What is Data and Data Privacy?

Data security is most important requirement to the customers or user. If the organisation wants to run a business successfully, they need to give surety of data protection as it gives customers the assurance that their data is being collected, processed, and transferred through secure mechanism. Data is most critical and important for businesses of all sizes, from a small start-up to a global conglomerate and so is data privacy.

Data is information processed by a computer system and stored in a system known as server. This information may be in the form of text, image, documents, audio clips, software programs, patents, financial information, secret information, health data, personal information or other types of data.

Every organisation collect data with different mediums either by old traditional method or by modern digital methods. Be it hospitals, banks, companies, government departments etc data is everywhere. Processed data is known as information.

Sometimes a set of data can formulate a sensitive information, so Data privacy is a mechanism to maintain our privacy online, because information is a highly value asset and sought-after commodity by malicious users and cyber criminals. As an end user it is very essential to know what is happening with our online information, what can be done with the data or who all can have access to it. Users often give their consent and allow companies to track and store their data can have disastrous results, so one should have a say in the matter.

Normally organisation focus on the risks originated hackers and cyber criminals, however this is much more than this. Protecting your data privacy is as significant as managing your data security.

Firstly, and fore mostly, Data Privacy is an arm of data security and its motive is to safeguard the data from unauthorized access. Data privacy aims to the proper handling of information based on its significance-

  • Regulatory requirements and data privacy laws
  • Consent of the data owner
  • Privacy Notice
  • About the public expectation of privacy.

Main objective of Data privacy is to safeguard the users’ data as per the regulations and users’ rights. Main factors to consider are:

  • How to collect and share the data legally
  • Whether to data can be shared with the third parties and identification of the third parties with whom data can be shared.
  • Adhering to the regulatory compliance and laws limits such as-HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation), GLBA (The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), CCPA (The California Consumer Privacy Act), ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act 1986),Personal Information Protection and Electronic Data Act (PIPEDA) and so on. Different countries have different data protection regulations and all these regulations have their own set of rules and legislation pertaining to a specific area, purpose, and type of companies or individuals.

In a nutshell this means protection of critical user information primarily PII (personally identifiable information) of an individual:

PII consists of: – 

  • Full Name,
  • Address,
  • Contact details,
  • Date of birth,
  • Social Security Number
  • Bank Account Number
  • Driving License Number
  • Some more personal information such as an-
    • IP address,
    • Profile photo,
    • Social media post,
    • Financial Information
    • Medical Information
    • Location
    • And many based on regulatory compliance.

Importance of Data Privacy and Data Security for Business

 Data privacy and security helps in protection of customer’s data privacy.

It helps reduction of the number of information security incidents like data breaches that an organization can suffer.

  • It is helpful in maintaining, improving and retaining brand value of the business.
  • It is helpful in safeguarding the business from hefty penalties for violating the rules. Regulators impose huge penalties in case of data breach which could be few thousand dollars or a big part of revenue generated, and it’s different for various types of data breach incidents.
  • Data sharing will be limited and identification of third party would be done on prior basis according to the risk level of data.
  • It saves the organisations from the theft of data by hacker or cyber criminals, that can cause enormous monetary losses
  • Data privacy limits the access of customer’s critical data and hence safeguarding the right of customers to be free from uninvited surveillance
  • This helps the organisations to keep track of their data breach records and organisations can learn lesson in order to avoid future recurrence.
  • Now a days most of the business run on customer’s critical data safeguarding the privacy expectations should be priority of the organisation.
  • It helps the organisations from loss of revenue.
  • It is also provided competitive advantages to business.
  • Last but not the least it is helpful in adherence to the strict policies of how PII is collected, accessed, protected, and erased.
  • Data security and privacy controls are helpful in enhancing company’s reputation and built customer trust.

Importance of Data Privacy for Users

  • It provides assurance from unauthorised access of data.
  • It will keep customers personal, health and financial information safe.
  • It generates a trust value for the customer.
  • It provides a legal right to the end user or customer to challenge the company in case of any data breach.
  • Data can only be collected by receiving consent from the users.
  • Companies which collect the data provides data security guarantee to the end user.

Tips and Tricks to help protect your personal data

Data privacy is such an important issue, nowadays many government organizations and companies spend a good part of their revenue each year to help protect their data—which could include your PII (Personally identifiable information)—from exposure. As an end user may not be able to implement high end security solutions to safeguard their personal data, however there are inexpensive ways whichyou can take to help protect your data. Below are a few suggestions:

  • Use strong passwords for your online accounts also avoid having same password for multiple accounts. Change password on regular basis.
  • Chane the default password for your home network devices, especially Wi-Fi device. A weak password is easy to guess and any unauthorized person can connect to your network with malicious intent.
  • Avoid clicking on any random link received via mail or message, these can have malicious links which will give access of your device to cyber-criminal who could eavesdrop your network traffic including personal data.
  • Don’t ever share your personal details like bank account number, credit card detail, social security number, Aadhar card number etc over call.
  • Avoid writing your personal details like phone number and address at public platform unless necessary. This could sometimes be very dangerous if accessed by any cyber criminal.
  • Avoid sharing too much personal information on social media platform.
  • Always use security setting on social media accounts, which you can always secure your accounts by changing in Privacy settings. Always keep your social media count in most private mode in order to avoid disclosure of personal information.
  • Use VPN (Virtual Private Network) for online activities, however avoid the freeware for financial transactions.
  • Share your personal details over the websites which are using encryption.
  • Carefully shred all the personal document, receipts, bank statements and your courier packaging as well before discarding.
  • Use genuine software on your system.
  • Install antivirus and anti malware.
  • Always keep firewall on.

Data Protection regulations and laws of different countries are developed and designed in order to maintain the data privacy of the citizens of that particular country. There are many countries where data privacy is already in place, however there are countries where there are no such laws. Having a framework for data privacy and security will definitely safeguard the critical information. A set of defined roles and responsibilities, network security controls like firewalls, secure configurations, Intrusion detection and prevention systems, monitoring, logging the activities, having proper procedures and processes in place of conducting any activity like access provision, de-provisioning, change management, patch management, backup management, privilege access management, physical security management etc certainly provide a more secure environment to data and information systems. Expectation and responsibilities of third-party service providers also plays critical role in data security. Technical controls should be according to the organisations risk appetite and relevant regulations.

Although cyber criminals are inventing new techniques to intrude into the networks but using encryption techniques will help the data in non-readable formats.

 Data is the most precious asset for both organisation and customer, a vigilant consumer and an organisation with adequate resources, diligent employees, regular monitoring, proper governance, periodic reviews can safeguard their information assets and maintain data privacy and security.

#Keywords,-Data security, data privacy, encryption, Cybercriminals, hackers, GDPR,HIPPA,GLBA , CCPA , ECPA ,PIPEDA, password protection, network security, patch management,

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