In 2022, Data Privacy Week is taking place from January 24-28. It is crucial to raise awareness about data privacy during this week-long initiative. However, data privacy concepts remain essential for securing and managing personal information all year.
Learn more about Data Privacy Week and how you can do more to protect your data privacy in this resource from your Data Evolution experts.
What is Data Privacy Week?
Data Privacy Day was established in the United States and Canada in January 2008. In 2022, this awareness day expanded into Data Privacy Week, encouraging individuals and businesses to manage, secure, respect, and protect personal data and online privacy.
Data privacy: then & now
Data privacy describes keeping your personal information secure and confidential. Personal information includes any information that can be used to identify an individual, such as your name, address, date of birth, and medical, criminal, or financial history.
When the concept of online data privacy was first introduced, it was more about basic security. Since people were not online to the extent that we are now, threats were not as significant to each individual. Necessary data security measures included antivirus programs, firewalls, and other simple items.
Data security is one way to protect your data privacy, but you need to do more to keep it private these days. Awareness can help individuals and organizations stay on top of what personal information is out there and how it is stored to maintain data privacy.
Protecting data privacy as an individual
During Data Privacy Week, the National Cybersecurity Alliance is using three themes to help individuals keep it private.
1. Understand the tradeoff between privacy and convenience
When you put your information online, there are extra steps you can take to secure it. However, these steps are often seen as an inconvenience, leading to bad habits such as the following:
- Turning off multi-factor authentication (MFA) to make it easier to sign into accounts
- Using the same passwords between accounts, including work and personal accounts
- Using the same personal information across systems for things like password recovery
These habits can make it easier for cybercriminals to compromise your accounts for identity theft, monetary theft, and more. Rather than putting your personal information at risk, try to choose privacy over convenience as much as possible.
2. Manage your privacy
You have likely accessed systems or created accounts in the past that you no longer use but have not deleted. Here are some tips to help you manage your privacy:
- Keep track of every time you use personal information online, including creating accounts or accessing systems.
- Limit the amount of information you put into accounts and remove data from old accounts whenever possible.
- Use online tools such as dark web scans to see what accounts you have opened and where you may have been exposed.
- Shut down accounts that you no longer use rather than deactivating or ignoring them.
Every time you share your personal information online, you create a potential entry point for bad actors to access and misuse your information. Manage your privacy by following these steps and taking other precautions.
3. Protect your data
Awareness is critical when it comes to keeping your information private! Staying aware can help you recognize signs of malicious activity and practice healthy online behaviors.
- Learn how to recognize and avoid social engineering attacks such as phishing.
- Never give out information over a phone call, email, or computer pop-up.
- Always use a strong password, use different passwords between accounts, and change them periodically.
If you believe one of your accounts has been compromised, take immediate action. You may want to consider using an identity protection service to help cover the cost of repairing your identity if your personal information is stolen or misused.
Protecting data privacy as an organization
Organizations can participate in Data Privacy Week by learning how to respect and protect the privacy of their employees and customers. The following three themes can help.
1. Assess your data collection practices
There are certain rules around data collection that organizations must follow. For example, Massachusetts-based companies must follow MA 201 CMR 17 data privacy standards to protect their employees and customers.
Assess your data collection practices to ensure you are meeting federal, state, and local data protection standards. You should also maintain access to and control of data storage servers and conduct periodic reviews of security permissions and more.
Data collection is particularly crucial for life science companies because biotech companies often hire consultants. Ensure you know who has access to sensitive data and whether they have stored it on their personal or private systems.
2. Adopt a privacy framework
Businesses are required to protect the personal information of any individuals for whom they have collected personal information. Should this information be compromised, it is up to your company to notify all parties.
Developing a basic Written Information Security Program (WISP) will help you lay out the essential action items your organization needs to undertake to protect this data. This WISP could include designating a security officer, establishing system security protocols, and deciding what to do in case of a data breach.
Once you have developed a basic WISP, you should revisit it at least yearly. If you are not sure where to start, get in touch with a trusted IT Service provider such as Data Evolution for assistance and direction.
3. Educate employees
Even if you do everything right to protect data privacy as an organization, your employees still represent a potential target for cybercriminals. Teach them to protect their individual data privacy to secure their personal information and any information collected by the company.
Learn more about why proactive security awareness should matter to you and how to equip your employees to recognize signs of malicious activity, monitor their data privacy, and maintain data security.
Data privacy is an essential topic for Data Privacy Week and beyond. Whether you want to protect your data privacy as an individual or an organization, Data Evolution is here to help. Talk to our team to determine the best plan for supporting your IT needs today.