Data and Privacy Protection-What Every Business Needs to Know

First, you don't need to know all of the laws on data and privacy protection.  There are too many and they are too complex.  But as a business owner or operator you need to make sure that your business has an ongoing process that protects personally identifiable information and also guards against data breaches. 

If you do business internationally in the EU, you need to comply with GDPR which we have discussed previously.  If you are publicly traded, you need to company with SOX and if you are in healthcare, you need to comply with HIPAA.  These are just examples of some of the major regulations governing privacy protections, not an exhaustive list.

Every business needs to know where its data is located and how to restrict access to it.  Every business should have a data catalog and map that shows where your databases exist, who has access to the various databases, information as to the data they contain, and the level of security applicable to that data.

Any sensitive data should be masked and encrypted to prevent data breaches and unauthorized access. This procedure should be followed for any new databases and the integrity of the system should be tested routinely to assure that the safeguards you have implemented are working.

Compliance audits should be done routinely to verify compliance with your data protection policies. Backups of all data should be created and maintained in case the unthinkable happens.

Make sure your employees understand the importance of data security to the business as well as the customers they serve. One data breach can be all it takes to tank an otherwise successful business.  Plan, assess, monitor and troubleshoot your data protection procedures-the viability of your business may depend on it.