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Personal Identifiable Information(PII) is any data that can be used to directly identify an individual. Most people keep their PII in their laptops or on a USB memory stick. PII includes name, address, telephone number, email addresses, social security number, national insurance number, credit card number, and government identification card. This information is useful when applying for jobs, making payments, and other social services. Therefore, the security of this information is paramount when sharing. 

One of the ways of sharing this information between people is by sending the information in an attachment using email. Email is prone to cyber-attacks and thus companies are at risk when sharing their confidential information using plain text email as communication.

Personal identifiable information (PII) that is misused, mishandled, or inadequately protected can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, and other problems that can cost an individual or a company dearly. Each time information is being shared, your clients are concerned about their privacy and thus it is not enough to just put terms of privacy in words. The client need tangible actions.

Study says

Some companies and customers have lost a lot of money in cases of hacking. In other cases, they have been held as ransom and in worst situations, the hackers released confidential information to the public. This calls for concern among customers especially when it involves identity theft. However, people have different opinions on identity theft; 44% of American consumers are more concerned about a combination of both identity theft and banking fraud, 22% are more worried for their security and that of their loved ones and 18% were more concerned about being victims of a terrorist attack. 

In order to secure your PII, an individual needs to be vigilant when sharing. With the growth in access to social media, identity thieves have found an opportunity to exploit PII. It is therefore recommended that you be conscious when sharing your PII, since a combination of this information (name, address and telephone number) could guide the attackers to your place. 

Passwords

Passwords should not be shared with anyone, no matter the situation, same to security questions used when retrieving lost or forgotten passwords. Customers should also avoid saving passwords in devices that they are using to log in to their accounts like email. Furthermore, when disposing of documents that contain PII one needs to shred them beyond recognition or make them unreadable.

Ecommerce

Customers should also be careful when purchasing goods online, especially where they are required to send their location address for their goods to be delivered. Before sending your PII you should ensure that you are purchasing from the right company because fraudsters have created apps that resemble to those of companies. The most important thing is to encrypt your PII for the intended company to decrypt.

Companies should implement practices that secure PII. They should focus on password security. Information about clients should be handled with care. They should use strong passwords to reduce their vulnerability to attacks. 

Customers should as much as possible avoid sharing their banking information with anyone, especially through phone calls or emails. In the event of a problem with one’s banking details, they are advised to appear personally at their banks. Many hackers have managed to withdraw money from people’s accounts by posing as a bank employee calling to resolve some issues with one’s account. You should also use strong passwords and avoid passwords that one can easily guess for example your date of birth or the current year. You should also ONLY log in to your online bank account using a secure network.

Data Protection

Companies that haven’t secured customer’s PII data, have experienced tremendous losses. Some have been sued by their customers. In some instances, customer’s PII were hacked where the companies did not exercise enough precautions when asking for their PII details. In addition to paying compensation to the customers, they have lost customers and consequently ended up closing down or making significant losses. This also creates a bad reputation for the company and loss of partners and investors.

Invest in cybersecurity

A company that invests more in the security of their customer’s PII, has a competitive advantage over their counterparts.  It attracts more customers, as well as retaining the already existing customers which in turn leads to an increase in revenue. it is therefore wise to invest in effective privacy practices and policies. Companies should also be swift to respond to security threats on their PII. They should employ competent employees to ensure that PII is protected.

Lastly, every individual and every company should ensure PII security is their topmost priority. They should avoid disclosing most information about themselves as a combination of this information can lead to grave consequences. Companies should provide specific privacy practices that they have in place and a privacy policy that limits the sharing of personal information.

Overall having good habits of protecting PII has many benefits, including a much lesser possibility of having our identity stolen or even facing fines for violating data protection regulations. Keep in mind that sharing PII online could pose risks if done carelessly.

Fortknoxster helps companies and individuals protect and transfer securely any type of PII and other filetypes, by using an advanced encryption mechanism Fortknoxster acts as a safe bridge during the transfer.

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