From scrolling social media to filling out online applications, everything we do on the internet contributes to data collection. But data privacy remains a growing concern for consumers and businesses alike.
Over the years, data privacy laws have changed – in the US and globally. Any organization collecting and using data must be aware and up to date of these legal changes to ensure compliance, and do your moral duty to protect user’s private information.
For small businesses, keeping up with these data privacy laws and finding the best technology to protect data can be overwhelming. As we embark on a New Year, it’s important to stay current with the latest updates, rules and regulations regarding data privacy.
Is your organization prepared to protect your customer’s personal information, employee sensitive data, and other valuable assets? Computers Nationwide is here to help! Today we’re sharing an overview of data privacy in 2024: what you need to know to stay in compliance and the best methods for getting the job done.
What is Data Privacy?
Data privacy means protecting private information. It also gives people control over how their data is collected, processed, shared, and stored. In today’s digital age, we make multiple transactions and share a lot of information over the internet, and businesses need to keep that information secure. If they fail to do so, it reflects poorly on their systems. They lose their clients’ trust and their reputation.
Why Does Data Protection Matter?
Customers trust you with their personal information. Data leaks can affect their security. It is a breach that harms the customers whose information you have. And you can face financial and legal consequences as well.
Regulatory bodies around the world are drafting strict regulations and laws around data privacy. Even state laws hold businesses accountable for mishandling data. Hence, legal compliance is now an essential element of business strategy.
Here are some interesting data privacy facts and stats:
- 62% of Americans don’t believe it’s possible to go through daily life without companies collecting data about them. (Pew Research Center)
- 81% of users say the potential risks they face from companies collecting data outweigh the benefits. (Pew Research Center)
- 63% of Internet users believe most companies aren’t transparent about how their data is used, and 48% have stopped shopping with a company because of privacy concerns. (Tableau)
- 81% of users believe the way a company treats their personal data is indicative of the way it views them as a customer. (Cisco)
- 37% of users have terminated relationships with companies over data, up from 34% only two years ago. (Cisco)
Understanding Data Privacy Laws in the United States
2023 was a significant year for the USA for data privacy and protection laws. Seven states had new laws to secure consumers and their data and enforce stricter business standards.
Consumers will now have more control over what data can be collected. Additionally, data can only be used for the purposes it is collected for, i.e., sales and marketing. Data can also be cannot shared with other third parties unless consented to and needed.
Data privacy frameworks are not only being developed at the state level. There are also ongoing developments in federal legislation in the USA concerning data privacy. Globally too, there are attempts to secure consumers through data privacy laws such as the GDPR in the European Union.
Data Privacy Regulations Exist for Every Industry
While data protection laws span all industries, some sectors have specific frameworks. Here are some examples: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (healthcare), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (finance), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (retail), and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (education).
Your Guide to Data Privacy Best Practices in 2024
Now is a great time to revamp your data protection and cyber security strategy! Here are some privacy best practices that will help you comply with legal regulations, prevent data breaches, and protect your bottom line…
Make Security A Priority
Like corporations, small businesses need to incorporate security into all business practices. Be strategic about the data you collect, what you use it for, and how long you store it. Do not hold information for the sake of it, as it can become a liability for you.
Restrict Access To Data
Just like data needs to be protected from outsiders, you must safeguard it from employees too. Limit access to employees working with the data, and offer authorization on a need basis. Secure data storage so no one can access it without authorization.
Set Up Passwords and Multifactor Authentication
For people who have access to data, ensure that they set up complex passwords and authentication procedures. Prevent people from reusing old passwords, insist on unique ones, and limit the number of wrong password attempts anyone can have during a certain duration. Security measures such as these can help limit data leaks.
Secure Storage and Transmission
Once data is collected, you need to ensure that you secure it safely as well. Data needs to be protected not only while it is in your system but also when you share it with collaborators. Data can be intercepted and leaked through transmission easily. Hence, follow the industry standards to help secure data.
Update Security Software
Security software keeps evolving to keep up with the latest cybersecurity challenges. Updating your software ensures that your systems are secured against risks.
Data Backups and Recovery Plans
Hacks and malware can limit access to data, causing downtime. Other threats such as natural disasters also can result in data loss. Hence, always backup critical data and have data recovery plans in place. In the case of security breaches, these plans outline the steps you need to take to retrieve and secure your data sources.
Vendor Risk Management
As a business, ensure that all service providers you work with also have robust security measures in place. Any vendors who handle data or security need to comply with regulations as well so you do not run into legal problems.
Incident Response Plans and Employee Training
Security incidents can occur despite strict measures. Businesses should have an incident response plan that allows them to react swiftly to any security incidents. There need to be protocols in place and employees should be trained to know what their roles are in such a scenario.
Stay Informed About Legal Changes
Privacy laws and regulations are constantly evolving to be better at securing customers. As a business, you need to be aware of any policy changes and how they impact your company.
Feeling Overwhelmed with Data Privacy Regulations? Partner with CN for the Best Data Protection & Compliance!
As our digital world becomes more interconnected, data privacy is no longer an option but a necessity. By staying informed about the latest developments, adhering to industry-specific regulations, and implementing robust data privacy best practices, SMBs can create a resilient foundation for success in 2024 and beyond.
If implementing these measures feels overwhelming, fear not! Partner with Computers Nationwide (CN) to ensure your business is compliant with data privacy laws and the latest regulations specific to your industry and location. Not only to protect your organization from potential cyber attacks, a tarnished reputation, or legal penalties, but also to show your stakeholders and customers that you care.
Our Managed Cyber Security services are customized to your company’s unique needs and goals. Allow us to fortify your defenses, protect customer data, and secure your business from potential threats!