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From social media to online shopping, our lives and the digital world become more and more intertwined every day. And while the digital world has afforded us a whole new level of convenience and access to information, it is imperative that consumers remember the best practices for protecting their personal data and ensuring it is being used the right way.
It’s estimated that 1.7 MB of data is generated by every individual worldwide every second. This includes data about an individual’s activities, behaviors, and interests. Data comes in many forms. There is personal data, like social security and driver’s license numbers, and there is physical data, like health data. With all this digital activity and data flying around, it is easy for individuals to feel like they have lost control of their data.
Consumers are rightly becoming increasingly concerned with data privacy, with 86% of individuals saying that they care about their data privacy. That said, even the savviest digital users can have trouble managing their data.
Here are a few steps to better manage your personal information and make informed decisions around your data and how it is being used:
Many accounts ask for access to personal information, such as your geographic location, contacts list, and photo album, before you even use their services. This personal information has tremendous value to businesses and allows some to even offer you their services at little to no cost.
Make informed decisions about whether or not to share your data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and wary of apps or services that require access to information that is not required or relevant for the services they are offering. Delete unused apps on your internet-connected devices and keep all apps secure by performing updates.
When it comes to cybersecurity, you are your first line of defense. Make sure you participate in any cybersecurity training that your firm offers as it can also include useful tips for consumer privacy. Here at Abacus, we partner with KnowBe4 to provide a comprehensive annual cybersecurity education program for our abacusFlex clients consisting of cybersecurity training, quarterly phishing tests and compliance reporting via our abacusPortal. Our training program is just as important for your personal data privacy as it is for protecting your business. Over the past two years, with an increase in remote work, this is even more relevant than ever.
Once you have decided to use an app or set up a new account, check the privacy and security settings on web services and apps and set them to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser you use will have different features to limit how and with whom you share information. That said, with so many different settings to manage it can be very challenging to stay on top. However, here are a few important ones to focus on first:
You can find more information for free through great resources like the National Cybersecurity Alliance’s Manage Your Privacy Settings page.
Data privacy and data security go hand in hand. And fortunately, there are numerous easy-to-implement steps that everyday individuals can take to shore up their data and general cybersecurity:
75% of individuals said it’s too hard for them to understand what’s going on and how their information is being used. However, by keeping these few quick tips in mind, individuals can keep much better tabs on their data and create a safer digital environment for themselves to live in.