You may have heard Clive Humby’s phrase "data is the new oil." It is so true in today’s context when we see how data is shaping the new world. Now, businesses like to capture more incalculable personal information of their clients than ever before. Surprisingly, they dig and dredge to gather our information, not to make our lives better. But to keep us on their list to sell things. Tech giants earn billions in record earnings, and we waste our billions of hours.
Customer’s personal experiences, companies marketing messages, and science-driven data depend on the amount of information you provide. Businesses wait with bated breath to gather clients’ information, and so lawyers on the other side are eager to protect the privacy and ensure the safety of individuals’ data.
Companies usually face great challenges to comply with data privacy regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These data protection regulations require companies to take the necessary steps to protect their clients' sensitive personal data.
This article will explore the importance of data privacy and its challenges.
What is Data Privacy?
“Data privacy” and “data protection” are often used interchangeably by people, but there is a difference between the two terms. Data privacy means someone who has access to data, while data protection defines a set of tools and policies employed to limit the access to the data. These regulations ensure that clients’ privacy requests are executed by companies and going forward they are legally bound to take strict measures to protect private users’ data.
Data privacy is often applied to handling a user’s sensitive information, typically to personal health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII). This information encompasses patients’ health records, social security numbers, and clients’ financial data, including bank account details and debit/credit card numbers.
For a business, data privacy means something beyond the PII of employees and clients. It may include important information or a company's trade secret that helps run its operations. For example, research and development data, the company’s financial information, and proprietary information. By protecting data, businesses can prevent data leaks, and meet the regulatory requirements.
Why Data Privacy is Important?
A company must keep its data privacy and sensitive information safe. For instance, information like patients’ medical records, financial data, and other user personal data if gets into the wrong hands may have serious implications both for the business and the user. Having no access control over a user’s personal information can put him at risk of identity theft and fraud.
A data breach may have serious implications depending upon the level of breach. A breach can jeopardize the entire country's security at the state level, while a data leak within your company means your trade secrets are accessible to your competitors. Hence, here comes the use of data protection laws into effect. As our lives are largely dependent on online activities, we should realize the growing threat of cybersecurity is a great concern for us.
The new trend of data breaches continues to rise upward and therefore we’d like to share a few case studies to prevent you from making the same mistakes that result in data breaches. You’ll notice in our case studies how giant techs like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have fallen prey to cyber-attackers.
1. LinkedIn Data Breach 2021
LinkedIn, a professional networking website with data of 700 million users was put on sale on a Dark Web forum after an attacker hacked the company’s website. This data theft impacted almost 92% of the clients, as the hacker “God User” claimed that they were selling the database of LinkedIn users. The hacker went a step ahead and published a sample containing one million users’ records (name, email address, phone number, etc) just to confirm his legitimacy.
2. Facebook Data Breach 2019
Two datasets from Facebook apps were revealed to the public internet in April 2019. This included the information of more than 530 million Facebook users containing their Facebook IDs, phone numbers, and other personal information.
The data was posted on the dark web forum for free in 2021, just two years of its first breach. This makes Facebook one of the most recent and largest companies to be hacked in 2021.
3. Twitter Data Breach 2018
A social media company, Twitter notified its customers that passwords in an internal log are accessible to the external network.
The company told its 330 million users to change their passwords immediately. However, Twitter said it had fixed the glitch and that there was no sign of data theft.
What Challenges Businesses May Face?
1. Lack of Communication
Companies often lack communication with their users about the reasons for collecting personal information and how they will process the data.
2. Cyber Crime Threats
Cyber-attackers target organizations and private users who collect and store the data of the customers. Additionally, as more businesses are increasingly shifting over the Internet, cyber-attacks are increasing.
3. Data Attackers
Data attackers are always in the process of devising innovative techniques to cause breaches that results in massive violations of clients’ privacy if their sensitive information is leaked.
4. Inside threats
Unauthorized employees of the companies may try to access users’ data with malafide intentions and ulterior motives if it is not protected properly.
Steps for Protecting Data Privacy?
1. Data Encryption
The best way of protecting your data from attackers is to encrypt it. Encryption converts data into encoded information. You can decode the encoded information by using a decryption key. Data Encryption protects data from unauthorized modification and doesn’t allow access by untrustworthy sources.
2. Protect Passwords
You can create strong passwords and don’t repeat the same password for other websites and devices. This is one of the most recommended ways to protect yourself from digital attacks. Use a password manager to keep a record of all your passwords and therefore you don’t have to worry about memorizing your passwords.
3. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-layer authentication for verification should be introduced. Employing this security process would ask you to prove your identity twice, before accessing your account. This feature adds an extra layer of security, which makes it harder for cyber-attackers to access your online accounts.
4. Get Cyber Security Insurance
Protect your business by purchasing cyber security insurance. A cyber-attack can cause your business a big amount than just fixing databases, tightening security, or replacing computers. Cyber insurance can help recover the cost; a business may have suffered from an attack. While purchasing the insurance policy make sure to know what is included in your policy.
5. Software Updates
To protect your devices from cyber-attacks, software companies release automatic updates to install on your devices, Cyber experts advise not to put off software updates, especially on your computers. In case you don’t update your old software, it may contain security flaws and makes your data more vulnerable to a privacy breach.
There are plenty of data privacy issues new businesses are facing, with an evolving technological landscape. Companies are ready to grab your personal information is plenty in exchange for a service, and for businesses to develop a unique and ever-lasting relationship with their customers. Nonetheless, when data is gathered in haste, with weak permissions, or poorly is easy to access causes data privacy issues, leading to multi-million dollars lawsuits.