data privacy day

There is no better time than Jan. 28 to turn your attention to the importance of data privacy and all that it entails. During National Data Privacy Day, numerous businesses, nonprofit organizations, government entities, and individuals will come together to spread awareness about safeguarding data, protecting privacy, preventing information theft, and other issues that affect managers, owners, employees, and consumers alike.

What is Data Privacy Day?

Data Privacy Day is an international effort held annually on Jan. 28. The purpose is to create awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information. Many people are unaware about how their personal and professional data is shared and don’t take the necessary precautions to protect it, leaving themselves and/or the organizations they work for vulnerable. Data Privacy Day helps spark a necessary dialogue that educates business professionals and organizations, giving them a sense of empowerment as well as practical knowledge about which best practices should be implemented. This year’s theme is “Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data, and Enabling Trust.”

The Data Privacy Day campaign was initiated in North America in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day observed in Europe, also on Jan. 28. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), Data Privacy Day “commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.”

In 2014, the 113th U.S. Congress adopted a resolution expressing support for the designation of Jan. 28 as National Data Privacy Day, according to the NCSA. In the states, the National Data Privacy Day campaign is spearheaded by the NCSA, a nonprofit entity founded in 2011 that works with the Department of Homeland Security along with a number of private sector sponsors. The NCSA is advised by a distinguished advisory committee, whose members include experienced privacy professionals that help keep the campaign aligned with the most current privacy issues “in a thoughtful and meaningful way,” according to the NCSA. Although Data Privacy Day is perceived as the signature event sponsored by the NCSA, the organization is involved year-round in a comprehensive effort aimed at privacy awareness and education.

Why be involved in Data Privacy Day?

Any person or entity across any industry can be involved in the Data Privacy Day campaign. This includes businesses of all sizes; government organizations; nonprofit organizations; schools/school districts and other educational institutions; and individuals and sole proprietors.

Participating in this international initiative is a way to demonstrate your support and dedication to the idea of empowering businesses and individuals to take this issue seriously and giving them the tools to be part of the solution. Getting involved is as simple as signing up online. Upon signing up, your name, as an individual, business or other professional entity, will be added to the Champions page. You also will receive resources, such as the #PrivacyAware Toolkit, to help you disseminate awareness and information throughout your organization, as well as the larger community that you serve. The toolkit includes templates for a press release and email; sample social media messages; and digital graphics to use online and in other promotional materials. These items can be used among stakeholders to create dialogue about advancing data protection and privacy.

You can also follow the Data Privacy Day Facebook page to stay abreast of any news or updates.

What does Data Privacy Day entail?

During the day of Jan. 28, the NCSA will provide access to the live streaming of a special Data Privacy Day event, titled A New Era in Privacy, which will be hosted by LinkedIn in San Francisco. During the event, privacy leaders with diverse perspectives will discuss how the technology landscape is rapidly changing and provide insight on what opportunities and challenges are likely to crop up in this new era in privacy. Presentations will come from representatives of the NCSA, LinkedIN, the Federal Trade Commission, Verizon, and other industry leaders.

Data Privacy Day is also a good opportunity to discuss security tips and best practices with your staff and/or IT consultants. Find out if there are any new regulations governing the handling or transmitting of data, discuss any current cyber-security threats, put together a plan for dealing with a data breach, and collaborate on any further steps required to better protect private information.

How are you protecting your data?

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) with an expertise in IT can help you achieve the important mission of protecting your business or organization from unauthorized access to important information, identity theft, data loss and other potentially crippling events. They offer a number of technology-related services to help you with systems analysis, email security and archiving, mobile device management, keeping software up to date, web filtering, using firewalls, and other IT solutions.

Implementing these practices can help you encrypt data, mitigate the risks related to electronically transmitted communications, and comply with laws and regulations pertaining to the use of technology. Additionally, IT management companies and consultants can assist you with network monitoring and maintenance, which prevents smaller issues from causing your organization to lose productivity, experience data loss, or suffer financially in a more significant way.