What is Confidentiality Training?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Confidentiality training is a program designed to prepare people for handling confidential and sensitive information. For certain types of jobs, confidentiality training may be required before people can start work or work in certain areas. In other jobs, it may be recommended or advised. Workplaces can have their own training programs or employees can be sent to a third party for education, depending on the nature of the information handled and workplace policy.

Confidentiality training includes reminders on not disclosing information without authorization, as well as training on how to keep information as secure as possible.
Confidentiality training includes reminders on not disclosing information without authorization, as well as training on how to keep information as secure as possible.

This training is an aspect of information security. People working in jobs with access to confidential information need to learn about the security protocols used at work to protect that information and must also be reminded about the importance of handling such information respectfully. Confidentiality training includes reminders on not disclosing information without authorization, as well as training on how to keep information as secure as possible.

Workplaces can have their own training programs or employees can be sent to a third party for education.
Workplaces can have their own training programs or employees can be sent to a third party for education.

In many cases, laws covering confidentiality issues are in place and confidentiality training will discuss those laws, talk about how they are applied, and explain how people can conform to them. Privacy laws cover a wide variety of fields including medicine and law, as well as the specific handling of data in settings like company databases. If an employee violates privacy law, both employee and employer can potentially be liable. Companies have a vested interest in making sure their staffers are familiar with the laws that pertain to their work and are aware of the penalties for violating them.

Confidentiality training can include lectures on confidentiality issues, as well as the distribution of manuals used to provide information about how to handle confidential and sensitive materials. People may be asked to practice information handling or role play, depending on how the program is organized. They also are made aware of the legal penalties for violating confidentiality and may be given information about what will happen at work in the event of a confidentiality breach.

Workplaces with their own confidentiality training programs usually design the course materials in consultation with lawyers and privacy experts to ensure every topic is covered. Some may use modules produced by companies specializing in employee training materials. Using a training module can be less expensive than developing a program from scratch. Third party training programs for companies that do not want to run their own can also be a good option, especially for companies with low turnover who only need to provide training to a handful of people every year.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon318512

What are some possible consequences for breaching a non-disclosure policy?

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