Virtually everyone has a reason to be concerned about data security issues in the digital age. That’s why January 28, 2019, has been designated as “Data Privacy Day,” observed in the United States, as well as in various international locations as a way to promote data protection best practices.
In recognition of Data Privacy Day, we have identified four key data privacy issues you are likely to face—both in your business and personal life—and data security answers to help you address them.
As a small business owner, you lie awake worrying about a potential data breach
The fact is that your company’s data privacy controls are only as strong as your employees’ adherence to them. That’s why it’s imperative that you communicate the importance of data security and ensure that a culture of data privacy permeates your organization.
Solution: You can establish strong protocols, which include granting different levels of security on a “need to know” basis—which at its core is the definition of what is data privacy. For example, perhaps only the product development team needs access to proprietary research or the finance department should be the only ones able to view customer credit card information.
Secondly, it’s impossible to underestimate the importance of requiring solid passwords. It’s hard to believe in today’s advanced digital age, but the top passwords remain “123456” or “password.”
Finally, consider enlisting tech support that is up to the job and make sure that you back up all crucial information in the cloud or on a data storage device.
Customers hesitate to give you information because of their concerns over a breach
No company can blame customers for being wary; after all, even if you are committed to the utmost in protection, they have the same concerns with their data security that you do with yours.
Solution: As a small business owner, you must be clear on what privacy laws affect you—and it can differ by state. So try to make sure that you have the necessary protocols in place, and communicate your adherence to data privacy laws to your customers; that transparency instills confidence.
Another area to consider is the “permissions” you ask for in an app. For example, do you really need access to the user’s location or address book for your specific app’s functionality? Consider data privacy at every turn when asking for permissions, which will assure the consumer that you have their data security issues in mind.
You worry that you are inadvertently exposing your own personal data
Sure, you know that your own business has strong data privacy protections in place, but it’s hard not to worry about how other companies are protecting your data security.
Don’t use unsecured public WiFi for business transactions or communications. Wait until you have access to secure WiFi. And be vigilant about checking financial statements to make sure there is no questionable activity that happened despite complying with strong data security habits.
You just know that Facebook and Google are spying on you
There’s no way around it: Those ads that seem to pop up after you’ve discussed a certain product you’re considering (even though the Facebook privacy advocates swear they don’t listen in) or made one innocuous search can be disconcerting,
Solution: Unfortunately, the only way to completely protect your privacy is to go off the grid, which just isn’t practical in today’s digital age. So, you may have to accept (and just maybe appreciate!) targeted advertising that comes your way based on your search history or voice inquiries.
Another option if you’re concerned about Google privacy is to use a different search engine; one to try is DuckDuckGo, which bills itself as the “search engine that doesn’t track you.”
Finally, regularly check and update your Facebook privacy, as well as settings on other social media accounts, to help prevent inadvertently broadcasting details of your life with the world at large.
It can be easy to let data security slip, so Data Privacy Day is the ideal reminder to take stock of your systems and habits.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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