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January 21 – January 27 marks Data Privacy Week 2024, an annual international effort to raise awareness about the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and educating individuals and organizations on data protection challenges.
As a Data Privacy Week Champion, Abacus Group is proud to stand with the National Cybersecurity Alliance and help spread awareness of this campaign. Data privacy is everyone’s business – especially as the amount of data we create, capture, copy, and consume daily continues to multiply on a global scale. With cyber criminals ready to exploit the smallest vulnerabilities to cause massive data breaches, it’s not surprising that 79% of US adults are concerned about how companies are using their data. Respecting privacy and being open about how sensitive data is treated is now a business necessity.
Most organizations already know of the importance of data privacy and cybersecurity. The challenge is translating this awareness into tangible action that empowers individuals and organizations year-
round. After all, data privacy awareness is for life, not just for a week in January. For alternative investment firms especially, data privacy is not only a compliance checkbox; it’s a strategic imperative. A breach in data privacy could lead to significant financial and reputational damage.
We’ve compiled a list of simple, practical, and actionable steps that investment firms can take to manage data privacy, maintain compliance, and safeguard investments every day:
Employees are the first and last line of defense when it comes to safeguarding data. Therefore, education on privacy awareness is key to empowering your employees to make the best cybersecurity choices. This education needs to extend far beyond the onboarding process - all staff should be given relevant, up-to-date, and continuous education on their obligations to protect personal information and apply data security and privacy behaviors to the work they do daily. Consider also mixing up your training methods to engage and refresh employees. At a minimum, employees should be trained on data privacy and cybersecurity at least once a year. Combining traditional content-based education with tabletop exercises and security testing is a great way to strengthen your organization’s overall cybersecurity posture.
While cybersecurity continues to rise up the C-suite agenda, a more targeted focus on data privacy is also needed for businesses to take positive action. Accountability for data breaches is expanding far beyond IT – not only due to mounting financial losses but also the effects on stakeholder confidence, employee morale, reputational damage, and penalties for non-compliance. Culture change can be driven from the top down through leadership commitment. The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is ideally placed to deliver education to the C-suite and provide regular updates on changing data privacy risks and evolving investor and regulatory demands.
In today’s increasingly connected and complex business environment, it can be challenging to design, operate, and use technologies in ways that are mindful of diverse privacy needs. By adopting the right framework, you can ensure that privacy is baked into the DNA of your organization. A privacy framework helps organizations to better manage risk while facilitating communication about privacy practices with customers, assessors, and regulators. Check out the following frameworks to discover how they can work for you:
Be visible in prioritizing privacy. Employers can take many proactive steps to ensure the foundations are in place to build a strong privacy culture. Start by providing staff with the tools they need to improve their privacy, such as company-branded camera covers or privacy screens for their devices. Tightening security around mobile devices is particularly important in today’s hybrid work environment – so implement security controls such as VPNs and multifactor authentication for secure access. Don’t forget to regularly monitor and test your data systems and instruct employees to report lost or stolen devices as quickly as possible.
Companies don’t need to navigate the challenges of data privacy and security alone. The right IT solutions provider will be an extension of your in-house team, bringing industry expertise, 24/7 support, and a best-of-breed technology stack to create safer, more agile digital environments for all.
To discover more about how Abacus Group can help your organization turn data privacy awareness into data privacy action, get in touch with us today.