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Privacy: A Global Data Protection Measure

Why is data security so critical these days?  The necessity of privacy and data protection is being widely acknowledged as more social and commercial activities take place online. The collection, use, and disclosure of personal information to other parties without the knowledge or consent of the user is also a source of concern for everyone.

An Introduction to Data Privacy

Data privacy, also known as information privacy, is a subset of data security that focuses on the correct management of data. It includes gaining permission, providing notifications, and enforcing standard regulatory requirements. Practically, data privacy problems frequently revolve around whether the data is being shared with other parties and how and to what extent it is being shared. You’ve probably noticed that when you download an app from the store, it asks for various permissions. This is where the due review and concern is required.

Governments and businesses have enacted notable laws and regulations to protect personal data, including GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), GLBA (Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act).

Data Privacy Vs. Data Protection

Data privacy is concerned with determining who has access to information. Whereas data protection is concerned with enforcing limit on transmission and access. The policies that data protection instruments and procedures utilize are defined by data privacy. Users typically have a choice over how much and with whom their data is shared, when it comes to privacy. It is the responsibility of the firm that handles data to guarantee that it is kept private. This distinction is reflected in compliance rules, which are designed to assist firms in complying with consumers’/customers’ privacy requirements.

Data privacy ensures that sensitive information is only available to those who have been permitted to see it. It helps companies comply with regulatory obligations by preventing unauthorized access. Noncompliance can result in monetary penalties, customer dissatisfaction and loss of reputation.

Examples of Data Privacy

Personal health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII) are two examples of data privacy. Some other, very common examples are financial data, medical records, social security or ID numbers, names, birthdates, and contact information. Thankfully, legislators in many countries have realized the necessity of data privacy legislation and the need to hold businesses accountable for end-user data. Many global corporations have been penalized for allegedly violating users’ policy and facing inquiries about its data collection policies. Corporations must understand where the data came from (country and state), what personally identifiable information it may contain, and how it was used.

Data Privacy Vs. Data Security

Some of the similar obligations Data Privacy and Data Security have are:

       •      Integrity and accuracy: To have the assurance that data is error-free

       •      Access control: The cornerstone of privacy is authorized to access the use of data, which is possibly through security

       •      Accountability: Business policies relating to data should have both privacy and security

Data Breaches

Data breaches can radically alter the course of life for any business, irrespective of its size. Businesses, governments, and individuals alike experience huge monetary losses, loss of trust and other complications from having sensitive information exposed.

The average cost per incident comes to around $4.24 million per breach. It is a 10 percent increase over 2020’s average cost of breach, which was approximately $3.86 million. Quick adoption of remote work and flexible hiring also increased probabilities of breach by a notable percentage.

Data Privacy & Protection help for Consumers

Individuals can look at a few quick and easily adoptable methods to protect unauthorized access or loss of data:

•      Use multi-factor authentication, preferably not SMS-based Multi-Factor Authorization (Google Authenticator or Duo) for all your accounts, if offered by the service provider

•      Keep an eye out for IoT devices and ensure they’re up to date with the newest security software.

•      Back up your data frequently, as a contingency mechanism

•      Keep a lookout for unusual requests, such as those with flashing material, emails from domains similar to that or banks, large corporations or other elements that appear to be “off.”

Data Privacy & Protection help for Businesses

PeopleTree understands how important it is to keep your business data safe.  We have researched into how businesses can protect and control business data

•      Integrating training on data privacy into your general training program annually and while onboarding of new staff. Test awareness by randomly conducting phishing exercises

•      Ensure data is safe while in transit or at rest –use of full disk encryption, device control, network security controls, encrypted storage, etc.

•       Unauthorized access – application control, reputable password managers, code quality analysis, DNS protection, Data loss, and mobile device management

•      Continuously monitor your entire network for suspicious activity to detect an attack early enough to reduce the extent of the damage. SIEM tools with data feeds from reputable service providers would be a good first start in this direction.

•      Verify and monitor security features and controls of your cloud service providers, including redundancies in place in case of a breach

Security tools are just one of the pillars of a robust information security mechanism and provide a strong cybersecurity posture. Living policy and procedure documents enforcing the best security practices, periodic audits and risk assessment exercises, strong incident response plans, business continuity plans, and cybersecurity insurance provide a more holistic guard against rising cybersecurity incidents.

How SMBs can strategies to improve their data information posture?

The cornerstone of privacy is authorizing access to the use of data, which is possible through security organizations. These organizations must have a strong cybersecurity posture as this will enable them to adequately detect and manage intrusions across networks, helping small and medium-sized businesses identify gaps in security controls and quantify risk. Some of the controls are

       •      Conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment

       •      Prioritizing risk

       •      Tracking security metrics

       •      Implement automated cybersecurity solutions

       •      Educating the employees

       •      Create an incident response plan

Today, data is the new “oil” and is frequently traded without adequate permissions, oversight or security. Noncompliance with legal obligations regarding the collection, storage, and processing of personal data could result in substantial penalties, both tangible and intangible. PeopleTree partners with many small and medium businesses, helping them improve their information security programs and implementing robust and reasonable safeguards to prevent such events.

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