Organizational Data Confidentiality: Importance & Rules

Instructor: Julie Wickersham

Julie studied English and Spanish for her Bachelor degree and also has a Master's degree in Human Resources.

Learn about the importance of organizational data confidentiality and the rules that apply to data in the workplace, including employee records, company data, and individual data.

Importance of Data Confidentiality

How would you feel if your personal information was shared publicly? In today's competitive business economy, it is important that organizations are being mindful of data that needs to be secured. The risk of data being shared publicly could cause an organization to lose customer and employee trust and loyalty. There is also a risk of lawsuits if organizations do not follow specific federal rules that were established to enforce data confidentiality.

What is Confidentiality?

Confidentiality is best described as a code of behavior that allows certain restrictions to be present around sharing an organization's data. It is also important that organizations are clear with their employees on their expectations of what data or information must not be publicly shared.

Data confidentiality can be viewed as classified, sensitive, and public. It is important to understand these different types of confidentiality in order to adhere to its rules. There are varying types of records that confidentiality applies to. There are employee records that contain performance reviews, health history that involved a leave of absence, or how many years an individual has been employed by the organization. There are individual records that contain an employee's personal information such as an address or phone number that should not be publicly shared. There is company confidentiality which involves organizational specific data that should not be shared such as business practices and profits.

Rules Around Confidentiality of Organizational Data

In terms of confidentiality in the workplace, there are major federal rules that apply to confidentiality. These have been put in place to protect data around employee records, company data, and individual data.

One of these federal laws is the Privacy Act of 1974. This was established to protect individual data from being shared publicly. Under this rule, a person's individual data cannot be shared without written consent from the individual. A person can be fined up to $5,000 should he or she not abide by the rule.

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