monitor access and use of data

  1. Who accesses customer data? How frequently do they access the data? What do they do when accessing the data? Monitoring access and use of data can help organizations recognize suspicious activity and prevent unauthorized use or access of sensitive, privileged data.Providing constant training, tips, and reminders on data privacy and security best practices will help raise awareness of privacy and security concerns. This collaborative effort can help your data privacy and security practices to continue to mature, and ensure you’re doing the most you can to protect sensitive data. Help spread the word this Data Privacy Day on these best practices for securing customer data. For more tips or an evaluation of your data privacy practices, contact us today.