Data privacy has been a hot topic in recent years. The rise of digital services – such as social media apps – has seen us leave our personal information left and right.
Data management and everything surrounding it is one of the biggest industries of the modern world. Nowadays, virtually all companies handle some form of (digital) data in their daily operations. Even the smallest of businesses offer services like loyalty cards, e-mail newsletters, phone apps, etc. where your info is processed.
Failing to protect or intentionally mishandling collected data is illegal virtually all across the world. So, what are Data Protection Solutions, and are companies doing everything in their power to shield us?
What Is Personal Data and Why Do Companies Process It?
Information is considered by many to be the most valuable “currency” of today.
The most useful information, and one that commands the highest price, is personal data.
Definitions of personal data may vary slightly depending on your location, but the basics are mostly universal.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Union defines personal data:
- Any information that directly identifies the person it belongs to
- A group of information that, when collected together, directly identify the person they belong to
The laws surrounding personal data apply regardless of how said data is collected and stored (written on a piece of paper, sent as a text message, entered into a website registration form, etc.)
Here are some examples of personal data:
- Name and Surname
- Social Security Number
- Personal document numbers (ID card, Driver’s License, Passport)
- Home addresses
- Website identity cookies
- An email address containing personal data (email@example.com)
- IP addresses
- Hospital records that uniquely identify a person
The second definition is broader, but also easy to recognize in practice.
For example, a photograph or video we take may not be considered personal data, unless the file’s metadata (date and time, camera model, accurate location) confirms the recording device belongs to us.
Surprisingly, even names and surnames can fall outside the personal data category in some situations.
This is because, as a standalone piece of info, they’re not considered unique (many people can share the same name).
However, as soon as the name and surname are paired with info that can identify the individual more closely, they’re considered personal data.
Apart from a few exceptions similar to these, recognizing personal data is fairly straightforward.
So, can we trust companies when they ask for our information?
Yes, data security is among the top priorities for all businesses which operate legally.
Why Data Protection Is So Important
Data Protection legislation applies to all organizations, be they government or private.
Universally, these laws ensure that our data:
- Is only collected consensually
- Is stored safely and securely in accordance to legislation
- Is used only when required and in agreed-upon ways
- Is managed within the confines of applicable laws
- Is not exchanged or transferred without owner consent
- Is not stored for longer than necessary or after users revoking consent
That being said, legal trouble is not the only reason you should worry about data protection.
No matter how educated on the subject, people from all walks of life want to know their data is being handled with care.
In fact, as much as 80% of customers report dropping companies and services that’ve had data protection issues.
Rest assured your employees and business partners feel the same way.
The opposite is also true and can be heard far and wide.
People are willing to switch to (and pay a premium for) goods and services that are known to be safer.
In a real-world example, Apple often advertises its tech products as safer than competitors due to their closed-source operating system.
While there’s obviously more to device security than that, this otherwise surface-level information is enough to appeal to some target customers.
Data Protection Methods and Preventive Measures
Although it may be the biggest concern, protecting your data from being stolen is not the only thing that can happen.
Losing data or giving unauthorized access to it can be equally problematic – and these issues may not even be caused by cyber-criminals.
Here are some protection methods and preventive measures you should do to ensure data safety:
- Encrypt your data
- Perform regular backups (physical copies and Cloud)
- Make sure all devices have an antivirus installed
- Install VPN for remote workers – do not expose their location
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
- Only grant access to recognized accounts and devices
- Set up Single Sign-On for shared accounts
- Disable and remove unused accounts (CIAM/IAM audits)
- Wipe information from old hardware (delete the data)
- Educate your employees (and customers) on the best security practices
Most of what we’ve talked about can easily be achieved through Data Protection Solutions (software).
What Are Data Protection Solutions (Software)?
A Data Protection Solution is a piece of software created to safely store information.
The three basic functions you should look for in your Data Protection Solutions are:
- Data encryption
- Regular backups (cloud)
- Policy alignment
There’s plenty of licensed software to pick from.
Your choice will vary depending on the size of your business, the type of data you handle, the industry you operate in, etc.
For example, a customer care department will want different data management functions than a cargo delivery enterprise.
Some software is specialized to certain types of businesses, so don’t hesitate to look for specifics.
Once you have your solution in place and your backup set up, it’s time to add accompanying software to round up the prevention and protection we talked about.
Cloud-based IT and HR management software, such as AppsCo One, should do the trick.
Improve Your Data Security With AppsCo One
AppsCo One is an HR and IT master management tool equipped with modern data security solutions.
With just a few clicks, AppsCo One can:
- Manage user access
- Verify devices accessing your network
- Implement Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
- Whitelist/blacklist IPs
- Share application access via Single Sign-On (SSO)
- Perform user audits, and more
You don’t need to be versed in privacy regulations to use AppsCo One.
The app’s protocols are up-to-date with laws and regulations, and you can integrate your company policies into it as well.
Let AppsCo gather information and conduct assessments of your organization’s data compliance, then advise you on the necessary steps forward.
The app is easy to use and very user-friendly.
It’s completely Cloud-based, meaning it can be accessed on a variety of devices (computers, phones, tablets) through the internet.
Plus, you can customize the app interface with your company branding.