Privacy Protection and Your Small Business
Privacy protection plays a crucial role in your small business. It affects how you collect and use all types of sensitive information. Besides safeguarding your own financial data, you also have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect your customers’ and employees’ information. Here, we describe privacy protection and the implications it has on your business.
What Is Private Information?
It’s important to understand which parts of the information that your business collects and processes are considered private. Private information can contain both financial and personal data. For example, credit card and bank account data is considered private financial information. As a result, you must keep this information secure from unauthorized access.
Personal data, often referred to as personally identifiable information (PII), identifies a specific individual. PII can be classified into two ways: non-sensitive and sensitive. Non-sensitive PII is publicly available data, such as names and addresses. Sensitive PII includes the following:
- Social security numbers
- Passport numbers
- Patient identification
Well run businesses employ strong security protocols to ensure financial and personal information is protected at all times.
Privacy Protection and the Law
The legal impact of privacy protection is especially relevant to you as a small business owner. A handful of privacy regulations are legislated at the state and local level, while others are industry specific. In addition, there are several broad reaching federal privacy laws that may apply to you including:
- The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA)
These laws have specific requirements for the storage, control, access and disposal of private information. Since non-compliance carries stiff fines and penalties, it is important to familiarize yourself with the specifics of each regulation.
Create a Privacy Protection Plan
Because protecting customer and employee privacy carries so much weight, it is critical to create a privacy protection plan. The process you use to create a plan should include the following steps:
- Know what information you have and where it is located
- Identify risks
- Understand state and federal privacy laws
- Establish physical security measures
- Implement a privacy training program for your staff
Partnering with a records and information management company ensures your privacy protection strategy is carried out with best practices. A trusted provider can offer a combined document storage, paper shredding and offsite data protection solution to protect your business data and customer and employee information throughout the required retention life cycle.
As you can see, privacy protection has a big impact on your business. You can’t afford to get it wrong. Be sure to give it the time and attention it deserves.
Richards & Richards offers records and information management services for businesses throughout Nashville. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.