5 Data Privacy Tips for Individuals and Businesses

TWS Avatar

Nik, Senior Cyber Security Analyst

What is Data Privacy Day?

On 26th April 2006, the Committee Ministers of the Council of Europe decided to launch Data Privacy Day, to be celebrated each year on 28th January.

Why 28th January? This date corresponds to the signing anniversary of the Council of Europe's Convention 108 in 1981, otherwise known as the “convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data.” This protects individuals’ the right privacy and represents one of the most fundamental cornerstones of data protection in Europe and beyond.

Just how private is our data really?

In 2020, the world experienced a broad spectrum of events that disrupted people’s lives, from economic turbulence, to the pandemic, to social movements, environmental disasters, and much more. While technology has adapted, led, and responded to these times of change, data privacy practices are often left behind, leaving us to wonder just how private our data is.

In 2021, The National Cybersecurity Alliance, is encouraging individuals to “Own their privacy” and companies to build trust with their employees and business partners.

We all know that "data" is the most precious commodity these days, surpassing oil.

That is due to the value it carries - Big data can predict and calculate outcomes that can change your world: from economic shifts to political views.

Just like oil, data can be refined into an essential commodity; multiple data points can be processed to produce intelligence that we might not want to be made public.


5 Data Privacy Tips for Individuals                                                                                     

Let’s review some recommendations for individuals:

Tip 1. Be aware of your presence online. Make informed decisions about whether or not to share your data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for, and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return.

Data gathering is not always a bad thing: sometimes you want your favourite online shop to remember you and make recommendations based on your needs and preferences. Know the difference.

Tip 2. Be selective about what you share with services and social media. As privacy becomes more of a widespread notion, we are able to filter what access we give applications. Be thoughtful about who gets that information, and wary of apps that require access to information that is not required or relevant for the services they are offering. Maybe not all services should know your location.

Tip 3. Add privacy tools to your arsenal. Use browser extensions, alternative search engines, VPNs and proxies just to name a few. Read newsletters and articles to develop your knowledge and grow as a digital citizen. Use an alternative browser loaded with privacy extensions and alternative search engines when you want to be left alone and forgotten.

Tip 4. Stand up for your rights. Take part and support people that represent us. Today countries have a hard time fighting technology giants; every little bit of help supports a worthy cause for a free future. Don’t say “I have nothing to hide.” If this is your mantra, please share your credit card information!

Tip 5. Test your skills. This is a dynamic landscape and keeping up to date is as important as patching your operating system:


5 Data Privacy Tips for Businesses

As a business, privacy can be an important tool in attracting talent or establishing trust. Here are 5 tips for businesses:

Tip 1. Create a culture of privacy at work. Start by teaching all employees what privacy means to your organisation and the role they have in making sure privacy is achieved and maintained and that data is protected. Organise privacy and security training that builds up knowledge. Governance and risk should be a big part of the future strategy of any business, coupled with information and cyber security it can become crucial.

Tip 2. Support employees and their families.  Businesses have a responsibility to bolster individuals’ privacy, too. Companies can help employees develop skills and knowledge that can be used at home. Develop and recommend tools and channels of communication so that end users can make their own decisions (newsletters, blogs, open channels of communication).

Tip 3. Hire experts. Bring in the professionals! We can build up capabilities and are available to answer questions. Most employees aren't privacy or security experts, so build in mechanisms and procedures for making it easy for them to report privacy or security concerns to your internal or external experts.

Tip 4. Build transparency and trust. This starts inside the organisation, and spreads outwards to customers and business partners, but request it from them also. This shows interest and maturity, that can only establish your business as a trustworthy entity. If you collect data, protect it and show how it’s done; become a leader that inspires trust.

Tip 5. Align yourself with a privacy framework. Adopting data protection and privacy regulations can help become compliant and if there is a privacy issue. Risk management is easier to assess in collaboration with other business partners.



As a conclusion and takeaway remember three big concepts of online presence:

  1. Security: keep your devices and services updated. If you collect data, protect it.
  2. Privacy: is the right to keep secret your most intimate thoughts and the power to limit what control others have over your life.
  3. Anonymity: dissociate data from your person unless it is a trusted and validated platform.


Stay safe out there on the "interwebs" with these resources:


Share this article

Next Articles

Design that speaks code. A guide for developer-friendly UI Design
January 26, 2021

Design that speaks code. A guide for developer-friendly UI Design

Even in the most skilled teams, the design-to-development stage can be proven tricky. Our UI Designer, Andrzej, looks at the basics and offers some suggestions to iron out wrinkles for swift and efficient designer-engineer cooperation.
Quick start with Security Requirements
December 11, 2020

Quick start with Security Requirements

In the second part of her series lifting the lid on the wonders of Application Security, our Principal AppSec Engineer, Alina, shares some valuable lessons learned from real-life projects while applying the OWASP ASVS – the best practice bible for designing, testing and building web applications.
Looks aren’t everything.  Or are they?
November 05, 2020

Looks aren’t everything. Or are they?

According to research, it takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person. And it takes about 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about a website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave. In this blog article, our UI Designer, Isabel, shares the 'secret sauce' ingredients in a successful product.