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Understanding PII: Safeguarding Confidential Data

09 March, 2023

Personal identifiable information (PII) has become a prevalent topic in the context of data breaches. It refers to any information that can be used to identify an individual. PII is considered confidential and requires special treatment to ensure its security. Companies invest in cutting-edge data protection solutions to safeguard this sensitive information. Hackers specifically target PII when infiltrating a company’s database or network, as it enables them to carry out malicious activities, such as identity theft, more easily.

Defining PII: What Information is Included?

In the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) identifies an individual’s name, biometrics, and social security number as primary examples of personal identifiable information. The NIST list also encompasses details like home address, email address, passport number, driver’s license, vehicle plate number, date of birth, and more. Some of these details are known as pseudo-identifiers or quasi-identifiers. Individually, they may not directly identify a person, such as a birthdate that is shared by many individuals. However, when combined with other information on the list, they can reveal a person’s identity. It’s important to note that while pseudo-identifiers may not be considered PII in the US, they are categorized as such in Europe and some other countries.

Protecting Personal Identifiable Information: Best Practices

Protecting PII is a shared responsibility between the organization that collects and stores the information and the individuals who provide it. In the event of a data breach, both parties are accountable for any resulting damage or loss. However, it is widely expected that companies take necessary measures to safeguard clients’ information and ensure its security. As a business owner, it is in the best interest of all parties involved to implement measures that protect the PII in your database.

One effective approach is to adopt a reputable Data Privacy Framework, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR), or ISO 27000. Alternatively, you can customize a data protection framework that aligns with your specific data security needs and organizational structure.

Creating Your Data Privacy Framework: Partnering with a Managed Services Provider

Developing a robust data privacy system requires a dedicated IT team to establish and manage it effectively. Engaging a reputable managed services provider can help create a tailored solution to protect your data from unauthorized access. We can assist you in building a framework that aligns with your company’s requirements and safeguards sensitive data, ranging from sales transactions to personal information. By closely analyzing your company’s structure, we will design a system that addresses your unique needs and objectives.

If you are ready to enhance your data security and fortify your defenses against hackers, contact us today, and we will promptly provide our expertise and assistance.

09 March, 2023