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Understanding Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and Safeguarding Strategies

06 February, 2023

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) has become a significant concern in today’s landscape of data breaches. It refers to any information that can be used to identify an individual. As such, PII is considered confidential and should be treated as such. To ensure the security of these details, companies invest in cutting-edge data protection solutions. Hackers often target PII when infiltrating a company’s database or network, as access to this private information enables them to carry out malicious activities like identity theft more easily.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) identifies an individual’s name, biometrics, and social security number as primary PII in the United States. Additionally, the NIST list includes home addresses, email addresses, passport numbers, driver’s license information, vehicle plate numbers, dates of birth, and more. Some of these data points, known as pseudo-identifiers or quasi-identifiers, may not individually identify a person. For instance, birthdates are shared by millions of people. However, when combined with other information from the list, they can reveal the individual’s identity. While pseudo-identifiers are not considered PII on their own in the US, they are treated as such in Europe and a few other countries.

Protecting Personal Identifiable Information requires efforts from both the organization that collects and stores it, as well as the individuals who provide the information. In the event of a data breach, companies may not bear sole liability for any resulting damage or loss. Nevertheless, it is widely expected by the public that companies should safeguard clients’ information. As a business owner, it is in the best interest of all parties involved to take necessary steps to protect the PII in your database.

One effective approach is implementing a proven Data Privacy Framework. Numerous frameworks are readily available, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR), and ISO 27000. We recommend adopting a customized data protection framework tailored to your specific data security needs and aligned with your company’s organizational structure.

Establishing a robust data privacy framework necessitates a dedicated IT team to develop and manage it. A reputable managed services provider can assist in creating a comprehensive solution to safeguard your data from unauthorized access. We can help design a framework that aligns with your company’s structure and protects sensitive information, including sales transactions and personal data. By closely examining your organization’s requirements and goals, we will create a system that addresses all your specific needs.

If you are ready to take the necessary steps to secure your data and enhance protection against hackers, please reach out to us. We are prepared to offer immediate assistance in securing your valuable information.

06 February, 2023