Daily we are asked for information, our names, email address, home address, phone numbers, social security numbers and many more. Sometimes we hand it out willingly and other times we are a bit more skeptical of the source. Although data privacy has always been important, in today’s digital age it is much more than keeping a locked filing cabinet in our desks.
What is Data Privacy?
What actually defines defines data privacy? Typically, data privacy is defined as how information is processed based on its importance. Today, data privacy is applied to critical personal information known as PII or personally identifiable information as well as PHI, personal health information. Some of this information may include information such as, social security numbers, account numbers, medical records, financial information, full names and even birth dates. As a company however, this information is not all that they must worry about. Any information that a company needs to operate such as proprietary research and development data is considered data privacy information.
How to protect yourself.
We have all heard of data breeches and understand the need to protect ourselves however there may be times when simply do not think we are at risk or it just doesn't cross our minds. At work it is highly likely that your organization has standards in place to ensure you are keeping information secure. Many organizations have reported spending thousands, even millions of dollars to keep themselves protected. However it is not likely for people to do this with their own, personal information. Below we have compiled a few inexpensive steps you can do today to ensure your information is protected.
1. Utilize a mailbox or slot that does not allow people to access your mail once it has been delivered, preventing thieves from stealing your information.
2.Buy a shredder and actually use it. Shred any documents that lists any personal information such as bank statements, receipts, credit card credentials, etc. before tossing them in the trash.
3. Ensure all Wi-Fi networks are secure, including your home network, preventing cyber attackers from monitoring your online activities.
4. Only provide your social security number to those who need it, not just to those who ask for it. If they do in fact need it, always ask how they will protect it.
5. Utilize unpredictable passwords and make sure to change them on a regular basis. No more passwords set as PASSWORD, my friends.
6. Use different passwords for different accounts. (Yes, we understand this is a pain, but we promise its less of a pain than trying to get your identity back)
7. Regularly check your privacy settings on all social media sites and make sure the information you share is something you are okay with the world knowing.
So, there it is, 7 great steps to help you protect yourself in the age of digital and remember you are the first line of defense to protecting your data.