Marking Data Privacy Day

This week’s blog is adapted from a recent post on the Homeland Security blog “Stop. Think. Connect.”

The posts reminds us that data privacy concerns are a real and rising issue for American citizens and businesses. According to a survey from the National Cyber Security Alliance, 92 percent of Internet users in the United States are worried about online privacy. Even more telling, 68 percent are more worried about not knowing how their personal information is collected online than they are worried about losing income.

Technology is rapidly advancing, creating extraordinary benefits and opportunities, but also creating new risks. Americans are routinely sharing more sensitive information online than ever before including banking information, personal health behaviors and habits, and physical location data. Unfortunately, companies are also routinely experiencing data breaches, which can potentially expose the sensitive personal information consumers readily share. Just as quickly as technology advances, companies and consumers must evaluate and evolve their data privacy habits.
January 28 marked the tenth annual Data Privacy Day, an international effort to raise awareness about the importance of data privacy practices. The Department of Homeland Security encourages all Americans to weigh the benefits and risks of sharing information online, to understand how their information is being used, and to take steps to protect their identities and personal data.
In an increasingly digital age, protecting your privacy online can seem overwhelming. In reality, there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your information online:

  • Own your online presence. Think carefully about what you post online. Everything you put on the Internet – photos, tweets, and blogs – will be out there for people to see forever. Take ownership of your digital life by making sure that only what you want to be seen is posted.
  • Lock down your login. Always enable strong authentication for an extra layer of security beyond the password. Strong authentication is available on most major email, social media and financial accounts (e.g., multi-factor authentication that can use a one-time code texted to a mobile device). This protection helps verify that a user has authorized access to an online account.
  • Secure your devices. Take advantage of lock screens, passwords, and fingerprint capabilities to secure your smartphones, tablets, and computers.

For more resources on best practices for data security, please visit

by Judith