Personally identifiable information

What is PII?

Personally identifiable information (PII) is any information that can identify an individual directly or indirectly. PII includes details such as name, place of residence, gender, phone number, and so on. PII can be used on its own or combined with other identifiers to recognize an individual.

PII examples

Some examples of PII:

Type of information Example
Name Full name, maiden name, alias
Personal identification numbers Social Security number (SSN), passport number, driver's license number, credit/debit card number, financial account number, state identification number
Addresses Street address, email address
Asset information IP address, MAC address
Personal characteristics Photographs (with identifying features or faces), fingerprints, handwriting, retina scan, voice signature
Information identifying personally owned property Vehicle registration number

Sensitive PII vs. non-sensitive PII

Sensitive PII Non-sensitive PII
Contains information that can directly identify an individual and can harm the individual if exposed Contains information usually found in public records or websites and does not cause any harm to the individual if exposed
Should be transmitted with encryption Can be transmitted without encryption
It is also known as linked information, because an individual can be directly identified without the need for excess information It is also known as linkable information, because an individual can be identified when this data is combined with other information
  • Medical records
  • Biometric information
  • Passport number
  • SSNs
  • Tax records
  • Zip code
  • Race
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Place of birth


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates that organizations that store and process the PII of residents of the European Union and the European Economic Area must follow policies and guidelines that ensure the security of this data from internal and external threats. Organizations that are not GDPR compliant have to pay hefty fines that that can cost up to several million euros.

In addition, the GDPR also provides users more rights towards their data. Users must give explicit consent to their data being stored and processed by an organization and they can also demand that their data be deleted.

How is PII protected using DataSecurity Plus

Securing PII involves a series of steps starting from identifying sensitive data to securing it by restricting access to it or by encrypting it. It can be a cumbersome process for the organization to conduct all these steps without the help of third-party software. DataSecurity Plus' PII data security tool can help you:

  • Identify files with PII

    Locate files that contain PII and gain in-depth information about the file's location, permissions, and the amount of PII they contain using the PII scanner tool.

  • Customize data discovery rules

    Create custom data discovery rules and policies that help identify sensitive data that might be unique to your organization with the PII discovery tool.

  • Classify files containing PII

    Tag files as public, internal, sensitive, or restricted based on the sensitivity of their contents, how much sensitive data exists in them, and more. Enforce policies to safeguard these files using the data discovery and classification tool.

  • Secure files from threats

    Deploy data leak prevention policies to prevent files containing PII from leaving the organization using the data leak prevention tool.

Discover PII in your environment and protect it using DataSecurity Plus' data discovery software.

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