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What We Learnt From Privacy Awareness Week

Picture of Nicholas Ahrens
Nicholas Ahrens
// How does your startup handle data privacy in a world where data-privacy becoming increasingly important.

Last week was Privacy Awareness Week — a week that brings a topic of ever-increasing importance to the forefront. So, what is Privacy Awareness Week?

Transparency, Accountability, and Security were the key principles explored in this year’s Privacy Awareness Week (PAW). Running from May 6th to 12th, the initiative — led by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) — is to highlight the role every business has to play in protecting personal information — including yours.

This year’s theme ‘Power Up Your Privacy’ focused on the changing privacy and technology landscapes. With privacy reform on the way, now is a critical time for organisations to get it right. 

Business is hard, and startups are even harder. We’ve pulled an all-nighter, scoured through the Privacy Act, and highlighted what you can do to be well-positioned to meet the privacy standards your customers expect:

Transparency

Transparency is key to best privacy practices. Businesses and organisations collecting personal information must openly communicate how they handle it.

Transparency should be communicated internally, ensuring staff understand the parameters, and externally, ensuring individuals understand how their information will be used.

When creating or implementing new technologies, prioritise privacy requirements and build for privacy. 

Accountability

Understandably, privacy is a basic right that Aussies deeply care about — we all remember Optus and Medibank and will do for years to come. While they aren’t quite dead, privacy breaches can be the death of your company if you get it wrong. For your business, this means prioritising strong privacy practices.

Having a clear privacy policy and culture within your organisation builds trust with customers and protects against potential issues. We hope it doesn’t happen, but it’s important to be ready to address problems or breaches openly and swiftly if they occur.

Remember, even if you outsource certain tasks, you’re still responsible for ensuring privacy. Keep privacy on your leadership agenda and empower your staff to prioritise it in their daily work. This approach will make your organisation more secure and privacy-conscious.

Security

To enhance the security of personal information in your organisation, utilise the right tools and stay vigilant against known and emerging threats. 

SOC 2 and ISO 27001 are growing companies’ most sought-after security frameworks. These certifications demonstrate your organisation’s ability to keep customer and client data secure.

Implement strong data governance, review and strengthen access management and ICT security measures, and consider additional authentication requirements like multi-factor authentication or single sign-on (SSO). 

Regular, clear, and accessible staff training can help mitigate human risks. Promptly detect and respond to cyber threats, and report any incidents to the Australian Cyber Security Centre

It makes sense on paper, but what does that look like in practice?

  1. Check if your organisation is storing information it doesn’t need. Map the information life cycle, and ensure appropriate review, retention, and destruction schedules are in place.
  1. Apply privacy by design: privacy impact assessments will help you adopt a privacy-by-design approach, including when looking at, or building, new technologies.
  1. Strengthen identity management and authentication: access to customer accounts through credential stuffing, or compromised staff logins, are key issues to look out for. 
  1. If you suspect a data breach, be flexible and adaptive. Take required steps simultaneously or in quick succession where possible, and don’t forget to keep your clients or users updated — at the end of the day, it’s their data.
  1. Assume human error will occur, and design for it. Choose wisely when outsourcing the handling of personal information to service providers, like single sign-on or authentication firms.

Unsure where to start? here are a couple of our favourite companies helping startups of all sizes be privacy-ready.

Osano 

Osano, the leading data privacy management platform, empowers businesses to successfully navigate the complexities of privacy management by providing the necessary tools and insights for building, managing, and scaling holistic privacy programs. Designed with privacy professionals in mind, Osano’s premier platform addresses the full spectrum of privacy needs, including assessments, vendor risk management, data mapping, and consent and subject rights management.

As a public benefit corporation and certified B-Corp, Osano is dedicated to enhancing transparency and trust in the digital ecosystem. Emphasising the critical role of privacy as a trust cornerstone, Osano upholds the belief that embracing privacy principles propels organisations into the next wave of trusted brands. 

Learn how Osano can simplify data privacy for you at www.osano.com.

Vanta 

Vanta helps startups and businesses streamline their security and compliance efforts. Their platform automates the tedious process of achieving and maintaining SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, GDPR, and other certifications, saving valuable time and resources. 

Vanta’s comprehensive suite of tools includes automated security assessments, monitoring, and remediation, making it easier for startups to focus on growth while ensuring they meet necessary privacy and security standards.

Learn more about how Vanta can simplify your security and compliance processes at www.vanta.com

1 Password

1Password is a password management solution that helps startups and businesses secure their digital assets. It provides a secure vault for storing passwords, credit card information, and other sensitive data, all protected by end-to-end encryption. 

1Password also offers features like two-factor authentication, secure sharing, and seamless integration with other tools, making it easier for startups to manage their security and privacy needs.

Discover how 1Password can help your startup keep its digital assets secure and easily accessible at www.1password.com

Who is Personr?

Don’t let compliance be a barrier to onboarding your clients. Personr is your all-in-one platform for KYC, KYB, AML/CTF, and fraud prevention, simplifying verification processes and enhancing global compliance.

With clients in fintech, crypto, payments, trading, financial services, and gaming, we provide fair, fast, and accurate verification tailored to your needs.

Discover how Personr is reshaping the future of reusable credentials. Built on trust and innovation, we are committed to simplifying, securing, and streamlining verification for businesses worldwide. Learn more at www.personr.co

Did you know?

The Privacy Act covers organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million and some other organisations. 
If the Privacy Act does not cover your business, you can opt-in as a public commitment to good privacy practices.

Get more advice and actionable insights to help you grow your startup.

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Picture of Nicholas Ahrens

Nicholas Ahrens

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