Data privacy is a colossal concern in an age when so much personal information is stored digitally. That goes double for marketers, who shoulder the responsibility for not only their own information, but that of their customers and prospects.
In today’s connected world, consumers are continually generating large amounts of information about themselves, sometimes from sources you wouldn’t expect. Computers, smartphones, TVs, gaming systems, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, wearable fitness trackers, and household assistants (e.g., Alexa, Google voice assistant, Cortana, etc.) can track data about your media habits, daily schedule, spending habits and finances, utility usage, and health statistics. This data can be stored indefinitely and could be tracked without the consumer even realizing it.
Data Privacy Day Puts Security Under a Microscope
Because of the increasing importance of ensuring your data is secure, IWCO Direct makes special note of initiatives like Data Privacy Day. The purpose of Data Privacy Day, which was officially designated by Congress in 2014, is to spread awareness of data security and privacy practices through year-round education with the help of numerous corporate sponsors like Intel, Cisco, AT&T, and more.
Your Data Has Value—Either to You or to Cybercriminals
After a year of high-profile data breaches from sources such as Equifax, Yahoo, Uber, Verizon, and many others, it’s important for consumers to understand how their data is being used and how to better protect it.
Some of the obvious collectors of information, such as banks and medical organizations, gather large volumes of data that we use on our devices, including our Social Security numbers, financial information, medical history, and current health status. This data can be immensely valuable to cybercriminals if lost or stolen. Additionally, information about you, such as your purchase history or location, can be used to make inferences about your socioeconomic status, preferences, lifestyle, and more.
For most consumers, it might amount to just a few keystrokes and clicks, but this data has value—and they should take steps to protect it.
Easy Ways to Keep Your Data Secure
There are a few simple practices you can employ to cover your bases and keep your information secure, online and in the real.
- Be thoughtful about who gets your information and how it’s collected through apps and websites.
- Own your online presence by setting the privacy and security settings on websites and apps to your comfort level for information sharing. Many apps and websites set their default sharing permissions to be more open than you might actually want or need.
- Be mindful of what you post about yourself and others on social media.
- Secure your devices using a strong username and password, as well as additional authentication, such as facial recognition, fingerprint identification, or an additional security code.
What Businesses and Companies Can Do to Ensure Data Privacy
As I said, companies bear the burden of not only protecting their corporate data, but the information of the people they work with and for. That said, there are some larger-scale strategies companies can implement to keep data secure.
- Take charge by knowing your obligations regarding data collection, use, and destruction and implement security measures to keep individuals’ personal information safe from inappropriate and unauthorized access.
- Strive to create a culture of data privacy in your organization by educating employees on their role in keeping information safe and the importance of respecting privacy.
- Ensure that any vendors or third parties that handle your customers’ sensitive data understand their responsibilities and implement appropriate controls to protect that data.
Privacy and security are always on our mind at IWCO Direct, not just on Data Privacy Day. That’s why we keep our employees informed with newsletters, articles, games, and training opportunities throughout the year, all on top of a security practice built and independently validated to ISO 27001:2013, PCI DSS v3.2 and HITRUST standards.
Practice celebrating data privacy year-round by being thoughtful about how you share your own data, talking with your family and friends about ways to stay safe online, and helping your employees understand their role in keeping sensitive information secure.
To learn more and for helpful resources to inspire your home, work, and community, visit the National Cyber Security Alliance’s website here.
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