No matter where you go online, every company tries to get its hands on your personal data. Facebook, Google, Netflix, your bank, university, pharmacy, real estate agency… everybody. 2023 is the year to regain control of your private data, so let’s explore three ways how you can do it.
The New Commodity
By now, we’re all too familiar with FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) doing everything possible to get its grubby little hands on our precious data. Often, these companies treat their users like endless gold mines, extracting every last drop of potentially profitable information.
But these aren’t the only entities gathering, collecting, and storing as much as they can on you. Sometimes, the companies you trust the most end up leaking your data or allowing access to it to unauthorized individuals.
Is Your Data Safe?
In fact, some of the largest data breaches in history came from “trusted” companies like Equifax, First American Financial Corporation, and even the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Out of everyone, you’d think an agency of the United States Federal Government could protect your PII.
Some may think that data breaches, unauthorized access, insufficient security measures, etc., are issues faced by the service providers, not the clients. But as we can see above, these expectations aren’t always met. So, is there anything you, the user, can do to take control of your data?
Does this company prioritize compliance when collecting and storing data? Does it adhere to only one or two regulations like the GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, GLBA, etc. (you’d hope all of them)? Does it implement automized tools to discover potentially at-risk data and enforce rules to have such data removed or stored correctly?
It would help to ask yourself these questions about any company storing your PII. No matter their location in the world, businesses are obliged to follow, maintain, and stay up-to-date with every single regulation pertaining to their users. Therefore, always check for data regulation certifications before trusting any corporation with your private information.
Remember, many of these regulations are updated and changed periodically. Any conscientious business should have already implemented the 2023 version of these regulations long before the year started.
#2: Secure storage method
Just because a company barely meets the requirements of the GDPR doesn’t mean they’ve stopped looking for other shortcuts or ways to save money when storing user data. That’s why you should always investigate the type of data storage security they provide.
In 2023, “cloud storage” is by far the most significant trend in the protection of sensitive information. By now, nobody should be storing documents about your latest visit to the hospital in an old-school filing cabinet, locked by nothing more than a physical key.
Although there are other options, cloud storage is undoubtedly taking the lead as the safest and most modern way of storing user data. Not only do the cloud servers provide file encryption, but the servers themselves are typically located in warehouses with severely limited access.
#3: Regular In-House Audits
Nothing says “we care about the safety of our clients’ data privacy” more than regular in-house audits. This step shows genuine initiative because it requires companies to go well out of their way to inspect and verify their own data storage techniques and ensure that every single file is in the right place.
Of course, companies storing user data are also incentivized to perform regular in-house audits because they expect to be audited by third-party auditors (typically by whichever government agency is relevant to their/your region). But all of this incentivization only works in your favor. More audits equal better data security for you.
What Are You Waiting For?
In 2023, recognizing corporations that truly put the safety of their users’ data first has never been more important. But, unfortunately, we’ve seen far too many data breaches and mismanaged PII scandals over the years to leave our data privacy up to the companies that often stand to EARN MORE by loosening the reigns a little.
Take back control over your personal data this year by performing your own “audit” of the businesses you trust your information to. Do they adhere to data safety regulations, pay extra for exclusively secure data storage platforms, and even regularly inspect their file storages to keep you safe? If they want your business, well, they certainly better. So let 2023 be the year you take your personal data back into your own hands!
Want to Run a Business that Users Can Actually Trust? PII Tools Has Your 2023 Covered!