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Privacy Policy – A Key Component of Data Security

Privacy Policy – A Key Component of Data Security

A privacy policy offers your business legal and regulatory protection and builds brand loyalty. Also, learn more about what to include in your privacy guidelines

Does your small- or medium-sized business have a privacy policy? It’s an effective way to protect your business, gain brand credibility and maintain compliance. IT security professional, Marius Nel from 360 Smart Networks shares insights into the importance of a solid privacy policy.

Building a privacy policy need not be a daunting task. Instead, it’s a powerful way to state how your business operates and protects customer, employer and partner information.

What Is a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy is a way to tell all the groups involved with your business — clients, vendors, the general public, customers and employees. how you define, identify and collect information about individuals. And also, it explains how you use and protect information that can identify a specific individual and the steps you take to protect that data.

A core component of most privacy policies is personally identifiable information (PII). PII covers a broad range of information, from the basic contact information (e.g. name, address, email, phone, Social Security number) to medical records and biometric data. Any data that can be used to trace identity may be considered PII, which is protected under various laws and regulations.

Your business is collecting massive amounts of data about website visitors, customers, and employees. You’re likely storing this information in various databases and using it for business purposes. That leaves information vulnerable to misuse, theft or compromise.

Why Create a Privacy Policy?

With a privacy policy in place, your business gains considerable benefits. The top advantages are:

Legal Protection

Having a privacy policy in place can protect you against lawsuits. And also, asking employees, customers, visitors, vendors, and partners to sign that they’ve read. And understand your privacy policies is an effective defense against legal complaints.

Regulatory Compliance

States, provinces, and regions are passing more privacy laws. Particularly when it comes to the collection, use, sharing and selling of personal information. Besides, the increasingly complex regulatory landscape makes it even more critical to have a privacy policy that covers the requirements of multiple jurisdictions.

Brand Credibility

Consumers, potential employees, and partners are looking to work with companies that take data privacy seriously. With a privacy policy in place, your business demonstrates its commitment to privacy issues. Transparency around your privacy standards helps your business improve its brand image and establish trust.

What Should a Privacy Policy Cover?

There are certain core components of the complete privacy policy:

  • What PII your business is collecting, from the obvious — name and contact information — to the less obvious — credit card information, credit scores or transaction data
  • How your company uses the collected data and for what purposes: If it is used for future communication, internal analysis or research studies. It’s important to be open about usage
  • With whom you share information, including what is shared, when and why: This is an increasing focus of new privacy laws. And it needs to be detailed and clear in your policy
  • How you keep data secured and stored: The privacy policy can be a powerful demonstration of the care you take to ensure PII protection
  • Customer information: Recent legislation in multiple jurisdictions gives consumers the right to know detailed information about the collection and use of their information. Therefore, your [privacy policy] should note:
    • How customers can see what PII is collected and stored
    • Ways to correct or update their PII your business has collected
  • Recourse customers have if there is a data breach

What States Have Data Privacy Laws?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)is considered the most comprehensive state law related to data privacy. However, each state has some form of data privacy protection and more are likely to follow the Golden State’s lead.

While the United States does not have a federal consumer data privacy law, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)recently, providing protection to EU residents.

If your business operates in multiple states or in Europe, these laws likely apply. In addition, establishing and using your privacy policies is an important first step to remaining on the right side of the law. And avoiding costly penalties.

To learn more about data security issues and privacy policies, contact the local managed IT services provider.

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