The importance of data privacy is more evident than ever on today’s National Data Privacy Day, created to raise awareness of privacy and data protection best practices.
“As we continually share more data on our connected devices, businesses are collecting and using this personal information more than ever before. Just think about everything we do online – from health care and banking transactions to posting family vacation photos to pinpointing our location at any given time. Data Privacy Day provides an opportunity for everyone to encourage organizations to improve data privacy practices and inform consumers about the number of ways their information is being used,” said Kelvin Coleman, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) that leads National Data Privacy Day. “In short, privacy is good for business. If companies protect data and respect privacy, they will earn the trust of their customers. It is, however, up to all of us to learn about and practice simple steps to help protect our personal information.”
In addition, today marks the first Data Privacy Day since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in the EU, and while some industry leaders believe the day is a great reminder that organizations and individuals must stay attuned to data privacy, others believe it is redundant.
- California Consumer Privacy Act follows in the GDPR’s footsteps
- Industry Watch: It’s time for data privacy legislation
- Preparing for the GDPR in the eleventh hour
Colin Truran, principal technology strategist at Quest Software, explained that in 2019, a day for raising awareness of data privacy should no longer be necessary. “In the era of GDPR, multimillion-dollar lawsuits, and career-ending data breaches, awareness of data privacy is higher than ever. It may sound cliché, but every single day of the year should be a day for businesses and individuals to do more to protect personal data.”
Truran believes that Data Privacy Day needs to change and evolve to meet today’s needs in order to stay relevant in the current data landscape.
“Data Privacy Day has been a fixture of the calendar since 2007, and I believe it needs to evolve to stay relevant with the rapidly changing data landscape,” Truran said. “Beyond raising awareness, the 28th of January needs to become a day where businesses are genuinely held accountable for their data protection practices. To celebrate a day like this, we should be calling on all organizations to be transparent and publish exactly what they’re doing to safeguard their customers’ data, making Data Privacy Day an annual check-in on the health of data protection and to ensure there are no hiding places for data misuse. The day is an opportunity for organizations to demonstrate how competitive they are in upholding the rights of the individual and protecting their data.”
With legislation such as the GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Law working to force companies to be more responsible for user data, companies will need to change their mindset when it comes to handling personal data.
However, Patrick McGrath, director of product management at Commvault, still thinks of today as an opportunity for “data privacy advocates to recognize that their efforts have transformed the way the business world protects personal data.”
“As we recognize another Data Privacy Day, we call on responsible IT and business leaders to take action to compel the larger business community and their own organizations to recognize people’s inherent right to keep their private data private and join us in advocating for stronger and widely adopted privacy practices,” said McGrath.
According to the NCSA, if you collect data you can build trust by protecting it with reasonable security measures, being open and honest about how you are collecting and using the data, and actually practice what you say you will do.
For consumers looking to protect their data, the NCSA suggested thinking before you post about yourself and other, owning your online presence by setting privacy and security to something you are comfortable with, and making sure your usernames and passwords are strong enough to protect key accounts.