Originally published by New Context.
One of the biggest challenges facing companies today is managing data. The sheer amount of data we’re responsible for in this day and age is staggering, and keeping that data private and secure is a constant battle when our business is increasingly being conducted online. To make things even more challenging, new data privacy regulations have been popping up all over the world and in states across the U.S., including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Maintaining data compliance isn’t just a matter of protecting yourself legally, either. Data breaches can expose trade secrets and other confidential information, causing major harm to your business or organization. Thankfully, the data compliance challenges you will likely face tomorrow can be mitigated by understanding exactly what you’re up against and developing a robust data security plan before issues arise.
The Top 3 Data Compliance Challenges of Tomorrow
With new and existing data protection regulations to contend with—as well as the ever-present threat of cyberattacks via malware, social engineering, and hacks—you need to identify the future risks to your data security to prevent a breach and protect your organization from lawsuits. There are three major data compliance challenges you should be prepared to face.
Over the last few years, states have been enacting laws—including the CCPA—to protect the privacy of employee information and data. Even in states without these laws, employees have been successfully suing their employers for data privacy breaches using laws like the CCPA as precedent. You can expect to see more employee privacy lawsuits and regulations in the future, so you should be working now to implement security and privacy measures when processing employee personal data.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have become more popular in recent years, with some organizations seeing increased productivity and lowered overhead costs. However, allowing employees to use their own devices can significantly increase the risk of a security breach, especially when these devices are used to access or store sensitive data.
The risk is even higher when employees are working from home with personal devices that aren’t managed by Mobile Device Management (MDM) software. If these devices aren’t adequately tracked and encrypted, and/or if the employee’s home network isn’t secure, the risk of a data breach if the device is lost, stolen, or hacked is astronomical.
If your data is subject to HIPAA, CCPA, or any other regulations, your BYOD policy must ensure that all devices used to access and store sensitive information meet strict security guidelines. However, while security policies and procedures can mitigate your risk of a data breach to a certain extent, you must also have a robust data governance program in effect or your BYOD policy will still leave you vulnerable.
Internet of Things (IoT) Vulnerabilities
The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized the way many companies operate. We now have internet-connected devices doing everything from monitoring and adjusting the soil moisture in agricultural crops to managing inventory and supply chain logistics for major retail organizations. However, the more devices you have connected to the internet, the bigger the chances of a hack or breach. And, once a hacker gains access to your network through one of your IoT devices, they could gain access to trade secrets, customer credit card information, or other confidential information.
If your company processes any credit card information, you must ensure your IoT payment devices are PCI compliant and adequately protected by comprehensive security policies and data governance procedures.
Solutions for Tomorrow’s Data Compliance Challenges
To prepare for tomorrow’s data compliance challenges, you’ll need to take a holistic approach to your data security. You won’t find a one-size-fits-all remedy that addresses all of your issues, but there are some best practices for shoring up your data compliance strategy, including:
- Comprehensive network security including an IDS, anti-malware software on all devices (BYOD, IoT, and otherwise), and strictly managed access control lists.
- MDM software for all mobile devices, including phones, laptops, and tablets that connect to your network and access your data remotely.
- Strict data access policies and procedures with clearly defined ownership of sensitive data as well as regular data compliance training for personnel.
- Package caching systems and other technology solutions to automatically vet third-party software and components.
The backbone of your data compliance strategy should be a robust data governance program. Your organization needs to identify exactly who has ownership of specific data, and those people must become experts in any relevant regulations that apply to that data. There should also be a clear policy in place for who is allowed to have access to sensitive data, and that policy must be strictly enforced.
Having a comprehensive data governance program helps to prevent internal users from causing data breaches—whether intentionally or not—as well as gives you peace of mind in knowing you have subject matter experts keeping you compliant with state, national, and global data regulations.
On the development side, many data breaches occur because of vulnerabilities in third-party components in the technology used to conduct business. Thankfully, there are automated package caching systems that can trigger security reviews of third-party components—or block them if necessary. Automating the process of vetting third-party software, add-ins, and components also takes human error almost entirely out of the equation.
A Digital Transformation Partnership for Tackling Compliance Challenges
It’s tempting to believe that you can just purchase another security solution to solve all of your data compliance challenges, but the truth is that you have to take a multi-pronged approach. By proactively designing your data processing and governance policies to ensure compliance, as well as implementing the best development tools and security solutions to protect your network and devices, you’ll ensure that your business is ready to meet all of tomorrow’s biggest data compliance challenges.
However, this is a difficult task to approach on your own—as many enterprises either do not have the in-house expertise or staff bandwidth to allocate—which is why it’s best to work with an experienced third-party who can provide expert guidance, support, and tools to ensure data compliance.