Confidentiality – Protecting Your Data

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In today’s connected world, businesses rely heavily on their data. From customer information to financial records, sensitive data is often stored electronically. Confidentiality means keeping people from accessing, disclosing, stealing, etc., your data without authorization.

KEY Takeaways

  • Confidentiality is vital for any business because it protects your valuable assets. 
  • The most important part of a confidentiality policy is defining what constitutes confidential information.
  • Confidentiality policies and procedures help companies identify where confidential information resides, establish guidelines for handling it, train employees on those guidelines, monitor compliance, evaluate effectiveness, and revise as needed.

What is Confidentiality?

Confidentiality refers to protecting information from unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, distribution, publication, use or modification. The term covers both physical and electronic forms of data.

Examples of Confidential Information in an Organization

Customer lists and credit card numbers are examples of confidential information that must be protected. If a company loses this type of information, it can lose customers or even go bankrupt.

In the healthcare industry, patient medical records are considered highly confidential.

Here are some other examples of confidential information in an organization:

  • Internal Financial information
  • Customer data
  • Patents, formulas, Intellectual Property
  • Future goals, targets, strategy
  • Personal information (DoB, SIN#)
  • Documents marked confidential 

How Does Confidentiality Work?

If you have confidential information, then how do you keep it secure? The answer lies with confidentiality policies and procedures. These policies should include steps for handling confidential information. They also need to include specific instructions about who has access to what types of information.

The following are some basic steps for protecting confidential information:

1. Identify all sources of confidential information.

2. Establish a policy regarding how to handle confidential information.

3. Develop a plan for implementing the policy.

4. Train employees on the new policy.

5. Monitor compliance with the policy.

6. Evaluate the effectiveness of the policy.

7. Revise as necessary.

Non-disclosure Agreement

Companies have to share some confidential information with their suppliers or partners during the business. When sharing confidential information, there are many risks associated with doing so. Some of these risks include:

  • Loss of intellectual property
  • Disruption of operations
  • Compromised security
  • Legal liabilities
  • Business partners could steal your ideas
  • Your competitors could copy your products
  • Your business partner could take your trade secrets
  • You could lose future opportunities

A business may decide to enter into a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement to prevent these risks. Non-disclosure agreements are legally binding contracts that prohibit the recipient from using the information for anything other than the originally intended purpose. Such agreements are legally binding contracts.


Confidentiality is vital to any business because it protects its valuable assets. It helps ensure that only authorized people have access to your data. It also prevents others from misusing your data.

Disclaimer: We are not a law firm and are not acting as your attorney. The information contained on the Site is general legal information for quality certification exam preparation. It should not be considered as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation. For any legal advice, you should consult a lawyer.

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