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Size Doesn't Matter, Privacy Does - A Tool for Small Businesses

October 18, 2010 - Tags: Customers, Regulations

Istock 000001283786xsmallThis guest post is provided by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner who protects and promotes the privacy rights of individuals.

In today's technology-driven, ever-connected world, privacy can be difficult to come by, and equally difficult to ensure. This is true not only in terms of what kind of information you should share, but also in terms of what kind of information you should collect. For small businesses, this task can be especially daunting because it is not always viable to have a specific team (or person) solely dedicated to determining what kind of information should be collected.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has created a tool that can help small businesses achieve their privacy goals and draft a privacy policy suitable for their organization. The tool provides a range of questions that deal with what sort of information a small business collects from its customers or clients, and then considers what sort of information is necessary for the organization's purposes. This can help reduce the amount of consumer information the business collects, as well as pinpoint the types of information that are necessary to include in a privacy policy.

The tool provides a basic diagnostic analysis based on the answers the respondent provides. It then uses those answers to determine the current state of information collection and protection in the business, and ultimately provides guidance in terms of things to consider regarding sensitive information. Once the questionnaire is completed, the tool creates a “Privacy Plan” for the small business, which includes:

  • An information audit of the business
  • Consent provisions required specifically for the business
  • A security plan
  • A sample privacy brochure for customers
  • A training needs assessment

If you have a small business, are thinking of starting one, or are just genuinely curious, we encourage you to give this tool a try!

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