It has been said time and again, but it must always be said as a reminder. Identity and information theft is on the rise, and the statistics aren’t looking too great when it comes to future projections. As a result of this, you must be prompt and decisive about information safety and keeping up with the needs for proper retention and disposal.
The news these last months about various data breaches and large companies selling off private information for profit, is equally alarming. Once trusted companies and sites have turned out to be taking advantage of the information provided to them. In the face of this, it becomes more important than ever for people to be cautious with what they are putting out there. For those that are handling important information, holding themselves to a higher standard is essential if they wish to avoid losing trust and violating compliance regulations.
Here is a quick look at a few of the big federal level compliance regulations that you need to be aware of when handling sensitive information.
HIPAA: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a Federal law to prevent abuses of personal health information (PHI), including unauthorized access. Destroying all discarded patient information is a very important requirement of HIPAA/HITECH.
FACTA: The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) is a consumer rights bill that became effective June 1st, 2005. FACTA is a federal law designed to reduce the risk of consumer fraud and identity theft caused by improper disposal of consumer information.
GLB: Gramm/Leach/Bliley (GLB) legislates that financial institutions design, implement and maintain safeguards to protect customer information. It also applies to companies which handle personal financial information. The GLB Act affects many types of businesses including, but not limited to banking, legal profession, medical profession, accountants and CPA’s.
Being Careful on the Web
What is required here is a call to reason. Pay attention to the permissions you are agreeing to when using apps or social media. Avoid putting your entire life’s details out there for any one to find and use as they will. Also, avoid taking the decision away from those who are trying to limit how much information ends up online. While some people don’t have a “web presence”, many people do have a “web shadow” due to others posting things about them online; this is extremely common with parents posting images about their kids.
Whatever it is you decide for the future, take a moment to consider how much private information you’re putting out there, and reconsider just how willing you are to give it away.