The data privacy landscape is always changing and evolving, and the past year was no exception.

Besides the “normal” changes that businesses are used to when it comes to privacy regulations, businesses also had to adapt to the “new normal” due to the pandemic that brought new concerns about data privacy and protection as everyone switched to remote work.

With the increased complexity of privacy regulations increases, organizations also have to step up their game when it comes to personal data management.

Here are 5 best practices you should implement in order to improve data privacy.

Practice minimal data collection

When it comes to collecting data, it’s a good rule of thumb to only collect the information that you absolutely need. The less data you collect, the less you’ll have to worry about privacy.

Instead of collecting personal data, consider some alternative approaches. Namely, try to only verify and not store data whenever that’s possible. This system relies on third-party sources to check the accuracy of the user’s input, verifying that they really are who they’re claiming to be.

A good example of this is the Know Your Customer (KYC) system that helps you check customers’ identities without storing their data.

For the data you do end up collecting, you should apply the principle of minimal disclosure and only certain pieces of information necessary with third parties.

Make policies easily achievable

In order to ensure data privacy, you need to have clear privacy and security policies. However, these policies are of no use if they exist only on paper.

You also need to make sure that your policies are enforced, and the best way to accomplish that is by making them achievable and easy to follow.

Don’t forget that your employees are human beings who are prone to mistakes, so try to remove all obstacles and automate as much as possible.

For example, if your employees send and receive a lot of emails on a daily basis, it might be difficult for them to keep different email retention policies in mind depending on which type of data they contain. This leaves room for mistakes that can compromise data privacy and lead to compliance violations.

To avoid these risks, you can use on-premise email archiving solutions that allow you to automate retention and easily ensure compliance with data privacy regulations.

Investing in automation solutions is a great way to eliminate human errors, ensure data privacy and security, streamline compliance, and avoid hefty legal fines

Invest in data security

Data privacy is all about responsible data handling and deciding which personal data you’ll collect, how long you’ll keep it, and who you will share it with.

On the other hand, data security focuses on protecting data from malicious threats, such as cybersecurity attacks, malware, hacking attacks, and even accidental data breaches.

Without data security, you can’t ensure data privacy.

Data security starts with identifying the types of your data, locating it, and classifying it correctly. You can then proceed to implement appropriate measures to protect the data according to its level of sensitivity. These measures include access control, strong password management, encryption, web app security, and others.

Make sure your privacy team is aligned with your security team

The key to making both data privacy and data security more effective is to make sure that the teams are aligned and working together.

While these teams have different viewpoints, it’s essential to break down data silos and ensure that the information is shared transparently between them.

These different perspectives are necessary for data breach preparation and making sure that you can respond quickly and efficiently in times of crisis.

With new privacy regulations constantly appearing and the old ones continuously changing, it’s more important than ever to have everyone on board and work together to create the best possible strategy not only for responding to data breaches but for preventing them too.

Create a culture of privacy

Data privacy and data security teams are not the only ones who should be concerned about data privacy issues. You should educate all of your employees about these threats and conduct regular training to teach them how to avoid them.

However, it’s more than just education — you should work on creating a culture of privacy within your company.

Having a developed culture of privacy will help your employees develop a deeper understanding of why data privacy is so important and motivate them to be more respectful when it comes to managing personal data.

Over to you

Data privacy is becoming an increasingly important issue for every modern business as everything turns digital.

It is essential to understand that although it might seem like extra work, ensuring data privacy will help you remain compliant with data privacy regulations, have a better relationship with your customers, and avoid any issues that may cause financial, legal, or reputational damage.