Cyber crimes such as malware attacks or DDoS attacks are common in today’s digital business world, so data security and privacy are important. Data is a valuable asset and organizations need to protect it. The use of technology and exposure to evolving cyber threats have changed data security and privacy.
Data privacy issues have been raging on for so many years now. There are many cases of companies that use user data for personal gains. E.g. allegations against Facebook in the Cambridge Analytica case. Privacy is a right and should be guarded with the same zeal as personal information. It’s a basic requirement of running a successful business today.
Data privacy laws exist to protect individuals and their data. With numerous regulations in place, businesses that are required to collect data need to ensure they are compliant. In this article, we’ll discuss how businesses that collect data can tackle the data privacy requirements and what they need to know about them.
Why is data privacy crucial for your business?
Data privacy is crucial for businesses because it helps protect the personal information of their customers and employees. Without it, anyone could use someone’s personal information against them.
Data security attacks are rising, and hackers are getting better at breaking into systems and stealing information—sometimes even with just a phone call or email. And even if they don’t succeed in stealing it, they can still cause damage by leaving malware behind that can steal data later on. For example, identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States today. If someone loses control of their personal information, it can be used to steal money from your bank account, open new credit card accounts, or take out loans in the person’s name.
Businesses also need to protect their customers’ data and maintain their trust. If consumers feel at risk of having their personal information stolen or misused by a company, they may look elsewhere for products and services
What are some of the data privacy laws worldwide?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a law that protects the privacy of individuals in the European Union (EU) by regulating and enforcing the use of personal data. The EU created this law to protect consumers, but it also applies to businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations that collect or process personal data.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that applies to companies that collect data from people in the EU. The law requires organizations to be transparent about their data collection practices and how long they will store that information. If you are a company that processes personal data collected from people in the EU, then you must comply with the GDPR.
In Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is a law that protects the privacy of individuals in regard to personal information during commercial transactions. PIPEDA applies to any organization that collects, uses, or discloses personal information in the course of commercial activities. The law’s primary goal is to ensure that you’re informed and consent to how your personal information is collected, used, and disclosed.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that governs the accuracy of credit reports. The law is in place to help protect your personal information from being mishandled by credit reporting agencies.
The agencies are allowed to collect, access and use your data, but only under specific circumstances that are outlined in the law. This helps to ensure that your information is only shared with those who have a legitimate need for it.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) is a law that regulates how financial institutions must handle the non-public personal information of customers. This act aims to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer information and protect the personal informationfrom unauthorized access or threats.
The GLBA applies to any institution that has access to customers’ financial information, including banks, credit unions, savings and loans, securities broker-dealers, mutual funds, and insurance companies. The federal government does not enforce the law, but state governments do.
COPPA was enacted in 1998 by the U.S. Congress to protect a child’s privacy on the internet, along with other forms of electronic media. The law requires certain disclosures by website operators and online service providers who know they are collecting personal data from a child under 13 years old.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) gives Californians more control over their data. It’s the first comprehesive data privacy law from the US for regulating how companies collect, use, and sell consumer data.
The CCPA became effective on January 1st, 2020. This law was created to protect consumers from data breaches and other issues related to their personal information being shared with third parties without their consent. This law also allows consumers to request access to any information held by companies about them, as well as opt out of having their personal information shared with third parties.
HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which aims to ensure that patient health information is not mishandled.
Organizations must put in place the proper security measures to ensure that patient health information is not compromised. This includes administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect PHI in both electronic and non-electronic forms.
Get an overview of the major privacy regulations around the globe here.
Top 6 tips for businesses to comply with data privacy requirements
Here are the top tips a business can implement to comply with data privacy laws:
#1 Train employees
According to a PEW research survey, approximately 59% of US consumers don’t know how their data is collected or used. Data training and awareness are important for any business. Customers should be aware of the data they’re sharing and how organizations use it.
Every employee should be given proper training on how to keep data secure. The training should include best practices, common cyber threats, data privacy requirements, and relevant data security principles. In addition, employees should be aware of company policies on security and be held accountable for following them.
#2 Define your data requirements
Defining what it means when you say “personally identifiable information” (PII) is important. Some companies may think it includes anything that could be used to identify someone, such as IP addresses and cookies.
Others may want to exclude things like IP addresses and cookie IDs. Make sure everyone is clear on what type of information is included in your definition of PII, so there aren’t any surprises later on.
Some of the common PIIs include:
- Social Security Numbers (SSN)
- Driver’s license number
- Passport number
- Email address
- Birth date
- Home address
- Telephone number (home or work)
#3 Get consent for data
Consent is a critical element of data privacy laws around the world. It can be given either before or after the collection of the data, depending on the country’s specific rules. In most cases, however, it is best to get consent before collecting any personal information from consumers. At a minimum, this will help you avoid penalties from regulators and lawsuits from consumers in case they later discover that their data has been collected without their knowledge or consent.
A good practice is also to allow consumers to opt out of data collection at any time by making it easily accessible and manageable.
#4 Ensure minimum data collection
You must collect only the minimum personal data necessary for your business activities and operations. When collecting sensitive information such as medical records or financial details, you must ensure that the data is encrypted and stored securely.
Similarly, law firms such as Haun Mena which is a Maritime Lawyers firm, have such rigorous privacy policies for their clients. They only need basic information, such as a name and phone number, to provide legal services. They don’t need more than that because they don’t sell any products or services online and don’t have any affiliate programs or partners that would require additional information.
#5 Disclose data collection practices
Transparency is one of the most important aspects of data privacy. Organizations should ensure that they have systems that allow them to be transparent about what they’re doing with customer data. This can be done by offering clear terms of service and ensuring that customers know how organizations use their information.
Apple is one of the top companies that’s transparent about their privacy policies. Their products are very secure, and they’re a great choice for keeping your data safe. In fact, Apple’s customer privacy page explains what data they collect from their customers, how they use it, and what options you have if you don’t want your data to be collected by them.
#6 Create data inventory
This is a crucial step for organizations to complete. It will help you to identify and understand what personal data you hold and why you are collecting it. It will also help you to know where your data is stored, whether on-premises or in the cloud.
The inventory should include all sources of personally identifiable information (PII) within an organization, including any third-party sources.
Data inventory can take many forms and be done in many ways. However, it must include all best practices for maintaining data inventory in order to be effective:
- Identify the types of data that exist within your organization.
- Organize this information into categories based on its type, such as financial information or customer information.
- Document all relevant details about each type of data asset (e.g., name, description, location).
- Include all systems that store or use this information (e.g., ERP systems or databases).
Leveraging technology to meet data privacy requirements
Organizations are expected to comply with various data privacy regulations, which, if not followed, could result in various fines, penalties, and potential loss of reputation. Organizations must adopt advanced techniques and solutions to protect their data to avoid such risks.
Technology can help in many ways regarding a company’s data protection. A company can respond to threats more quickly and efficiently by restricting and monitoring access with specific technologies. To prevent any data breaches from happening, the following measures should be put into place:
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Data Loss Prevention, or DLP, is software designed to monitor activities related to sensitive data. Its main purpose is to detect, track, and monitor those activities in order to prevent serious incidents such as data breaches, accidental data deletions, and data exfiltration.
Here are some common examples of companies using DLP:
- Financial institutions use DLP to protect customer data such as credit card numbers and bank account details. They also use it to detect fraudulent transactions, such as money laundering and identity theft.
- Healthcare organizations use DLP to protect patient health records and other protected health information (PHI). They also use it to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure of PHI under HIPAA regulations.
Identity & Access Management (IAM)
IAM is a system that verifies login credentials and permissions on selected systems. The technology allows access to the correct entity based on role-based access controls, which ensures that users have only the appropriate level of access. IAM also enables flexible authentication processes, multi-factor authentication, security, session logging and management, and other features that prevent unauthorized access.
For example, AWS Identity and Access Management provides you with an easy way to manage permissions for your AWS resources. Users can create accounts with specific permissions and then attach policies to those accounts that allow or deny access to specific resources. In addition, users can control which authenticated AWS customers have access to their AWS resources based on their identity.
There are many methods of de-identifying data so that it cannot be traced back to the original source. We will focus on two of them:
Encryption is when information is encoded so that only authorized parties can access it. It prevents anyone other than the intended recipient from viewing or modifying the data. Encryption is used to help secure systems from attacks. Regarding data protection, encryption is one of the most secure methods. Even if data were stolen, it would be unreadable for anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key. That way you can ensure the privacy of your data.
Some common types of encryption include:
- Symmetric Encryption: Symmetric encryption is a type of encryption in which the same key is used for encryption and decryption. This means that both the sender and receiver must access the same key to communicate securely.
- Asymmetric Encryption: Asymmetric encryption uses two keys (public and private) for each person communicating with one another. Only one person needs access to a public key to send it securely. However, both people need access to their private keys to decrypt messages sent by their counterparts.
Here are some examples of companies using encryption:
- All major banks use encryption to protect customer information when they are conducting online transactions. Some banks even use it to protect customer data.
- Many cryptocurrency exchanges use encryption to protect their customers’ private keys. The most well-known example is Coinbase’s vault service for storing large amounts of cryptocurrency securely with encryption.
Tokenization is a data protection technology that replaces sensitive data stored in the system with a non-sensitive substitute value called a token. When a merchant requests to process a payment transaction, the token is validated by an encryption gateway and passed through as usual.
Tokens are not linked to the original data source and they have no meaning outside the system in which they are used. This makes it impossible for others to reverse engineer the original information. Tokenization can be used to protect payment information and other types of sensitive information, such as social security numbers and national ID numbers.
For example, when a merchant processes a customer’s credit card, the card number is substituted with a token. E.g. 1234-5678-4321-8675 is replaced with, 28qofkfnak12912.
Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP)
The endpoint protection platform (EPP) is a set of technologies that work together to deliver real-time protection for every device in your infrastructure. EPP offers comprehensive security across the entire attack lifecycle, with capabilities for identifying and stopping threats before they reach your devices.
The endpoint protection platform uses multiple layers of security to stop threats before they reach your endpoints. It combines advanced threat protection with next-generation intrusion prevention technology that integrates across the entire attack lifecycle.
Here are some examples of industries using endpoint protection:
Healthcare: Hospitals use endpoints to protect patient information from being stolen or corrupted by malware. This prevents healthcare providers from suffering costly lawsuits and regulatory fines due to a breach in security.
Banking: Banks use endpoint protection to protect customer information from being stolen or corrupted by malware. This prevents banks from suffering costly lawsuits and regulatory fines due to a breach in security.
Network monitoring and filtering
Network monitors and filters, such as firewalls, are used to protect your computer network or system by blocking unauthorized access to it. Firewalls can be software- or hardware-based and block the exchange of information between the Internet and your computer. If a firewall detects suspicious activity, it will alert you and block it from happening.
Over 33,000 companies use Cisco’s firewalls to protect their networks against malware, viruses and other cyber threats; these include Cisco’s stateful inspection technology that inspects traffic at Layer 4 and above, ensuring that no malicious traffic goes unnoticed through your data center.
Data erasure software
Data erasure software is one of the most effective and commonly used methods of information security. It permanently removes sensitive data from hard drives, USB flash drives and other storage media.
Deleted files can be easily recovered using special software, which makes them vulnerable to unauthorized access. Modern data erasure tools utilize multiple overwriting methods and algorithms to mitigate this risk. They overwrite leftover fragments of deleted files with random or meaningless data, making it impossible for unauthorized users to recover them with special recovery tools..
When it comes to small businesses, they also adhere to the data privacy requirements using data erasure software.
Here are some of the common examples:
- A law firm uses it to protect client’s information.
- Small accounting firms use data erasure software as they stores sensitive client’s information such as their financial records, social security number, etc.
Companies must exercise caution when handling customer data. To gain customer trust, companies need to implement security controls and regulations. Because of the rising security breaches, there is more focus on data privacy—and with good reason. Given the prevalence of privacy regulations, businesses should develop strategies for managing data privacy risks. The last step is to put your strategies into action; this will ensure you have a practical approach to effective implementation.
Author Bio: Aabhas founded Avija Digital, a full-service digital PR agency for online strategy and marketing. Aabhas began his career in digital marketing in 2016 and continues to this day. He spends his free time at the gym, playing board games, and learning new technologies in the IT sector.
Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal or professional advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of our organization. We do not endorse any products or services mentioned in the article.