Privacy is at the foremost mind of many individuals today. Keeping data secure and confidential is paramount. Be sure to take these steps to protect your data:
- Make sure your customer and employee data is stored in a secure manner. Computer systems should have security measures to encrypt the data, and employees should be very aware of their responsibilities when it comes to credit card information, social security information, or other identifying information.
- Any document that has sensitive information on it should be locked up until you are able to shred it.
- If you discard or donate a computer, be sure to wipe the hard drive or remove it completely.
- Educate your team on network safety. For instance, coffee shop and free wireless services are not secure and customer data should not be used from those locations.
According to the Compilation of State and Federal Privacy Laws, there are over 700 laws dealing with privacy in the following areas:
- Arrest and Conviction Records
- Bank and Financial Records
- Cable Television
- Credit Reporting and Investigations (including ‘Credit Repair,’‘Credit Clinics,’ Check-Cashing, and Credit Cards)
- Computer Crime
- Criminal Justice Information Systems
- Electronic Surveillance (including Wiretapping, Telephone Monitoring, and Video Cameras)
- Employment Records
- Government Information on Individuals
- Identity Theft
- Insurance Records (including use of Genetic Information)
- Library Records
- Mailing Lists (including Video Rentals and ‘Spam’)
- Medical Records (including HIV Testing)
- Miscellaneous (including Non-Electronic Visual Surveillance and Breast-Feeding)
- Polygraphing in Employment (including Honesty Tests)
- Privacy Statutes/State Constitutions (including the Right to Publicity)
- Privileged Communications
- Social Security Numbers
- Student Records
- Tax Records
- Telephone Services (including Telephone Solicitation and Caller ID)
- Testing in Employment (including Urinalysis, Genetic, and Blood Tests)
If your business deals in any of these areas, be sure to know what the laws say and how you need to manage them. For example, healthcare is governed by the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) while student records are governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Here are some sites to help:
BusinessIDTheft.org – Business Identity Theft Protection Guide
National Do Not Call Registry