Ward and Smith today announce our continued support of being conscientious stewards of personal information, by becoming a 2021 Data Privacy Day Champion.
January 28 marks a global effort that generates awareness about the importance of privacy and highlights easy ways to protect personal information while reminding organizations that privacy is good for business. This year, we are encouraging individuals to "Own Your Privacy" by learning more about how to protect the valuable data that is online and encouraging businesses to "Respect Privacy", which advocates for holding organizations responsible for keeping individuals' personal information safe from unauthorized access and ensuring fair, relevant and legitimate data collection and processing.
According to a Pew Research Center study, 79% of U.S. adults report being concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. As technology evolves and the pandemic continues to influence how consumers interact with businesses online, data collection practices are becoming increasingly unavoidable, making it imperative that companies act responsibly.
The National Cyber Security Alliance has offered up the following tips to help guide individuals and businesses to better data privacy practices, such as:
- Personal info is like money: Value it. Protect it. Personal information, such as your purchase history, IP address, or location, has tremendous value to businesses – just like money. Make informed decisions about whether or not to share your data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for, and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return.
- Keep tabs on your apps. Many apps ask for access to personal information, such as your geographic location, contacts list and photo album, before you can use their services. Be thoughtful about who gets that information, and wary of apps that require access to information that is not required or relevant for the services they are offering. Delete unused apps on your internet-connect devices and keep others secure by performing updates.
- Manage your privacy settings. Check the privacy and security settings on web services and apps and set them to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser you use will have different features to limit how and with whom you share information. Get started with NCSA's Manage Your Privacy Settings page.
- If you collect it, protect it. Data breaches can not only lead to great financial loss but a loss in reputation and customer trust. Follow reasonable security measures to keep individuals' personal information safe from inappropriate and unauthorized access. Make sure the personal data you collect is processed in a fair manner and only collected for relevant and legitimate purposes.
- Consider adopting a privacy framework. Build privacy into your business by researching and adopting a privacy framework to help you manage risk and create a culture of privacy in your organization.
- Conduct an assessment of your data collection practices. Understand which privacy laws and regulations apply to your business. Educate your employees of their and your organization's obligations to protecting personal information.
- Transparency builds trust. Be open and honest about how you collect, use and share consumers' personal information. Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used and design settings to protect their information by default. Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization and the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.
- Maintain oversight of partners and vendors. If someone provides services on your behalf, you are also responsible for how they collect and use your consumers' personal information.