Guide to Personally Identifiable Information (PHI)

Whether at work, at home, or on the go, data that is often the top target of
cybercriminals is all around us. Protecting that data isn’t a highly technical process, but
rather one that requires common sense and a strong commitment to privacy in every
aspect our lives!


What is PII?
PII, or personally identifiable information, is sensitive data that
could be used to identify, contact, or locate an individual.


What are some examples of PII?
PII includes (but is not limited to) home addresses, personal email addresses,
national ID numbers, credit card numbers, and personal phone numbers.


What are some examples of non-PII?
Info such as business phone numbers and email addresses, race, religion,
gender, workplace, and job titles are typically not considered PII. But they
should still be treated as sensitive, linkable info because they could identify
an individual when combined with other data.


Why is PII so important?
On a personal level, our PII is necessary to acquire some goods and services, such
as medical care and utilities. But in the wrong hands, PII leads to identity theft
and other forms of fraud. On a professional level, you may store PII of customers,
clients, vendors, contractors, employees, and partners. If left unprotected, your
organization could face steep fines and your reputation could be severely damaged.


How do you protect PII at work?
Protecting PII begins and ends with following your organization’s security
policies, which were created to ensure that the data remains
private. Treat all requests for sensitive info with a high degree of scrutiny, stay
alert, think before you click, and if you have any questions, ask them!


How do you protect PII at home?
Develop a home security policy similar to those at work, which calls for common
sense practices, such as not clicking on random links and attachments, guarding
personal info online and in real life, destroying sensitive documents beyond
recognition and setting social media profiles to fully private.

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