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Private is Private: Safeguarding Data During Crisis

27 Jun. 2018 Posted by aadams

James Pettigrew, FEI Program and Project Manager

While information provided by and collected from individuals affected directly or indirectly by crisis response efforts can assist a company with making crucial decisions, assuring the data is kept private and secure should be a top priority of any entity.

How data is collected and used depends on the type of crisis response. For example, an accounting for people model of data collection can have individual groups report (one person reports on who is and isn’t accounted for in a designated group), or self-report by phone. Data can also be collected using interactive voice response to a crisis call center; a smart phone app; a mobile-ready website where data is entered via webpage; or another technology that takes advantage of the internet.

When utilizing any of the above technologies, the goal is to move information into a data
system that can provide reporting, or data to which a crisis team or organization can react. Therefore, it is imperative the data is protected from those who would use the information in a negative light.

With the number of data breaches increasing daily, having a hacker gain access to either extract, modify or ransomware information is not something your organization wants to happen during a crisis response. This is why information should be kept private and secure. But, just like delicate information used to run any business, one consideration is: How secure does the information need to be? Or, should it be kept separate from more general systems?

If you’re considering securing private information as either standalone data or with other data, then I suggest it be encrypted in transit (an unreadable format as information is sent over the internet) and encrypted at the table (an unreadable format delivered to a data system).
This will ensure that, if the information is not compromised over the internet or while in the data system, it cannot otherwise be used by bad actors with malicious intentions, thus keeping one’s privacy private.

If you are interested in knowing about ways to keep crisis and critical response information secure, protected, private and available, contact your FEI crisis manager or send us an email for more information. We’re always open to talk about best practice.

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