As the world becomes more digital, businesses collect and analyze important personally identifiable information on their employees, clients and customers. This includes email addresses, health information, bank details or phone numbers. This data is vital for business operations like marketing and finance. But, in the wrong hands, it could cause serious harm.
Data protection is a business's measures and processes to protect crucial digital information from loss or compromise. It also includes ensuring you store data properly so it’s available to conduct business or retrieved after a loss. Data protection also works with policies and tools to make it harder to access their data.
Data protection vs data privacy
Data protection and data privacy are often mistaken as the same thing. But data privacy refers to who can access a business's data and governs how you collect, share and use data. It has to do with how a business handles sensitive data in line with regulatory requirements.
What is a data protection policy?
A data protection policy is a policy designed to help with data security. The policy outlines how data you use, monitor and manage data. It serves to protect and secure all your business data.
Why is data protection is important?
It’s critical to have a data protection strategy to ensure the data you collect, and store is safe. Keeping data secure is essential to prevent data corruption, identity theft or loss and damage to your business’s reputation.
If personally identifiable data falls into the wrong hands, it could lead to physical and financial security breaches. They can also use it to commit fraud. This much responsibility can make data protection seem daunting for business owners. Fortunately, laws and regulations are in place to guide you on how best to protect data.
Current data protection laws
Different countries around the world have specific data protection laws to protect their consumers digital information. Out of 194 countries, 137 have written legislations to secure and protect data. However, most of these countries have based their data protection laws on the general data protection regulation (GDPR)
The general data protection regulation
The general data protection regulation (GDPR) is the strictest data privacy regulation in the world. The EU created these regulations in 2018 to protect the data rights of its citizens. Now, many countries across the world have also adopted it.
It places certain obligations on businesses that collect data from or target people in the EU. These obligations also affect businesses outside the EU if they collect information on EU citizens.
As a business owner, you must be mindful of adhering to GDPR. You could face fines running into millions of pounds if you violate any of its security and privacy standards. As most businesses operate out of many countries, it’s important that all business owners are aware of these regulations.
Data protection laws Canada (PIPEDA)
Employers in Canada are responsible for safeguarding the personal information of their employees, clients, and everyone they do business with. Canada has federal and provincial data privacy legislation that regulates the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. The Personal Information Protection Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) applies to collecting, using, and disclosing employee personal information.
It sets out the rules for handling personal information as you conduct commercial activities. Suppose you have data transferred out of the EU or offer them products or services. In that case, you must follow the general data protection regulations.
The EU recognized PIPEDA in 2001. So, Canadian businesses with dealings in the EU working in line with PIPEDA requirements won’t need extra data protection safeguards.
How the data protection act affects businesses.
Under Canada data protection law, employers must disclose what personal information they collect. You must also state what it’ll be used for, even when a customer gives consent for their information to be collected.
Employers must also be responsible in the following ways:
- Be accountable: Employers are responsible for protecting the personal information they collect. This includes any data transferred to a third party for processing. You should also appoint a Data Protection Officer to ensure the organization follows the relevant legislation.
- Identifying purposes: Employers must inform individuals why they are collecting their personal information. You should do this as you collect the data and get it in writing.
- Get consent: Employers must get informed consent from customers for collecting and using their personal data. Individuals should understand what they consent to, why you are collecting the data, and what you will do with it.
- Limit collection and use: Employers should only collect information they need for legitimate purposes meaning it should only be collected by fair and lawful means. You must also not use the information for any other reason than why it was collected. These conditions only change when the law requires it or the individual consents. And you must get fresh consent for this new purpose.
- Provide safeguards:* Employers must protect personal data from theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use, or modification. Organizations should also educate staff on the importance of keeping personal data confidential.
Safeguarding your data with BrightHR
It's vital that you keep collected data safe. Whether it’s employee, client or customer data, employers must take proactive steps to ensure they have the tightest security measures.
Data breaches have serious ramifications. They could lead to identity theft, financial loss or damage to your business reputation. When customers feel their personal information is not safe with you, they might take their business elsewhere.
Safeguarding your business's data is often an extensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. Our employment relations experts are available on weekdays, from 9 am to 5pm, to answer any questions you have on data protection.
If you need help, speak with our highly trained and qualified experts. We’ll ensure your business complies with local data regulations, so you don’t have to worry about costly fines or damaged reputations.