pii-journey-to-understanding-security awareness

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

Examples of PII

Personally identifiable information includes, but is not limited to:

  • Home addresses
  • Personal phone numbers
  • National ID numbers
  • Personal email addresses
  • Credit card numbers

Examples of Non-PII

Info such as business phone numbers, business email addresses, race, religion, gender, workplace, and job titles, are typically not considered personally identifiable information. But they should still be treated as sensitive, linkable info because they could identify an individual when combined with other data.

Why Is PII Important?

  • Personally: 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.
  • Professionally: We may store PII of customers, clients, vendors, contractors, employees, and partners. If organizations leave this info unprotected, they could face steep fines.

How to Protect PII at Work

  • Follow your organization’s security policies.
  • Treat all requests for sensitive info with a high degree of scrutiny.
  • Stay alert.
  • Think before you click.
  • If you have any questions, please ask!

How to Protect PII at Home

  • Do not click on random links and attachments.
  • Guard your personal info online and in real life.
  • Destroy all sensitive documents beyond recognition.
  • Set your social media profiles to fully private.

Bonus material

The University of Pittsburgh has a slightly more thorough breakdown of personally identifiable information on its website. Other types of PII you should be aware of: Biometric data (retina scans, voice signatures or facial geometry) and asset information (Internet Protocol or Media Access Control addresses that consistently link to a particular person).

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The Security Awareness Company

With over 25 years of industry experience, we serve both small & large organizations to create successful security awareness and compliance programs on an international scale. Our team is a strong, creative powerhouse with a passionate vision and we consistently produce on-trend end-user training materials of the highest caliber.