Ensuring data confidentiality is crucial for businesses of all sizes. By adequately protecting confidential data, companies not only avert fines and penalties but also build trust with customers, employees, and other relevant stakeholders.
What is confidential data?
Confidential data is data intended to be kept secret since its disclosure can cause damage to the company and its stakeholders.
Examples of confidential data include:
- Personal data: national identification numbers, full names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, credit card numbers, etc.
- Trade secrets: customer and supplier lists, source codes, processes, inventions, etc.
- Other restricted business data: unpublished financial information
What is a data breach?
A data breach occurs when confidential data falls into the wrong hands. Hence, a data breach is a failure to preserve data confidentiality.
Data breaches are extremely dangerous for businesses since they can cause significant financial losses and reputational damage.
What is data confidentiality?
Data confidentiality means that personal data, trade secrets, and other private business data are protected against unauthorized access, disclosure without permission, and theft.
With data breaches becoming more frequent and complex, companies need to implement robust safeguards to ensure that the data that is meant to be secret stays secret.
Taking appropriate measures to ensure data confidentiality protects organizations against the negative consequences of data breaches and helps them stay on top of regulatory compliance.
How can businesses ensure data confidentiality?
Here are some of the 7 effective ways to ensure data confidentiality in your organization.
1. Restrict access to data
Businesses can ensure data confidentiality by controlling who has access to non-public information, documents, files, etc. Access control should always be based on the principle of least privilege, which means that you should only grant access to data on a need-to-know basis. After all, the fewer people have access to the data, the lower the risk of a data breach.
2. Encrypt your data
One of the best ways to protect data confidentiality is encryption. Simply put, encryption is a process that uses an algorithm to turn data into an unreadable format. Only authorised people can decrypt the data and read it. To everyone else, encrypted data is intelligible.
A virtual private network is an effective and convenient tool that leverages encryption technology, and there is a wealth of options available. By simply utilizing a free VPN, you can ensure that your data remains indecipherable to third parties. This helps your business to maintain confidentiality and even enables employees to access your company network remotely without putting sensitive data in jeopardy.
3. Implement a confidentiality policy
A confidentiality policy includes instructions on how employees should handle confidential data to ensure its protection. By providing employees with a clear set of guidelines, you eliminate second-guessing, minimise the risk of data breaches due to human error, and ensure regulatory compliance.
4. Implement a data retention policy
The more data you have, the more difficult it is to protect it. To ensure data confidentiality and GDPR compliance, companies should delete all data that has outlived its original processing purpose.
A data retention policy makes it easier for employees to understand:
- what data they need to store and for how long
- how to safely dispose of data when it’s no longer necessary
5. Develop and implement a cybersecurity program
Nowadays, developing and implementing a cybersecurity program is essential to ensuring the confidentiality of your digital data.
A cybersecurity program provides a comprehensive overview of your company’s electronic data and the risks it faces. Most importantly, it includes all the measures you should take to ensure data confidentiality, availability, and integrity.
Examples of security measures include antivirus programs, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, multi-factor authentication, software updates, and cybersecurity awareness training.
6. Take physical security measures
Protecting your data against cyber threats is not enough. You also have to safeguard it against physical threats, such as theft.
This can be done by using an office alarm system, locking up paper-based confidential documents and files, and installing surveillance cameras.
7. Non-disclosure agreements
Sometimes companies need to share confidential data with their employees, investors, or other stakeholders. For example, employees often need access to customer lists to carry out their jobs.
To ensure that the people who receive access to the data will not disclose it, the company should ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
How can Penneo help you protect confidential data?
Penneo Sign is a digital signing and data collection solution that helps companies across industries reduce manual work and enhance customer experience without compromising security.
How we ensure the confidentiality of your data:
- All stored documents and forms are encrypted using AES256.
- Penneo doesn’t grant its employees access to the data stored in the system.
- All data is stored in data centers within the EU.
- Penneo never shares stored data with any third parties.
- We implemented robust cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, antivirus programs, multi-factor authentication, role-based access control, etc.
- Penneo Sign is compliant with the EU’s GDPR.
Additional security layers:
Penneo allows you to enable end-to-end encryption and multi-factor authentication for sensitive documents and forms. Additionally, you can set up automatic data deletion and control who has access to data.
Penneo KYC is a GDPR-compliant digital solution that helps companies automate their KYC processes and ensure AML compliance.
How we ensure the confidentiality of your data:
- All data is end-to-end encrypted to ensure that only authorized people can access it.
- Data is only stored for as long as necessary to meet legal obligations. Afterward, it is automatically deleted.
- Penneo KYC is compliant with the EU’s GDPR.