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Understanding PII in the Age of Data Privacy

Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is data that can be used to identify an individual. For a user of your product, their PII is the data that they input to identify themselves when creating an account, such as an email address or a phone number.

PII data consists of “linkable” and “unlinkable” data. Generalized data that describes a person’s identity, such as gender, age, date of birth, geolocation, income, or anything else that cannot be used to directly identify a specific individual is called "unlinkable data". Unique data elements such as a name, address, email, social security number, or other information that can be used to directly identify a specific individual is called "linkable data". The idea of PII has been around for awhile, but recently it has become more important than ever for businesses to manage and secure the PII that they handle.

PII Becomes a Priority for Regulators

As businesses have started to collect more data through the proliferation of cloud-based apps and services, governments have introduced new data regulations to ensure that companies are taking measures to protect that data. The EU’s GDPR and California’s CCPA created regulations around how personal data is collected, stored, and transacted. These regulations have broadened the definition of PII and require companies to rethink how they collect, store, and process PII.

In many cases, companies have had to make significant investments, build completely new processes, and adopt new technologies to better understand what PII they collect and how it travels through their organization. Oftentimes this means rearchitecting their data stores or data lakes to have finer grained of control over how they access and use PII. For many companies, this has resulted in a patchwork of data privacy solutions that creates more overhead without offering much additional protection for PII.

The Age of Data Privacy

Because PII is a fundamental part of how customers use your products, you need an efficient way to use PII without putting customer data at risk. You need a new approach that re-thinks how PII data is stored and used throughout your organization. And you should be able to protect your sensitive data without losing its utility. It adds up to a new paradigm: The Age of Data Privacy.

At Skyflow, we’ve developed a zero trust data security and privacy platform that uses privacy-preserving technology to protect PII data, while allowing you to use it to drive business growth. You can store your sensitive data in an isolated, centralized data store and reduce the amount of PII you store in other applications and systems. This approach reduces the overall exposure of PII within your systems, and isolates it to a central store that you can govern with granular access policies.

If you want to learn more about how Skyflow’s data privacy vault technology can help you manage and protect PII, feel free to reach out.

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