By Emily Byrne, Marketing Manager at Track24/AtlasNXT

In the technology sphere, particularly when it comes to data based innovation, privacy is of the uppermost importance. Organisations developing AI and ML technology solutions and harnessing data science should strive to adopt a privacy-first outlook, first and foremost. 

“Respecting and providing data security to users is one of the most critical steps to move forward in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Data Science. These technologies use data to predict outcomes of different scenarios. But that data must be protected. Earning the trust of users with the finest data privacy and security will allow us to move forward, research, and innovate in this era.” Source.

Below are four factors which will help your organisation to ingrain a privacy-first approach into its culture.

Start with Certification: ISO27001

Your organisation needs to be sure it meets industry security standards. IS027001 is an international standard on how to manage information security. It is one of the most popular information security standards in existence and is universally recognised. ISO certification will be something potential clients will look out for. Should you not have certification, this will ring alarm bells for potential buyers. Achieving your ISO27001 certification establishes the credibility of your organisation and will help to recognise you as a responsible handler of data. 

Information security is vital, as data breaches are commonplace across all sectors. “For example, in April 2019, Georgia Tech announced that nearly 1.3 million current and former faculty members, students, staff, and student applicants were affected by an education data breach caused by unauthorized access to a web application. Information compromised included names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers.” Source.

Furthermore, data breaches come with consequences to reputation and heavy financial implications.

In terms of the Georgia Tech breach in 2019: “The financial implications of this breach are likely to be significant—not only in terms of lawsuits and fees for failing to comply with data privacy regulations, but also in terms of damaged reputation. Students were outraged at a similar breach in July 2018 when the university mistakenly shared the personal information of about 8,000 students in the College of Computing with other students at the school. This latest breach will surely add fuel to the fire.” Says Brian Johnson, CEO & Co-founder of DivvyCloud. Source.

It is in the interest of your organisation both commercially and in terms of reputation to be data compliant.

Address consumer concerns: Consider how you collect, use and store your data

How does your technology store your customer’s data? Have you considered how data is stored or encrypted, in both transit and at rest? Have you made this clear to your customers? It’s always important to be open and transparent about how you’ll collect, use and store data, as this is a key concern for many consumers. “From massive data breaches to private data sales, consumers are extremely concerned about keeping personal information private and secure. For instance, nearly 80% of respondents in a recent Pew Research study raised questions against companies who own their consumer data.” Source.

Additionally, it’s vital that your organisation is compliant in how long it stores data for, deleting data when required. This is a critical part of data security and management, which is often a common pitfall for organisations. You should only store data for as long as it’s required and requirements must have business justifications attached to them.

Provide training which promotes the protection of privacy and data handling

Does your organisation provide your staff with training courses when it comes to privacy and data handling? User awareness courses are a great way to keep privacy protection at the forefront of your employees’ minds. Many courses are available with simple, modular breakdowns and bitesize training sessions and assessments, which can be easily integrated into busy working days. 

Effective training will ensure your employees are aware of ways in which they can protect their own privacy and responsibly handle data, meaning your organisation can work together to prevent data breaches and spot attempts to compromise sensitive information, such as phishing emails from cyberhackers. “When properly implemented, robust data security strategies will protect an organization’s information assets against cybercriminal activities, but they also guard against insider threats and human error, which remains among the leading causes of data breaches today.” Source.

Keep location sharing in the hands of your end user

It should be up to your end user whether they’d like to permit precision location services to access their location or not. The recognition of location services permissions came to light when Google promised to end their use of third party cookies in 2023.

“Apple has cracked down on user privacy with a slew of new operating system updates. Chief among them is AppTrackingTransparency (ATT), which gives users the choice of whether or not to allow apps to track their behavior across other apps and the open web. More recently, with the rollout of iOS 15, Apple debuted a handful of new features including built-in VPN access via the new Private Relay, privacy ‘report cards’ that show users how various apps use their data and improved email privacy.” Source.

Here at Track24, we’ve provided you with a useful guide to adopting a privacy-first approach within your organisation. A privacy-first approach will result in good practices within your organisation and ensure you handle sophisticated technological developments such as AI, ML and data science in the correct and ethical way. A privacy-first approach will allow you to offer technology solutions to both existing and potential customers with transparency, attribute credibility to your organisation and enable outsiders to trust you when it comes to handling their data. To find out how AtlasNXT, our single-solution safeguarding and communications platform is built on privacy-first principles, click here: https://atlasnxt.com 

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