Defining Data Privacy
A crucial subset in the world of data usage and protection is called data privacy. Data privacy is an incredibly important field as it delineates proper and authorized uses of data according to the legal, political, and social restrictions within a physical jurisdiction or industry. Many companies and organizations collect user data, which can include personal identifiers or data regarding a person’s habits (as they relate to the service – i.e. a website tracking a person’s spending habits).
One of the top priorities for those who handle data should be data privacy. Personal information like names, addresses, gender identity, and biometric data can be used to identify a person. The inappropriate use of personal information presents a large risk to personal privacy. If a company faces a cyberattack and the attacker gains access to consumer data, personal information can be used for criminal and dangerous purposes. All entities with access to consumer data have a vested (and legal) interest in ensuring the privacy of data.
Defined in a general sense, data privacy provides consumers the right to control their data and to determine how their data is used. These rights have been further entrenched through national and industry-wide regulatory standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, to name just two. Implementing data privacy protocols ensures that organizations are properly respecting consumer data rights and following the necessary procedures when using personal information.
Common Data Privacy Actions and Regulations
In many regions, laws and mandatory regulations enforce the right to data privacy. Failure to comply with the legal requirements can result in costly fines and, possibly, civil or criminal consequences. While data privacy was important before, it has only grown in significance as big data has been digitized and companies have moved to cloud-based storage. Many would associate the need for data privacy with industries such as healthcare and education, but, in fact, data privacy and its associated rights and responsibilities apply to anyone who collects, uses, and/or stores personal data.
Often, privacy violations occur not because a company did not implement stringent cybersecurity frameworks, but rather because of human error or negligence. One of the best ways to protect data is to administer and enforce pertinent data privacy and cybersecurity training for all employees. Consistent and coherent training can help prevent negligent actions that result in data breaches or the unauthorized sharing of personal information.
Another important aspect of data privacy is consumer rights. Under certain regulatory standards, consumers have the right to view their collected data and request for it to be deleted. Companies and organizations must have procedures in place that respect and are capable of responding to these rights.
Some privacy concerns can be mitigated with actions such as encryption, user tracking, and the de-identification of personal information. Encrypting data and devices ensures that those without a decryption key cannot decrypt the ciphertext. When the appropriate level of encryption is used and keys properly secured, consumers can rest assured that their data remains confidential. Furthermore, tracking who accesses and uses data provides companies with a log to examine once a breach has occurred. As well, de-identifying data can help protect people’s identities as identifiers such as names and addresses are removed when they are not necessary.
Data privacy does not stop with the aforementioned actions. Each company will require different privacy guidelines depending on its collection and use of data, as well as its industry. Our experts at CDG can help your business meet compliance and protect consumer data. Contact us today.