What is Data Privacy? Why is it Important?

”Multiple signs that say data protection” style= Photo by mindscanner - yayimages.com

Protecting items that have a lot of value is important. We put the locks on our filing cabinets and safety deposit boxes from the bank. It is also why we put our money in the banks too – your money is valuable and you need to keep it secure. With the world moving forward, the information that we have and our data has increasingly become more and more valuable. With our data becoming digitized day after day, we are increasingly sharing our information online and the aspect of data privacy is becoming increasingly significant.

A single company can possess information about literally millions of customers. This is the kind of data which a company will want to keep private so that the identities of their customers remain protected. If they are unable to keep their customer’s data private, their reputation will become severely damaged and their business will suffer. That being said, data privacy is not just a concern from the business standpoint. Individually, a person’s data can have a severe impact if it goes into the wrong hands.

A lot of people are not exactly aware of what data privacy is and why it is so important. This article will cover what data privacy is, why it is important and a few important tips about how to keep your digital information private.

What Is Data Privacy?

Data privacy is related to how particular information should be handled based on the importance that it has. Let’s take for instance a person’s name. An individual would be okay with a stranger knowing his or her name while being introduced to the person. That being said, there is certain information that people will not share with complete strangers until they become very well acquainted. When you are getting a new bank account, you need to give them a lot more information than just your first and last name.

Cartoon of a theif trying to access credit cardsIn the digital era, the aspect of data privacy is linked to the personal health information and the critical personal information of an individual. This can include the likes of your Social Security number, the medical records, financial data, credit card numbers, bank account numbers and even some of the most basic information like your birthday, address and full name. There is a lot of personal data which can come into the umbrella of data privacy.

Why Is Data Privacy So Important?

When any sensitive data gets into the hands of malware thieves, a lot of bad things can happen. For instance, if you consider a data breach at a data storage company that houses the critical information of a lot of companies, it can create a significant problem for the operational aspects of all those companies.

A data breach for a single company can be very compromising since it can possibly put a lot of its proprietary data in the hands of its competitors and it can easily lose its edge over the competition. Similarly, if there is a breach in the database of a credit card company and the information of their customers is stolen, the thieves can wreak havoc by utilizing the content of the clients to make their own purchases.

A breach of information about patient’s health records can put the personal health information into the hands of people that can misuse the data for their own benefit at the expense of the people whose information that they have stolen.

Steps To Help Prevent Data Theft

Here is a look at some of the top tips that you can use in order to protect your data from getting into the wrong hands.

  • Determine what information needs the most protection: Make sure that you are aware of the data which is most valuable to you or your company. There are different kinds of data which can require more security or less based on their importance. In the context of a company, you should hire an outside expert to help your business assess what data is more crucial. Knowing which is the most crucial information will help your company take the appropriate measures.
  • Restrict access to sensitive data: Not everybody needs to have all the information about your company’s operational proceedings. Make sure that the distribution of information in the company for the employees is done on a need to know basis.
  • Make use of stronger passwords: Make it more and more difficult for outsiders to gain access to your data. The passwords that you set should be very strong and use both uppercase and lowercase letters along with numbers and special characters to make sure that they are not as easy to guess.
  • Install stronger firewalls: Firewalls are crucial for the biggest companies to the smallest companies and even individuals. They protect all the important information that you have by preventing access to outsiders who want to gain access to the network or computers through the internet.
  • Encryption: For added protection for your data, you need to make sure that when the data is being transmitted through emails is encrypted. End to end encryption helps to make sure that only the sender and the receiver of the data have access to the important information. To do this you would need a 3rd party app that will encrypt your emails, since email, in general, is not secure. With that said, you should never put in any sensitive information into email messages.
  • Two factor authentication: No matter how secure your password is, you should really consider making use of two-factor authentication. A lot of devices support this multi-layered approach so even if one of your devices is compromised, you can still restrict access to all the important information.

Final Thoughts

Make sure that you regularly assess all the news surrounding data privacy and regulation online so that you are up to date on how to take the best approach to protect your sensitive information.

Posted On March 9, 2019