Data Privacy Day, January 28th is a day that highlights what we can do in our personal and professional lives to ensure we are aware of the risks and doing our best to keep our data safe. 

We all feel an increased exposure of our personal data.  In fact, 79% of adults have concerns about how companies are using their information, according to a Pew Research Center study.   But if we are serious about safeguarding ourselves and our customers there are some things we can learn about the data we create, how it is collected and ultimately used.  

Here are a few simple but critical tips to consider when managing your personal data. 
  1. Our personal information is a currency.  We need to value and protect our personal information like money because it has a true value in the market.  This data is valuable to companies as well as bad actors who are buying and selling our information on the dark web for profit.  Our advice is to consider the benefits vs consequences of all the information you are providing online.  
  2. Passwords, Passwords, Passwords… have you ever seen one of these lists without the reference to passwords?  NO, and that is because we still have poor password habits.  Make your passwords long and complex.  Do not use the same password for multiple accounts and PLEASE do not use a post-it note with passwords stuck to your computer!  Consider using a password vault app.  
  3. 2-Factor Authentication.  Great passwords are a start but 2-factor authentication for key accounts should also be used.  Turn on these features for all of your financial accounts and any other account where it is available. 
  4. Apps and Privacy Settings!  Apps are more intrusive than you think!  Many ask for your location, contact information,  and access many other things before you can even use them.  We suggest you manage your privacy settings to adjust them to your comfort level, NOT what they suggest or want.  Every app you use has different privacy settings and features but the NCSA’ Manag Your Privacy Settings Page is very helpful in getting you started: 
  5. Think before you CLICK!  One-click can do so much damage to your privacy, customer data or create opportunities for Breach.  If you are at home or at work, make sure you only click on links you are familiar with.  If you are unsure, ask your IT team or leave it alone. 

BONUS:  What you share on social media may last forever.  Think about what you are posting, who will see it, and how it could be used. 

Data Privacy Day, January 28th gives us an opportunity to consider how to view our data and how we use it.  More importantly, it gives us a chance to look at how we let others use it.  

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