Data privacy has been one of the touchpoints of the past decade. With major data privacy breaches being reported from companies, like Facebook, Marriott, and Target, rules and regulations related to protecting sensitive data have finally begun catching up with technology.
The result for businesses is a variety of data privacy compliance requirements, depending upon which industries they’re in and the type of data they may collect and transmit. This has made implementing strong IT security more crucial than ever.
For example, anyone that takes credit card payments is subject to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). If you’re in the healthcare industry, then HIPAA compliance is a necessity.
And Chicagoland businesses will want to be aware of a data privacy ordinance currently in front of the City Council, entitled “Chicago Personal Data Collection and Protection Ordinance.” If enacted, it would put requirements in place for location-enabled mobile apps, data breach notification, and more.
When working with companies on IT security and data privacy compliance, our Technical Evolutions Cybersecurity Team puts into place best practices that help clients address multiple compliance requirements and keep their data and network protected from a breach.
Use these Security Practices to Stay on the Right Side of Cybersecurity
Most data privacy standards contain the same types of main concepts and similar underlying requirements. This means that if you’ve met the requirements for one, your technology infrastructure will most likely already comply with others.
Some of the main security concepts that are the foundation of strong data privacy practices are:
- Requiring user consent before collecting data
- Putting security safeguards in place on your network and devices
- Ensuring sensitive data is protected during collection, storage, and transmission
- Giving users control over their data (such as ability to request deletion)
- Notifying users right away if their information has been compromised
Here are some best practices you can use to secure your business data and address data privacy compliance.
Be Clear About Data Collection & Opt-Ins
If you have a box on your contact form where someone can sign up for your newsletter, best practice would be to have the box unchecked (instead of checked) by default to make sure someone really opting in.
- Email address
- Phone number
- Mailing address
- Online tracking through cookies
- Location data
Put Data Handling Policies in Place
In order to protect personal and sensitive data, you need to define what that is and create policies so your staff know how to handle it. For example, if your team is collecting personal lead information at a trade show, how are they to safeguard that data while taking it from point A to point B?
Data handling policies should include classifying types of data and identifying which data types are subject to data privacy rules. You also should include data lifecycle information that tracks what happens to data from when it’s collected to when it’s destroyed.
Control Data Access
When you’re collecting sensitive data from customers or employees, they’re trusting you to keep their information safe. Access controls are important to ensure no unauthorized parties can steal and misuse that data.
Access controls can include:
- Using a platform that allows permission-based access
- Implementing strong password management
- Using multi-factor authentication for logins to where sensitive data is stored
- Using mobile device management software
Multi-Layered IT Security
Strong cybersecurity means a multi-layered approach that includes things like next-gen firewalls, anti-phishing email security, malware and virus prevention, and central device administration (for desktops and mobile devices).
An Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) system or other robust security platform can help you cover all your bases, greatly decrease the chance of a breach, and keep personal data protected.
Be Aware of the Regulations & Your Requirements
Some small businesses aren’t aware of the requirements of a data privacy standard such as PCI DSS, until they have a breach and end up getting hit with fines and penalties.
Just 52.5% of all organizations are fully PCI DSS compliant. (Verizon)
Take the time to get to know the data privacy regulations and standards that your business is subject to so you’re not caught off guard and can proactively implement an IT security plan that includes compliance with them.
Conduct Regular Employee Cybersecurity Training
Your employees are often on the front line of protecting sensitive data, from the collection point when someone pays by credit card over the phone to a phishing email with malicious malware that comes into an employee’s inbox.
Strengthen your “human firewall” by conducting regular cybersecurity training for staff that includes data handling procedures, how to avoid a phishing email, and what to do if they think there’s been a breach.
Apply Updates & Security Patches Regularly
From operating systems to mobile apps, all those updates may get annoying, but they’re vital to strong IT security. They often contain not only bug fixes but security fixes for newly found vulnerabilities.
With multiple computers and mobile devices that may be accessing your data, the easiest way to keep them all patched and updated is to use a managed IT services package that takes care of device updates and monitoring for you.
Need Help with Data Privacy Compliance?
Technical Evolutions can take the hassle out of data privacy compliance and IT security by providing best-in-class cybersecurity protections for your business. We can help you navigate the data privacy landscape and implement affordable solutions.
Contact us today for a quick 10-minute chat to discuss your needs. Call 708-540-6201 or reach out online.