Data Privacy Concerns in a Business and Digital Learning Space
Until recently, individuals and businesses held their data in analog format, and information was processed and shared with physical documents. While ongoing digital transformations are changing both the pace and way that business is conducted, it also forces companies to consider an important aspect – data privacy.
With an increased number of cyberattacks and security breaches, as well as smaller scale adverse data collection and monetization, data security is becoming a growing consideration and challenge for every organization, especially those with sensitive information systems including healthcare, credit card processing, and digital learning and virtual meeting platforms.
The Pandemic Impact
With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, many businesses and workers shifted to a remote working model. Data that was once held on one secure office network suddenly had to be accessible by dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of workers each within their own, unsecured data networks.
Now, during the era of the COVID recovery, the focus has changed to hiring, onboarding, and training new employees. Once again, privacy policies are at the forefront and personal and business data is being transferred across multiple platforms. Many of these platforms are new to the business world and certainly new to individual businesses. Pre-2020, how many businesses were regularly hosting Zoom meetings, let alone using them to hire new employees?
Nearly every industry and field was impacted by the shift from in-person to digital and virtual reality learning. Unfortunately, most businesses only have a reactive plan in place when it comes to privacy. Oftentimes, it’s tacked on to general IT security roadmaps or disaster recovery plans and filed in a shared folder to hopefully never be unearthed. But with data privacy impacting nearly every part of a business, it cannot be treated as an afterthought.
How to Protect Sensitive Employee and Business Information
- Develop Formal Policies and Procedures: Develop or update company privacy policies to ensure they’re up-to-date with modern technology and equipment standards. Define the type of sensitive information that will be protected as well as how it will be done. Include a policy that employee data, especially personally identifiable information, will only be used for legitimate business purposes and clearly indicate consequences for unauthorized use of employee or business data including viewing, copying, or transmitting data.
- Access Control: The primary reason for data privacy breaches is poorly managed access and processes within an organization. Strong and effective data architecture, security, and data access policies are needed especially in distributed working environments to ensure access is only given to those entirely responsible for the data. Remote work setups are complex and control over accessibility is something easy to overlook given all of the change and workplace shifts over the last year.
- Provide Training: Policies and procedures are only useful if they are acted upon in a proactive fashion. Train management and employees on the company’s data security policies. Those with access to sensitive and personal information should be specifically trained on how to prevent unauthorized access, how to respond if a breach occurs, and how to properly dispose of sensitive data should the need arise.
As data privacy continues to be a top business priority, businesses should implement secure policies, solutions, and mechanisms as part of a comprehensive data security strategy. The security strategy should include regular training on digital technology and cyber security. If you’re implementing virtual meeting platforms, AR/VR technology, or looking for an in-depth consultative view of your current privacy practices and policies, reach out to the team at Concannon Business Consulting to learn more.