PII Scanning – How to Ensure Customer Trust

July 2, 2023

PII scanning is an integral component of your data security strategy. It ensures a secure lifecycle for customer information absorption and helps you remain compliant with PII regulations.

Personal Identification Information (PII) refers to any information that uniquely identifies an individual, such as social security numbers, bank account details, credit card numbers and health records.

1. Identification of PII

Personal Identifying Information (PII) refers to any data that can identify an individual, either directly or through combination with other data, and includes social security numbers, full names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails and credit card info. Also referred to as identity data, PII is increasingly being shared among organizations across various sectors such as healthcare and banking or consumer products and entertainment.

Maintaining the security of this data is a major undertaking that requires the involvement of many within an organization. By taking time to educate staff and train them on privacy and PII awareness, employers can help prevent employees from sharing sensitive information without proper authorization.

As a leader, it is your duty to understand PII and the laws that regulate its collection, use, storage and management. Failure to abide by these regulations may incur expensive fines.

To protect your company and customers, it is essential to create a comprehensive PII protection plan that addresses the three data states: Identifiable, Linked, and Data in Motion. This will enable you to determine where PII is stored, how it’s used, and which systems need protection.

By understanding the risk associated with your personal information (PII), you can assess its level of sensitivity. Restricted: Highly sensitive PII that could cause severe harm to your business or individuals if improperly misused. Private: Not as sensitive but still needing appropriate access controls in place

Utilizing a PII scanning solution can help you comply with all relevant laws and government regulations, as well as protect your customers from data breaches and fraudulence. Furthermore, it allows you to quickly index digital contracts and other important documents for your business so that you have access to important information when needed.

2. Detection of Sensitive Data

Personal identifying information (PII) refers to sensitive data including names, addresses, social security numbers, credit cards and other personal details about an individual. If misused, this type of data can have devastating results for those involved. Fortunately, there are privacy protection tools that companies can use to guarantee they remain compliant with laws while safeguarding customers’ data.

Detecting sensitive data is a complex task, requiring sophisticated machine learning and rules-based techniques to make it work. These technologies are capable of recognizing sensitive content and separating it from other, less sensitive content.

Organizations should begin by inventorying their data by type and location. Doing this allows them to identify any sensitive data they may possess and how much of it there is.

Compliance is not only essential for legal reasons, but it also assists them in deciding what types of data they should scan for security purposes. Furthermore, this gives them a head’s up on any potential data breaches that may take place in the future.

For instance, if a company discovers they have many unencrypted personal financial records on their network, they should consider using a PII scanner to guarantee they are adhering to all applicable data security laws.

PII scanning can also enhance client trust, minimize data traceability and protect information misuse. This improves the customer experience and increases their loyalty towards a business.

Utilizing a Personal Identity Information scanner is an efficient way to stay compliant, stay ahead of the competition, and build trust with clients. Not only that, but it will also contribute to your reputation by increasing referrals from current and potential clients.

3. Identification of Malicious Activity

When clients trust your business with their personal information, you must demonstrate that you have put in place adequate security measures. PII breaches can be costly and detrimental for both your business and reputation.

Data breaches not only pose a huge threat for your company, but they may also result in lawsuits from those affected. That is why having the right tool to detect malicious activity within your environment and take appropriate action is so essential.

Malware can be identified through various symptoms, such as unexplained behavior or suspicious activities. These could include excessive data movement into or out of your systems, unauthorized connections, unusual activity on network ports and more.

Malware can also infiltrate devices through removable media such as USB drives or CDs, making it essential to protect these items against hackers who may try to use them to spread their viruses throughout your organization.

Thankfully, PII scanning tools can automatically detect sensitive data on any file or device being uploaded or stored. They also automatically mask or redact any identified sensitive information.

These features guarantee a client’s data is safeguarded, making it more difficult for identity theft or misuse. Furthermore, it improves client satisfaction and encourages more referrals.

As a small business, it’s imperative to take steps to safeguard your clients’ personal information. You need an automated solution that can detect and classify sensitive data within both local and cloud storage environments. Doing this guarantees your customers’ data is protected against unauthorized access or exposure, helping you meet regulatory requirements while mitigating the effects of any data breach.

4. Identification of Risky Data

Identification of sensitive data is a critical element for a successful security program. This allows you to proactively monitor and protect sensitive information from theft or other vulnerabilities.

Personal identifiable information (PII) refers to any data that can be used to directly identify or trace an individual, such as their name, address, phone number, Social Security number and unique identifiers. It may also include health records, financial records and school records.

Criminals can use Personal Identify Information (PII) to open false accounts, incur debt and sell an identity to someone else. That is why it is critical that you protect the personal data collected from customers and employees.

A reliable PII scanning tool will enable you to identify all PII data on your network. They offer multiple filters and report customization options so it’s simple for you to locate the information most pertinent to your organization.

Once you’ve identified all PII data on your network, a risk assessment report can help determine how much of it is at risk. This will enable you to prioritize which security measures need to be taken.

Another essential step is setting data classifications for each piece of PII data. Having this knowledge at your fingertips makes it simpler to adhere to regulations that require organizations to protect sensitive information.

Data encryption should be implemented both during transit and at rest to protect personally identifiable information (PII) from unauthorized access and misuse. To guarantee compliance, your business must have an effective security plan that can securely encrypt all stored and shared information.

5. Reporting

Regulations around the world are being implemented to safeguard consumer data, necessitating companies to be more diligent when collecting and storing Personal Identifying Information (PII). To accomplish this goal, PII scanning tools can be utilized as a safeguard for businesses against accidental loss, intentional leaks, and breaches.

PII scanning helps identify and delete sensitive information before it leaves the organization or to an external vendor. This ensures customer data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, while also improving client experience by increasing trust and loyalty with increased referrals.

Furthermore, PII scanning can identify weak links in a company’s security process, enabling you to establish protocols and train your employees on best practices for storing and protecting sensitive information. These may include adopting acceptable data usage policies, keeping detailed audit trails, as well as creating breach notification protocols.

A reliable PII scanning tool will accurately classify the PII being scanned, with user-friendly reports and dashboards that let you review classified data in ways that suit your needs. This makes it simpler for you to maintain control over your PII across the enterprise.

The ideal PII scanning tools also offer the capacity to set up data remediation workflows. These enable automated detection of at-risk data, transfer it into a quarantine area and alert the appropriate team on what should be done with it.

PII scanning is an integral component of any data protection strategy. It can protect your business from internal and external threats, boost customer confidence, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Ammar Fakhruddin


Ammar brings in 18 years of experience in strategic solutions and product development in Public Sector, Oil & Gas and Healthcare organizations. He loves solving complex real world business and data problems by bringing in leading-edge solutions that are cost effective, improve customer and employee experience. At Propelex he focuses on helping businesses achieve digital excellence using Smart Data & Cybersecurity solutions.

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