Personally Identifiable Information: What You Should Know and Do About Protecting It
Personally identifiable information is everywhere on the Internet. It is placed on websites whenever anyone joins a mailing list, creates a social media or email account, creates an account on any website, or places an order through an online store. Nearly every website has collected personally identifiable information of some kind on its visitors. Even if it is just the email address of someone who registered on a site to leave a comment, the name and the email address associated with it is there. The more complex the transaction is that someone has with a website, the more personally identifiable information they’ve placed online.
Personally identifiable information can comprise one or more of any of the following things:
Phone numbers (including home, mobile, work, and fax)
Credit card numbers
Social Security numbers
The answers to personally selected security questions
Bank account information
Social media user names
Personal photographs labeled with tags
An important thing to remember about personally identifiable information that is stored online is that it is a target for hackers. They want this information to use for their own, illegal purposes, and they will find ways to get it if your online security has even the tiniest of flaws in it. Today’s hackers are that knowledgeable and sophisticated. They create new ways to get to this information just as swiftly as companies come up with new ways to protect it. Never forget this.
Keeping Personally Identifiable Information Secure
It is the job of any company that collects personally identifiable information on customers, clients, and/or website visitors and stores it online to keep it secure. This is true whether the data is stored on a company server or with a third-party company in the cloud. The job of keeping personally identifiable information secure means keeping on top of the most current security threats and adjusting your stored data’s security settings as necessary. With the invention of new security threats being relatively commonplace these days, managing to make sure personally identifiable information is secure can be a full-time job for one person, or, more likely, a team of security specialists at most companies.
Keeping this data secure can cost a company a lot of money, and use a significant amount of company resources. While some companies may prefer to keep this job in-house despite the expense and resources, it still pays to get an outside company that specializes in personal data security to come in and provide training on the best way to manage current security threats and learn about and deal with new ones as they arise. A better solution is to hand over the duties of keeping personal data secure to a security management company.
Outsourcing this task to a third party ultimately saves a company time and resources, and also ensures the data will always be protected to the highest possible security standards in the industry. More and more companies and non-profit organizations are doing just this, as they become aware of the precious and valuable nature of the personally identifiable information they collect and store, and the importance of protecting it. Protecting it can make the difference between staying in business and going out of business, and sometimes even getting into legal trouble over breaches of this data. I.S. Partners, LLC can help your company make sure its personally identifiable data stays secure.
Personally Identifiable Information Breaches
There have been many high profile breaches of personally identifiable information in recent years. Some of these have been at large chain stores, others have been at political and non-profit organizations, and one extremely large one was in the Office of Personnel Management of the U.S. federal government itself. In each of these cases, there has been an enormous amount of bad publicity for the organizations involved. A lack of trust from the public in continuing to give these organizations their personally identifiable information usually also follows these highly publicized data breaches.
Sometimes, legal hearings are held to determine if the organization was doing all it knew it could do to protect that information (this has usually occurred when politicians and their campaign organizations or office personnel have had personal information data breaches). When the federal government had a data breach of personally identifiable information, it had to offer millions of people across the country one to three years of free credit monitoring and a million dollars each of identity theft protection insurance.
It is important to protect personally identifiable information your company collects and keeps online, whether it is on your company’s own server or in the cloud. I.S. Partners, LLC is a professional auditing organization that can assist your company in making sure you are taking every possible measure to make sure the personally identifiable information you collect on your customers and clients is as protected as possible in the current online environment. I.S. Partners, LLC will also make sure your company is in a position to stay on top of new and emerging security threats from around the world, so your collected personally identifiable information is safe and secure as online environments change.
Keeping this data secure is important to the continuing operation and legal protection of your company. Make sure yours is protected by placing I.S. Partners, LLC on your company’s team. Give us a call at 215-675-1400 or request a quote for more information!