In Sanoma Learning, privacy and security is strongly incorporated in our day-to-day work. Serving 25 million students across Europe, there are thousands of schools, parents and guardians trusting our systems and ability to protect our students' data. That's why we dedicated an entire week to celebrate Data Privacy Day on 28 January and raise awareness of the role we all have in creating a safe environment and protecting our own privacy with our own ‘Privacy Awareness Week’. 

We have dedicated this Privacy Awareness Week from 22 – 29 January, to strengthening the knowledge and understanding within our organisation on privacy, data and security. 

We live in an ever-changing world where information and data are increasingly important for education and business. That’s why we have dedicated teams and experts to ensure our systems and applications are protected and safe at all times. It’s also why we highly value the awareness of our colleagues on these topics and to create a protected and safe online culture together. 

The week consisted of a variety of activities, with a kick-off from our Director Privacy & Compliance, an amazing interview with an ethical hacker who gave us an insight in this online world and a panel discussion ‘Privacy by design’ by our own experts. As well as a lively online community with tips of the day, blogs, articles, fun games throughout the week to get familiar with the terms and terminology and a closing pub quiz to bring the knowledge to the test. 

Ellen de Kok, Head of Digital Compliance: “Privacy is of great value. I am proud of Sanoma Learning for taking it to the next level with this dedicated Privacy Awareness Week and seeing our colleagues enthusiastic about this topic!” 

We’re happy to already look back on a successful first edition with more to come for the rest of the year. Here are some tips of the day’s that have been shared in our online community for a safer work-environment and to protect your own privacy:

9 tips to secure your privacy

Tip 1: No marketing cookies please! Cookies are small pieces of data that websites store on your computer, have the ability to track you online and physically through your mobile, link your devices together and sell your data to their own partners. If you accept them all without thinking, you could be giving away more than you want. Accept only necessary functional cookies where needed. 

Tip 2: Use a strong password of at least 12 characters (also for your pen drive - tip 9). Choosing a long password (even 32 characters or more) can significantly reduce the possibility of a hack (to impossible). Also, when you need to update the password, make a new strong password (just replacing a character does not work). The website XKCD has a good cartoon on this: xkcd: Password Strength.

Tip 3: Use the "incognito" browsing mode as a general rule. 

Tip 4: Do not connect to public or untrusted Wi-Fi networks.

Tip 5: Make sure your desk, whiteboards and screens are clean. Also, always lock your screen when you leave your workplace. 

Tip 6: Use the tool ‘Have I Been Pawned’ to see if your email/password combination is leaked. You can also check to see if your password is known in any of the breaches.

Tip 7: On the site OSINT Framework (Open-Source Intelligence Framework) you can find all kinds of (free and open) tools and sites that can help you search for yourself. Try it and be surprised what you can find (or not) about yourself.

Tip 8:  Only share information on social media that you need to! 

Tip 9: Encrypt your pen drive(s)!  Nowadays pen drives are cheap, handy and able to store large amounts of data. Encrypt them with simple step-by-step Windows BitLocker wizard or create ZIP archive with a password to ensure confidentiality in case of lost, since the data are much more valuable than pen drive itself. Check tip 2 for how to set a good passphrase.