Data Privacy Week, an annual campaign intended to educate enterprises and individuals about data privacy, begins on January 22nd and extends through January 28th. In our digital society, data protection is more important than ever, and as a technology leader, you’ll want to ensure that your enterprise pursues the following data protection best practices…

The data-driven enterprise

Data is now embedded in every business decision, interaction and process. Protecting it effectively is critical. Leading organizations have already adapted to this reality. As the global data-protection landscape continues to mature, enterprises are seeing new opportunities to expand data protection measures.

Rather than a free resource for harvest, regulations in every region of the world treat personal data as an asset owned by consumers and held in-trust by enterprises. By year-end 2024, 75% of the world’s population will likely have personal data addressed under privacy regulations, meaning that enterprises that haven’t fully adapted to new data privacy norms will need to do so shortly.

In enabling strong data protection, your organization will continue to build consumer trust, reduce risk, and provide greater business value. The keys to success include reassessment of data security operations, employee education, obtention of ecosystem insights, and advanced infrastructure design.

How executives can champion #dataprivacyweek

1. Determine what data is necessary to collect and retain. Certain digital regulations, such as GDPR, demand that data controllers only collect necessary information. While the definition of ‘necessary’ remains at the discretion of organizations, enterprises must establish a methodology for data collection and be able to prove compliance with standards.

Pursue a data-first approach. Know exactly what data is being collected, processed, and where it is stored. This information will assist you in developing further objective initiatives through which to secure and protect data resources.

2. Employee data privacy and security training. In 2021, 94% of businesses experienced some form of data breach. Eighty-four percent of such data breaches occurred due to employee errors. According to IBM, the errors can be categorized into two groups; decision-based errors and skills-based errors. Employees who make decision-based errors may not have received proper training. In contrast, skills-based errors occur when an employee is familiar with data security procedures, but fails to employ them due to a momentary lapse, an unintentional slip, or negligence.

When organizing training for your staff, ensure that training addresses both types of errors and that it highlights how to minimize their potentialities.

3. Backup your data. Is your backup strategy sufficient? Multiple types of data backup solutions and tools exist on the market. These include hardware appliances, software solutions, cloud-based data backup options and hybrid data backup solutions. The industry-accepted backup standard, known as the 3-2-1 approach, involves storing data in three locations, on two types of storage devices, with one copy located off-site.

Further, assess how frequently your organization backs up data. Backup frequency determines how much data may be lost due to an unexpected business disruption. For instance, if your enterprise backs up data every 30 minutes, your employees, business partners and customers could lose 30 minutes of data in the event of a breach.

4. Take a layered approach to cyber security. Ensure that your organization uses firewalls, maintains up-to-date software programs, uses a U2F key, SSO and/or multi-factor authentication, and reinforces mobile data security.

Data privacy as an investment

Ensure that data privacy and security are viewed as an investment, rather than an expense. A sober attitude towards data protection translates to fewer security breaches, fewer unexpected financial losses, more cross-border provisioning of services, and an expanded array of market opportunities.

While rooting out entrenched behavioral patterns, and restructuring or removing legacy systems can be tough, in the long-run, the effort is worth the initiative, as it helps build a lasting enterprise that can gain consumer trust and increase in overall value.

Looking for more data privacy and security tips? For simple and effective ways to secure your remote workforce, see CyberTalk.org’s past coverage.

Lastly, don’t miss registration for the most important cyber security event of the year; CPX 360 2023. Register here.