Data Privacy: Four Ways to Raise Employee Awareness

employee awareness of data privacyWhat’s in your calendar for Friday, 28th January? Perhaps you’re a literary buff and will celebrate the 208th anniversary of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” Maybe you’re a child of the 80s and mark this as the day the charity single “We Are the World” was recorded.

Those are cheers-worthy happenings indeed, but did you know that every January 28 is also Data Privacy Day?

OK, data privacy might not be in your calendar, but it is a huge and growing concern for businesses and individuals. Data Privacy Day is an opportunity to raise employees’ awareness of this important issue and communicate with your customers about how you protect data and respect privacy rights.

What does data privacy really mean?

Before we launch into some tips for raising awareness about data privacy, let’s define what we mean by this term. “Data privacy” is simply protecting people’s information from those who should not have it. It also refers to giving people a say in how their data is used and who can access it. If you thought it was “just an IT thing,” think again.

In recent years, the misuse of the personal data of millions of people around the world has turned privacy into a human rights issue. Personal data is now one of the most sought-after commodities on Earth. Organizations have access to more personal information than ever before and as a result, people are demanding stronger data protection. Informed consumers are less willing to do business with organizations that do not have adequate privacy protections in place.

This groundswell of public interest in data privacy – and regulation such as GDPR – mean organizations must be more accountable and transparent in how they handle personal data. It’s a matter of trust. To achieve this, it’s necessary make data protection everyone’s responsibility. So, let’s take a look at four simple ways that you can push privacy awareness with your employees.

1. Profile your privacy experts

Most employees are not IT, security, or privacy experts, but someone in your organization is (or should be)! Hold a virtual coffee corner with the person or team in your business that is responsible for data privacy and information security. Use this opportunity to make sure your workers know to whom to report privacy concerns and what process to use.

Encourage your experts to tell stories about data breaches instead of describing regulations or compliance programs. Use high profile case studies reported in the media or – if appropriate – share anonymized examples from your own business.

2. Promote a culture of privacy

Nothing instils the concept that data privacy belongs to everyone like getting your senior leaders involved. Achieve executive buy-in by linking data privacy with customer-centric organizational values. Give leaders short, focused updates and include examples from your organization or other businesses in your sector. Bolster the “tone from the top” with additional awareness raising campaigns to encourage openness and conversation about data privacy.

3. Offer tips for employees to manage their individual privacy

Make data privacy relevant and relatable for your employees by sharing advice that they can use to better manage their own personal data. If your workers are more aware of privacy as it relates to them, they will be more aware of how it relates to customers and the workplace.

Put together some tips for staying safe online and managing privacy settings on common devices and online services. The good folk at the National Cybersecurity Network have some great resources that you can draw on to create useful advice for your employees.

4. Prompt your workers to complete data privacy training

Employees are the first line of defense in keeping data safe. It is recommended that you include data privacy training in your onboarding program for new employees and in your annual refresher training plan. Human error is involved in the vast majority of data breach incidents, so it pays to invest in training in this critical area.

Even if you feel that workers have had their fill of information security training, it’s a good idea to review your training content and make sure it reflects the changing nature of work. Your training should cover privacy awareness advice for working from home and remotely in public spaces.

How can Litmos help with data privacy?

The Litmos Training Content library has many of your data privacy needs covered. In fact, the Information Security and Data Privacy collection has 50+ courses designed to help you raise privacy awareness, safeguard your systems, and reduce human error. Whether you’re looking for short-burst, animated, refresher training in topics such as Cybersecurity and Ransomware, or expert-backed training for specific regulations (such as GDPRUK GDPRCalifornia Consumer Privacy Act, or HIPAA), you’ll find what you need to deliver quality security courses.

Please honor this annual Data Privacy Day by taking the time to shine a light on privacy in your organization. It will go a long way in ensuring your workforce understands their role in protecting personal data and avoiding data breaches at work.