What Great Data Privacy Looks Like: A Modern Guide

April 9, 2022

Data privacy, also known as information privacy, is a practice within the sphere of data protection that ensures personal data and other sensitive data are properly handled. As businesses continue to enjoy an ever-increasing wealth of information available to them, it is essential for them to ensure the data they have is secure, confidential, and uncorrupted.

For various reasons, most companies now keep various types of personal data on their employees and customers. Their names, Social Security numbers, addresses, and credit card information are some of the personal data companies retain. A business can store other data like health records, intellectual property data, and certain financial data. The goal of data privacy in business is to comply with regulatory requirements and keep the data safe.

Data Privacy vs. Data Security

Businesses often confuse data privacy compliance and data security. Keeping personal and sensitive data from hackers doesn’t mean that your business has good data privacy. Data security protects data from external access by malicious parties as well as from employees with malicious intent. Data security employs tools such as encryption, breach access and recovery control, and data loss prevention to achieve this.

Data privacy is a broader practice that concerns how data is collected, shared, and accessed.

Why Data Privacy Is Important and What It Means for Your Business

If not its most important asset, data is extremely important to a modern business. Companies derive substantial value from collecting and using data from both their customers and employees. Transparency about a company’s policies is key to building trust with clients and employees. Care and safety in the way a business requests consent, and collects and uses data is essential in a world where privacy is perceived as a fundamental human right.

Data privacy protects a company’s revenue and customer trust. When a business is a victim of a data breach, the consequences for its finances and reputation are too enormous to ignore.

Businesses must also comply with regulations that govern data management. Every company must meet the legal benchmarks that regulate how data is collected, stored, and accessed. Non-compliance with these regulations can lead to legal issues and hefty fines.

Data Privacy Best Practices

None of the existing regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and others, precisely state what data privacy means for businesses across industries. Many businesses must determine for themselves what ‘best practice’ means for their industry and often exceed legal requirements outlined by the regulations.

Whatever your industry, however, here are a few best practices you can employ to keep your data secure and confidential:

Know what data you have and keep only what you need.

Take stock of all the computers, mobile devices, storage devices, and other equipment that may retain private or sensitive data. You may need to work across departments to get a full picture of

  • The information that your company collects
  • The sources of sensitive and personal data
  • How your business collects data
  • Where you store your data
  • Who has access to the data

Once you’ve determined the different types of information you have, you can adequately prepare your data privacy strategy. Personally identifying information such as Social Security numbers and credit card information should be dealt given special care.

If you don’t need sensitive data for any lawful reason, there is no need to collect and retain it. Credit card account numbers and their expiration dates are good examples. Keeping data for which you don’t have a business use increases the risk that the information will be used for negative purposes and makes your business a bigger target. Reduce this risk by properly disposing of all the data you no longer need.

Protect all the information you store.

How you protect your data depends on the type of information and how it is stored. Spam filters, firewalls, and other security software are some of the safeguards you can deploy to keep your work devices safe from malware, viruses, phishing attacks, and other online threats.

Aside from data security practices like having and enforcing proper physical and electronic security policies, data privacy also extends to controlling access to the data. Employ the needed security controls to prevent unnecessary and unauthorized access to data by employees.

Zendata conducts automated data checks to help companies fix vulnerabilities in their systems and speed up privacy compliance. Using state-of-the-art detection technology with a proprietary data management platform, privacy officers can analyze running processes in real-time and adjust accordingly to ensure continuous compliance.

Put a strong privacy policy In place.

Having a strong privacy policy to which your employees and customers can refer demonstrates your commitment to data privacy. Employees know what to do with sensitive customer data and can be sure that their data is handled correctly. Customers can see what kinds of data you collect and how you use it. Transparency gains their trust and shows that you value their privacy.

Educate employees by bridging comprehension gap between policy and engineering organizations

Your employees are often those in direct contact with customer data. Therefore, they need to be well-versed in your company’s privacy policy and how to protect information. They should know what data they need to work in their departments, whether it is inline with the company policy and ensure that it doesn’t get into the wrong hands (internally or externally). This is easier said than done, oftentimes there is a comprehension gap between policy organizations that are responsible for managing data risk and engineering/marketing organizations that own the development and acquisition of data.

Having a process in place that bridges the comprehension gap without adding significant friction would go a long way in ensuring customer data and trust is protected.

Zendata platform for example analyzes a company’s privacy policy and creates a mapping of information collected and it’s uses as stated against live processes on company’s website/app to identify any mismatch. Acting as a bridge between policy and engineering organizations


Data privacy is always at risk; threats continue to evolve by the day. Your business must keep up with this reality and adjust to maintain data privacy at all times. Having a strong data policy, protecting your data both physically and electronically, and educating your staff are some practices you can use to ensure that your data is always secure and confidential.