The National Cyber Security Alliance encourages all businesses to create a culture of respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust. Data Privacy Day on January 28th reminded organizations about the importance of protecting personal information.
As the world becomes increasingly connected and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand, consumers' concerns about the hot-button issues of data security and privacy are deepening. A recent survey addressing what consumers really think about sharing their personal information indicates that 81 percent of Americans feel they have lost control over the way their personal data is collected. The proliferation of connected devices coupled with consumer unease sends a clear message that in order to build trust, organizations must address privacy concerns, safeguard data and be open and honest about how personal information is collected, used and shared.
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is partnering with leaders in industry, government and the nonprofit sector to educate businesses about the importance of respecting privacy and protecting personal information. NCSA's year-round privacy awareness initiatives culminate on Data Privacy Day ‒ held annually on January 28th ‒ to stress to organizations that privacy is good for business and inform consumers about the value of their personal information. Data Privacy Day, led by NCSA in the United States, is built on the theme, "Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust."
"Companies of all sizes and from all industries are continuously collecting enormous amounts of personal data. Consumers want to know how their personal information is collected and protected and with whom it is shared," said Russ Schrader, NCSA's executive director. "In fact, respecting privacy is not only a protective measure, but also a smart strategy for enabling consumer trust and enhancing reputation and growth."
Vigilance, honesty and collaboration
"Protecting data privacy is critical in today's global digital economy. Every company must be able to demonstrate how it is protecting data privacy to earn the trust of customers, users, partners and employees. This takes a collaborative, risk-based data privacy practice that aligns with industry best practices, customer demands and regulatory requirements," said Michelle Dennedy, vice president and chief privacy officer for Cisco.
With high-tech gadgets on our wrists, in our cars and in our kids' toy chests, we are now faced with an even more complex environment in which to manage our privacy. The abundance of personal information collected by these devices can be stolen by bad actors or used in negative ways. Recent news stories about connected toys have shed light on the risks of data being collected and used in ways we might not expect or approve. It is vital that all companies be open and honest about how they collect, use and share personal information. In addition, businesses must be vigilant about security and respecting privacy. Whenever possible, parents and all consumers should try to understand how their information is collected, used and shared.
Help your business be more thoughtful about what information is collected, protecting that data and fostering consumer trust with these tips:
If you collect it, protect it: Follow reasonable security measures to protect individuals' personal information from inappropriate and unauthorized access.
Be open and honest about how you collect, use and share personal information: Clearly communicate your data use practices and any features or settings you offer to consumers to manage their privacy.
Create a culture of privacy in your organization: Educate employees about their role in privacy, security and respecting and protecting the personal information of colleagues and customers.
In addition to your privacy practices, do your due diligence and monitor partners and vendors: You are also responsible for how they use and collect personal information.