Data Privacy Day is Jan. 28: Here’s a quick refresher on protecting your data

What is data privacy day?

Data Privacy Day is an international holiday that occurs every year on January 28th. The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices.

Hartford Steam Boiler is proud to be a National Cyber Security Alliance Data Privacy Day Champion and share the following tips.

You might not think you deal with any private information. But chances are, you do.

What is “private data?”

Many people think that Human Resources and Payroll are the only business units that maintain private information, but it’s actually handled and held by most of us.

There are several types of private information—business, customer and individual.

Private business information includes non-disclosure agreements and all the information covered by them, business intellectual property, information related to internal company matters of a confidential nature and all confidential information relating to clients and business partners.

Information is confidential if it is marked as such or if it may be assumed not to be public knowledge and not intended to be made public, for example, because it may be used by competitors to harm the company or its business partners if it were stolen or published.

Private customer information includes contracts with non-disclosure or secrecy clauses, policy and claims information and financial information related to clients and their transactions.

Private personal information includes a name in combination with a social security or financial account number. However, laws in several states use a much broader definition.

For example, Nevada and Rhode Island define personal information to include a username, email address, or a “unique identifier” to be personal information when combined with a password, security question and answer, or an “access code” that would permit access to an online account.

Information related to citizens of other countries can enjoy even broader legal protection. Business email addresses of Canadian citizens are considered private. Any non-public information that identifies an individual European Union citizen is private, including his or her IP address.

So, if you think about it, you probably DO deal with private information on a daily basis.

Why is protecting private information important to me?

Laws in forty-seven states, Canada, the European Union and other countries provide for regulatory action and can result in fines when private personal information is accessed or acquired without authorization. Unauthorized acquisition of private business information can result in substantial financial losses and reputational damage.

Cyber insurance can help cover the costs of a data breach

Prevention is always the best course of action. But people have accidents and sometimes our best efforts to secure information can be defeated by a computer virus or attack. Cyber insurance can cover many of the costs of a personal, client or business data breach. Consult your insurance broker for the right product for you.

Tips for securing private information

The following tips for securing private information come from the National Cyber Security Alliance, the organization behind Data Privacy Day.

Share with care

What you post can last a lifetime. Before posting online think about how it might be perceived now and in the future and who might see it.

Own your online presence: Set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.

Be aware of what’s being shared: Know that when you share a post, picture or video online, you may also be revealing information about others. Be thoughtful when and how you share information about others.

Post only about others as you would have them post about you: The golden rule applies online as well.

Personal information is like money. Value it. Protect it.

Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true or ask for personal information.

Lock Down Your Login: Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.

Links for further information about protecting private information

National Cyber Security Alliance-

United States Federal Trade Commission-

United States Department of Health and Human Services-

United States Small Business Administration-

United States Department of Homeland Security-

Internet Crime Complaint Center-


© 2017 The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This article is intended for information purposes only. HSB makes no warranties or representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this article.

Monique Ferraro

Monique is counsel in Munich Re’s US Cyber Practice at HSB. Previously, she was principal at a digital forensics, e-discovery and information security consulting firm and owner of a law firm. Ms. Ferraro is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional.


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