Data Protection Tips for Handling Personal Information Maria GallucciFebruary 20, 2020Business0 Comments The digitalization of almost everything about personal data is a phenomenon. Our digital footprints are like a trail of breadcrumbs and can reveal every communication and transaction we make. Personal information is any data that can be traced back to an individual, and personal data covers a range of digital attributes that eventually creates a “digital me.” This includes the name, date of birth, address, and so on, but it also includes online behaviour, IP address, biometrics, political preferences, and other bits of information. Here are some suggestions for data handling and processing that will show that your company values the fundamentals of the personal data protection act and that you have respect for your customers, employees and your wider community. Minimize Data During Capture During data collection, only ask for information you truly need. For instance, do you really need to know someone’s title? If you really need to do a people profiling for marketing purposes, can you do so in a way that pseudonymised the data? Minimizing the data collected also reduces the amount of data that could potentially be exposed. Minimize Data During Consumption Personal data is driving a lot of online transactions and will persist in doing so as digital identity and its associated attributes become ubiquitous for customers. Some things to consider when enhancing personal data-handling include: When handling data during a transaction, use privacy-improving measures to minimize the data. For instance, if a service requires a person to prove they are older than 21, instead of presenting or requesting the full date of birth of the individual, ask yes/no for “age over.” Control Data Security Whichever measures you use to minimize data you still have to make sure the information you do process is secured. You should implement the following measures to ensure data protection throughout the lifecycle of the data: Encryption For data during transfer and at rest. This includes the correct implementation of HTTPS and database/hard disk encryption of any stored data. Access Control and Authentication Use of secure authentication measures to control access to data — including the use of second-factor authentication and, risk-based authentication. Moreover, application of privileged access based on roles only gives access to information on a need-to-know basis. Do You Need to Store the Data? Consider if there’s a need to store data. With some systems, you have a choice to call out to data when needed, presenting the information on-the-fly with no storage. This avoids replication of data across multiple systems and reduces the chances of breach and exposure. Set Time Limits on Data Many pieces of personal data are fluid; that is, they change over time. Set up time limits for any personal data that you do have to store and handle. This serves as not only a reminder to have a consent refresh, but it likewise acts as a customer touchpoint. As an added benefit, this action guarantees that the data you do handle is relevant and high-quality. It can also be used to eliminate unused data, removing data-exposure risks. Set Data Access Roles Who can access what, when and how are essential rules to set in place. Privileged access should be a part of the fundamentals of the personal data protection act and your organization’s strategy around it. Limiting access to specific persons reduces the points of failure and helps to manage insider threats. Conclusion Data, like oil, is driving new economies. Hence, it is a precious commodity that needs to be secured and protected. Our duty as data processors is to protect it and not misuse it. Hopefully, the tips above will give you some tips on how to mitigate the risk to the data that you process for your business.