When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May 2018, it emphasized the importance of data security. The impact has reverberated globally, and it further went than just harmonizing the protection of national data. 44% of respondents in a recent survey believe that businesses are now more proactive about their data protection policies.
Unfortunately, the whole aspect of tackling data regulations is still a challenge for some businesses. Some are still stuck because they underestimate the scope of data regulation. Some regard it as a mere enhancement to already existing rules. Others feel complying with the new regulations would be burdensome and time-consuming for their business.
Secondly, there’s some uncertainty associated with the interpretation of the requirements. According to the GDPR outline, there are several policies that organizations should observe while processing personal data. However, a good number of companies are yet to decide how to put the principles into practice.
A good place to start is to break down the data security policies all companies must have in place. This guide breaks them down into easy-to-manage bits so that implementation is more straightforward.
The war against cybersecurity crime is far from over. Internet users have time and again been warned about the perils of using weak passwords. While there’s a superfluity of advice on creating strong passwords, policies should offer more guidance.
They should outline how a password should look like. As a company policy, it should be a requirement for employees to have different passwords for each of their accounts.
Organizations should also implement systems that require employees to create new passwords periodically. Workers should also be warned about writing down their passwords to prevent them from landing in the wrong hands.
Now that GDPR is in effect, it’ll change how companies think about data encryption. Most of them have no policies around encryption, yet cybercriminals capitalize on it in their hacking quests. Encrypting data won’t stop hackers from accessing your organization’s data, but it’ll prevent them from using it.
The process works by making information obscure, which is replacing identifiers with something different. This way, it can only be understood by approved users. Alongside encryptions, organizations can also hide their data behind a pseudo face to make it unrecognizable.
In addition to password policies, companies also require policies that harden their systems. The biggest threat that companies face through email is phishing. Thanks to technology, the risk can adequately be mitigated.
Email users should be able to detect viruses and spam from a distance. Employees should be trained on the kind of data and information they can disclose on email and what they shouldn’t.
Emails designed for scamming often appear legitimate and easily pass the spam filters. When this happens, the only thing that can save an organization is the recipient’s ability to decipher the threat. Email policies should task employees to take employee awareness courses to stay updated on the latest email fraud.
One way to ensure that employees spend their time on work-related tasks is to enforce acceptable use policies. The rules should outline what is acceptable and the activities that are outright prohibited. They also should spell out the amount of time employees can use to pursue non-work activities.
Overall, user policies should be more about keeping employees from viruses and malware. Avoid the temptation to use a zero-tolerance approach that reduces their private life to zero at the workplace.
Data Processing Policies
There should be a map that clearly shows the flow of data in an organization. It should stipulate the processed data, its use, and the recipient. This is an efficient way to help companies account for their data while providing individuals with the necessary information.
Staying Ahead of the Regulations
With this knowledge in mind, how can companies stay ahead of the regulations? Here are a few suggestions.
Keep Up With Industry Changes
Companies are subjected to hefty fines for failure to comply with GDPR. For example, Google recently paid a fine of $56.8 million for lack of compliance. Violation of data privacy laws and user data misuse can be fatal to a company’s financial arm.
The need to have a firm grasp on where data is housed and who has access to it can’t be overemphasized. Data assets include email marketing tools, point-of-sale purchase information, and company servers. Put in place platform-specific safeguards to protect them all.
Companies need to offer role-based training to their employees regularly. They should sensitize their staff on general security awareness, the use of antivirus, VPN, firewall, and other security tools.
As companies shift their data to the cloud, the need for data regulations is at an all-time high. Companies need to set up plans to help them towards compliance. It’s worth looking into a comprehensive EU representative service designated for businesses in the UK and other non-EU countries. Although it’s a huge investment, it’ll go a long way towards keeping data safe and fighting data breaches.