- Do you own a business with employees?
- Do you use personal information in sales transactions?
- Do you keep personally identifiable information (PII), on your clients including students?
- Do you share PII with any other business?
- Does any other business have access to your PII database?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions ask yourself this. What are you doing to actively safeguard that information from loss or theft? Remember, it is your responsibility to protect that information from misuse or theft. No business (above) is exempt.
The federal government has issued guidelines for you to follow in order to be compliant with the standards set forth in several privacy laws.The Federal Trade Commission FTC , has oversight of all businesses apart from the banking and savings industries which have separate oversight. They have the authority to investigate breaches and to even prosecute those businesses whose security practices are lacking.
The answer to anyone who questions the need for securing this kind of information is very simple. There are roughly 9 to 10 million identity theft victims in the U.S. each year. The majority of those victims had their information compromised from a database and not from direct theft. When you and your business safeguards the information you keep on others you are protecting them. When someone else does the same they are protecting you. All of us leave a trail of data behind in the course of our lives. Every school we have ever attended, every home we have purchased, loan made, insurance claim, military service, in short everything we have ever done has left a record that needs to be protected from theft or misuse. Each one of us is a link in the chain of protection. When you and your business safeguards the information you keep on others you are protecting them. When someone else does the same they are protecting you.