There are many rules and regulations associated with PII data protection. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to some forms of PII. For example, HIPAA addresses health records, while the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act applies to other types of PII. If PII falls into the wrong hands, it could cause significant damage. A guide on simplifying PII compliance and improving how to simplify PII compliance and data protection will help your company meet these regulations and keep your customers safe.
Identifying PII (personally identifiable information) data protection requires understanding of the nature of this data and its context in an organization. Creating a PII compliance checklist can help you meet the needs of your customers and employees while simplifying the process of PII compliance. PII is defined as an individual’s full name and may include their social security number, home address, email, passport, or driver’s license number. PII can also have biometric data, fingerprints, and bank account or credit card information.
PII protection and GDPR compliance standards are influenced by the type of data and the supervisory authority responsible for the data. In Europe, for example, the GDPR offers strict protections for PII but still allows businesses to use it for any purpose they choose. To meet these requirements, every business must map out all the processes and systems that use PII.
PII is stored in multiple places, including social media, cloud storage, websites, laptops and servers, and hard copy documents. As a result, ensuring that your information is secure can be challenging. A simple method of protecting PII is categorizing your data based on its sensitivity and the risk of compromise or damage. Once this information has been graded, you can determine which data should be protected first. Once you know what types of PII, you can establish appropriate storage, deletion, or destruction processes.
PII can be classified into primary, secondary, and pseudo-identifiable. Publicly available information includes your name, address, date of birth, social security number, and ZIP code. This information is not PII under United States legislation but may be regulated under EU privacy laws. Because of this, responsibility for protecting PII may fall on individual data owners, not companies.
Several government regulations require companies to protect personally identifiable information. HIPAA, the General Data Protection Regulation, and the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act apply to PII. This information can significantly harm the individual if it falls into the wrong hands. To avoid a breach, you must protect PII as much as possible.
One area where companies are not protecting PII appropriately is backup and restore. Although major ERP and RDBMS vendors have created practical tools to track PII, these programs can leave sensitive data all over the place – on-premises storage arrays, cloud backup volumes, and even mirror sites. As a result, using backup and restore software to store this data can pose a risk of a data breach, and it may be viewed as negligent compliance.
The first step in ensuring better PII data protection is defining your organization’s PII policies. Define what data you store and where it is stored, and set up a policy to govern PII use. Developing this policy can give you a starting point for implementing tools that help protect PII. This document also explains what types of PII are acceptable for your company and guides the kinds of security controls that can help.
Another critical step is creating a robust security model. PII security requires strong and consistent security measures to prevent breaches. For example, companies should use data-centric encryption to protect inbound PII. In addition, mortgage companies must use restricted access policies to protect loan applications and other sensitive information. PII protection also facilitates an improved customer experience, simplifies communication, and boosts trust and loyalty. It also allows organizations to future-proof their tech investments.
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