Consumer interest in how their data is stored and shared rose to a frenzied peak after Facebook sold data to Cambridge Analytica. This situation was one of many that sparked the European Union (EU) to take decisive action and crafted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to move control back to the consumer for how their data is managed by the companies that collect their data. These protections allow the consumers to understand what information is being collected by an organization and how they are sharing it with other organizations.
Despite GDPR having been out for a few years now, many companies still struggle to meet the requirements, with almost a third of European companies still being non-compliant. This article will demystify how GDPR works and show a simple path to meeting compliance with data security.
Understanding the Rules
Complying with GDPR for an organization requires understanding what data your organization collects on customers and how it is handled from collection to disposal. Tracking this requires simplifying how it is shared to only the individuals who need it to perform their job functions. This limits where the data resides and allows your company to precisely know how customer data is handled, which is essential for providing the required disclosures.
When working with GDPR, it is essential to remember that the customer is critical to the process. GDPR grants the customer the right to know what data is being collected and shared. It also restricts an organization from collecting or using their data after the business relationship ends.
This isn’t very easy for a business to deliver on as it requires knowing all the locations where their collected data resides and who has access to it. To do this effectively, companies need to have clearly defined processes that dictate where data is stored and handled. They can simplify this by implementing the principle of least privilege, which minimizes the access rights for users to only the access they require to complete their job. This helps manage the data by narrowing down the scope of data to be tracked. With this information, a business can meet customer requests under GDPR.
For many companies, the concept of locating all of the customer data they collect sounds quite daunting and might be. The designers of GDPR understood this and knew that the only way to get companies in line was to make the penalties harsh enough that simply paying the fine instead of complying was not an option. Fines for the most egregious of non-compliance violations can be up to 20 million Euros or 4% of annual gross turnover, whichever is greater.
While non-European businesses might be thinking that they are off the hook because they are based elsewhere, this is not the case. The GDPR requirements apply to companies that offer goods and services to EU residents or citizens. So even if an organization does business only in the US, if they have any EU citizens as customers, the compliance mandates apply.
Compliance With Data Security
Fortunately, meeting a large portion of GDPR is attainable through data security. Protecting the data is vital to maintaining GDPR compliance. When you have a breach of data protected by GDPR, you also fail to comply with GDPR, which can lead to penalties, especially if the violation was due to negligence on the part of your organization.
Least Privilege is the Point
One of the ways that data security helps meet GDPR is through access management. Scoping down the amount of data users and external entities have access to limits how significant a breach can be when access is misused. This access misuse can come from stolen credentials, malware, or even internal threats, which account for over 37% of breaches.
Limiting access also helps organizations meet the right of access requirements for GDPR related to data discovery. When fewer individuals have access to the data, their access can be more accurately tracked, allowing identification of when data is moved from expected locations to local endpoints or other sites. This helps the organization rapidly remediate the situation rather than later having an audit discover copies of data where they don’t belong.
Safe Harbor From Encryption
Data Encryption is an essential component to meeting GDPR and having protection in the event of a breach or malware infection. Encryption protects the business against the dissemination of data because those who do not have the decryption key cannot read the stolen data, rendering it useless. But they also have the benefit of safe harbor protecting them. If encrypted data is stolen, it does not necessarily count as a breach and violation of GDPR, though it may still require disclosure.
Comprehensive Solution Can Help
Businesses looking to meet GDPR requirements need a holistic security solution to help them protect their data. The Sotero data security platform delivers security on multiple levels to protect your organization’s data throughout its lifecycle. It combines end-to-end data encryption, access control, as well as threat detection to not only secure the data but provide in-depth proof of continuous compliance. Sotero is not just for protecting structured data such as databases or spreadsheets but can also safeguard unstructured data such as PDFs and word documents, ensuring that all of your data is safe.
Schedule a demo today to learn more about how data security can help you meet GDPR requirements.