“There’s a Mr. Jones, and he’s asking a lot of questions.” That was a common line of dialog by the bad guys in one of the classic detective TV shows of the 1970s, Barnaby Jones, starring Buddy Ebsen. The show debuted on January 28th, 1973 and ran for eight seasons. Barnaby Jones was an elderly, clean-living, milk-swilling private eye who out-maneuvered his adversaries by making shrewd observations and methodically gathering critical evidence. It was a nice, neat, no muss/no fuss television drama that left you feeling like the good guys were still in charge and the bad guys were headed for justice.

What a difference 44 years makes. Today, on January 28th, 2017, crime has taken an alarming new twist with cyber villains stealing private information and data from organizations and individuals at an accelerating pace. Modern day “hacking” started in the mid-1980s (around the time Barnaby Jones retired) with telephone tapping. Soon it spread to personal computers with the dawn of the internet; in 2000, the “Love Letter” worm attacked 10% of the world’s internet-connected computers and caused nearly $9 billion in damage worldwide.

Today, international hackers are stealing private information, stalking, bullying, and generally wreaking havoc in people’s lives around the clock and all over the world. At worst, cybercrime can lead to financial ruin and potentially threaten a victim’s reputation and personal safety.

That’s why the National Cyber Security Alliance holds Data Privacy Day every January 28th – commemorating the Jan. 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. Data Privacy Day is a global effort to create awareness about the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust.

Privacy and protecting personal information is particularly important to Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS), where thousands of employees provide deep expertise and experience in disaster recovery to design, build and run production environments that are resilient and available. Sungard AS employees are taking simple steps to protect customer and personal data by registering as Champions for Data Privacy Day, and by having Iron Mountain place document shredding bins in approximately 13 locations for employees to use to destroy personal records that they may store at home.

In addition, Sungard AS wants to help keep individuals and families be safer online. The company encourages everyone to sign up for the National Cyber Security Alliance’s family online safety newsletter, #CyberAware, at https://staysafeonline.org/about-us/contact-us/. Each month you will receive helpful information about online safety news and free resources for you and your family.

While nearly 75% of Americans feel it is extremely or very important that companies have easy to understand and accessible information about what personal data is collected about them, the majority of Americans are not using strong authentication, and every two seconds, there is another victim of identity fraud.

With a little forethought and a few key steps to protect your data and information, you can take giant strides to stay safe online. It’s all about respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust – something the great Barnaby Jones would be proud of. To learn more, visit www.staysafeonline.org/dpd.