Achieving compliance in today’s evolving technology and regulatory landscape is an ongoing challenge. But it’s one that must be met. Not least because a failure to do so can lead to legal liability.
So, with data protection legislation tighter than ever, and a maximum penalty of €20 million or 4% of worldwide turnover for failures to comply with the GDPR, what can businesses do to ensure they meet their obligations?
Find out what data you have
To achieve compliance, make sure you understand what data needs to be protected, where it is stored, how you got it in the first place, how it used, who you share it with, and how long you keep it for. And once you know all that, establish legal limits and processes for future use (and document these). With strict rules in place when it comes to personal data, this step is absolutely vital.
Understand the risk
Organisations have never been more at risk of cybercrime and data breaches. But, if your data is hacked, sold on the dark web and exploited by cybercriminals the results could be devastating. Furthermore, if you think your organisation is too small to become a target, you couldn’t be more wrong. Cybercriminals are hacking businesses of all sizes – often supported by the latest tech. And SMEs are increasingly under threat because they don’t have the same resources to invest in cybersecurity as larger ones.
But, despite the fear of cybercrime, the greatest security risk may still come from your own people. With human error the leading cause of most data breaches. At the same time, new working practices and demands have created a raft of new compliance challenges. For example, today’s employees need to access data on the go using a range of mobile devices. But storing this (often sensitive) data in ways vulnerable to cybercriminals creates a whole new level of risk.
Before you can put steps in place to protect your business, you must understand where the threats are coming from.
Think about the cost of doing nothing
Yes, compliance can be expensive. But have you considered how much it could cost your organisation if you suffer a data breach or are found lacking? We’re not just talking about a loss of hours when you try to recover your data, the fines for non-compliance can be significant. And that’s before you even begin to take compensation payments and the cost of a damaged reputation into account.
Create an encryption strategy
Today, it is vital that you encrypt sensitive data. The level of encryption your business needs will depend on the type and sensitivity of the data you use. It will also depend on the sector you operate in, with some professions requiring much more stringent data protection than others.
Make compliance part of your cloud-vendor agreement
Of course, you can’t just refuse to work online. And crucially, the cloud isn’t your problem, your systems are. In almost all cases, where a hack has happened it has been down to a poorly designed and maintained security system – not the weakness of the cloud.
In fact, the cloud provides organisations with access to an already-built secure IT infrastructure. This includes secure storage, data analytics, and methods of backup and disaster recovery. Indeed, cloud providers have to create safe environments. They wouldn’t last long in business if they didn’t. Compare this to the many legacy systems that were built before cybercrime became widespread.
Nevertheless, with cloud security more important than ever, any cloud provider you appoint must understand the risks and have the expertise necessary to keep you safe. In fact, they should be willing to specify the security measures they will guarantee as part of your SLA.
When checking the credentials of any cloud-hosted desktop supplier, you should also make sure that the provider can offer data centres situated in the UK which are ISO27001 certified (this ensures you are working with a trustworthy provider committed to safeguarding your data). And that they can offer a level of guaranteed uptime and continuity protection that is acceptable to your business.
At Cloud Geeni, we make security a top priority. That’s why, our services consistently achieve the highest level of data security and reliability, with best-in-class back-up and recovery processes that eliminate downtime.
To find out how we can help your business, speak to a member of our team today!