#StaySafeOnline: Ward and Smith Becomes a 2023 Data Privacy Week Champion

Security concept with person increasing the protection level

Ward and Smith has proudly taken a step forward in data protection by becoming a 2023 Data Privacy Week Champion. We are committed to upholding our responsibilities as conscientious stewards of personal information, recognizing that protecting individual privacy is everyone's responsibility.

Data Privacy Week is an annual event designed to help citizens understand their power when managing their data and promote organizations respecting users' privacy. Taking place from January 22–28, 2023, this expanded effort, from Data Privacy Day, urges individuals and businesses across the globe to work together towards a better online experience.

"Privacy is a right that must be proactively safeguarded and protected," stated CIPP/US privacy Angela Doughty. "Data Privacy Week helps remind us of actions we can take now - before it's too late- in order to ensure security against costly incidents and harm." 

The National Cybersecurity Alliance has offered up the following themes to help guide individuals and businesses to better data privacy practices: 

Data: The Story of You

All your online activity generates a trail of data. Websites, apps, and services collect data on your behaviors, interests, and purchases. Sometimes, this includes personal data, like your Social Security and driver's license numbers. It can even include data about your physical self, like health data – think about how a smartwatch counts and records how many steps you take.

 While it's true that you cannot control how each byte of data about you and your family is shared and processed, you are not helpless! You can often control how you share your data with a few simple steps. Remember, your data is precious, and you deserve to be selective about who you share it with!

For Businesses: Respect Privacy

Respecting the privacy of your customers, staff, and all other stakeholders is critical for inspiring trust and enhancing your reputation. According to the Pew Research Center, 79% of U.S. adults report being concerned about how companies use their data. You can stand out from your competition by being open about how you use data and respecting privacy. 

Be transparent about collecting, using, and sharing consumers' personal information. Consider how consumers may expect their data to be used—design settings to protect their information by default. Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization and the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.  For more information about Data Privacy Week and how to get involved, visit https://staysafeonline.org/programs/data-privacy-week/.

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