If your house is like mine, there are some basic rules in place. Put your shoes and coats away when you get home. Make your bed in the morning. Always leave a note if you use the last of the milk or (more importantly) coffee.
These rules (help) keep everyone on the same page and reduce the inevitable chaos of cohabitating.
But the thing is, these rules only work if they are clearly spelled out. If you expect your child/spouse/housemate to intuit that dirty dishes go in the sink, not the counter, and wet towels in the washer, not the hamper, you’ve got a long road ahead—a long and potentially frustrating road.
Why is it such an important part of privacy programs?
- Is it okay to sell data?
- If so, what regulations apply?
- How do we obtain consent?
- How do our activities need to be communicated to data subjects?
- Building consumer and employee trust. People’s personal data is important to them, and prioritizing consumer trust is a business differentiator in today’s market. Similarly, how you handle employee data can affect employee morale, trust, and your reputation as an employer, both positively and negatively.
While privacy policies should be tailored to your business, its operations, and regulatory requirements, a policy typically consists of the following information:
- Data collection practices: what types of personal data are collected and the means by which data is collected. For example, your business might collect employee names, addresses, social security numbers, and banking details for payroll purposes.
- Usage of information: Clear explanation of and parameters for how data is used and by whom. Maintaining an up-to-date data inventory is vital in accurately describing this.
- Data sharing and disclosure: This section identifies the circumstances under which data may be shared with third parties.
- Rights of the data subjects: what the rights that individuals have concerning their personal data, such as the right to access, rectify, or delete their information.
- Policy enforcement and compliance: how is compliance monitored? What measures are taken if employees, vendors, or other data users don’t follow the standards laid out in the policy?
- Data security measures: technical and organizational measures to protect data. These can range from data encryption to access control procedures and regular security training for staff.
Note that internal privacy policies may be needed for different departments. For example, a separate policy may be required for the human resources department that covers the collection and usage of personal data related to employees. This ensures that all departments are aware of their responsibilities and obligations regarding protecting personal data.
- Make sure to include opt-out/instructions: Depending on applicable privacy laws, allow consumers to opt-in or opt-out of data collection, processing, sharing, or selling. Provide instructions for employees on how consumers can exercise their rights to avoid frustrated consumers and possible compliance violations.
You may have gotten to this point and said, “Okay. That all makes sense. But does my business really need to go through all that?”
The requirement to have privacy policies depends on what jurisdiction(s) your company falls under. Businesses are required to comply with the GDPR if they are located in the EU or do business with those residing in the EU.
In the U.S., there is no overarching federal modern data privacy law that applies to all businesses and provides consistent guidance on how to handle personal information. Instead, we have an ever-expanding smorgasbord of privacy regulations; in 2024 alone, five new data privacy laws will come into effect (on top of the five already that became effective in 2023):
- Washington My Health My Data Act
- Connecticut (as an amendment to the existing state law)
For more information on state privacy laws, our state privacy law map provides a comprehensive overview of U.S. data privacy legislation.
You don’t have to figure it out on your own
Schedule a free consultation with Red Clover Advisors today to explore how your team can build a privacy program that works for you.