Today, data is a commodity more valuable than precious metals. With the right data set, you can transform your business from last place to an industry leader. Unfortunately, this means there are unscrupulous actors trying to take data they have no rights to, and that leads to regulations about the safe storage of information. Here are some tips on the kinds of information you need to make sure you are protecting.
One of the most legally restricted kinds of data available is information about people’s health. In the United States, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act govern dealing with health information. The insurance and medical industries are the most heavily affected by these regulatory schemes, but it affects every industry. For instance, if an employee becomes sick and has to call in for their shift, your record of that could fall under the laws as well. Be sure to look at the requirements of the law and make sure you are in compliance.
Other businesses handle financial information, and laws often affect how you can store and use that information. America’s financial industry is largely regulated by the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. There are two major components of the GLBA; the first regulates the disclosures financial companies must make, and the second stipulates how companies must store and use that data. Essentially, every financial institution must support an active security plan, including a designated department to oversee security and the hiring of the right contractors to carry out the plan.
How you handle the personal information entrusted to you by customers is something that varies a great deal. A few general rules apply. Any financial information your customers offer you will likely fall under the GLBA’s protections, as discussed above, and need you to take a strong good-faith effort to protect it. Beyond bank accounts and credit cards, though, you will also want to make sure no one outside the company can reach the phone numbers and histories of purchases made by your clients. Not only is this the subject of regulation, but it can also lead to disgruntled customers abandoning your business.
During the course of their employment, your workers will entrust you with sensitive personal information. It is important that you take steps to keep that information safe. Since it is hard for you to say whether an individual can legally receive information about an employee, it is best to refrain from giving any personal data, schedules, or other information to anyone outside the company without th permission of the employee. Moreover, you should make sure that your HR department uses the best data security solutions.
Of course, the best way to make sure you are complying with the law is to take common sense steps to safeguard valuable data. Keep your information off personal computers or smart devices, keep your Internet security and encryption up to date, and make sure everyone with access to your data is trustworthy. With a few simple precautions, you can live free from worry about data security.
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