Consumer data is an asset to your organisation as it provides useful insights that can help you refine your business strategy and improve customer experience. The data collected may contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and sensitive information like financial and behavioural details of individuals. And therefore, you need to maintain confidentiality to protect this data from any misuse and to safeguard individuals from frauds like phishing and identity theft.
Data breach is on the rise with an average of about 6.5 million records compromised every day. In the first half of 2018, 3.4 billion data records were compromised, which is an increase of 72% over the same period in 2017. According to a 2018 survey by Centre of International Governance Innovation involving over 25,000 Internet users from 25 countries, 52% of the respondents said that they are more concerned about their online privacy now than they were a year ago.
Data privacy laws prohibit governments, organisations, and individuals to disclose or misuse information about private individuals. According to these laws, non-compliance and data breach incidents can put you at the risk of facing heavy fines and damage your brand reputation.
In 2019, the French data protection authority CNIL hit Google with a €50 million fine, under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR), for not maintaining transparency around how user data was collected and used for targeted advertising.
Understanding data privacy laws
Data privacy laws specify rules and regulations around data collection and processing including what data can be collected, how it can be collected, where it can be moved, and from where it can be accessed. For instance, the EU Cookies Directive rules that every website based in the EU, owned by EU businesses or targetted at EU citizens must let the users know if they are using cookies.
Data privacy laws governing information control and processing by your organisation may vary with your region and industry of operation. If you are a global healthcare provider, you will have to comply with GDPR in the EU and the European Economic Area, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) in the U.S., and all other data privacy regulations that apply to you. These laws may also require you to localise data, encrypt, tokenise or anonymise PII, restrict access to certain data within your organisation or delete the data.
Though the data and privacy rules under different laws may vary, the purpose is the same - to safeguard an individual’s right to privacy by making data controllers and processors protect the data or risk facing heavy penalties.
Ensure cloud compliance and data security
Cloud computing involves dispersal of data on servers across the globe. The globalised nature and absence of regional boundaries on cloud make compliance with local data privacy laws a challenge. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure cloud compliance and data security for your business:
Step 1 - Map your data
Start by mapping and documenting the data you have collected, from where you have collected it, and if you have permission to store and process the information. Also record where the data is stored, where it is transferred, from where it can be accessed, and who can access it.
Step 2 - Clean the data
Regulations like GDPR encourage you to collect and store only necessary data and remove everything else. In case of PII, analyse if deleting the data would be more financially viable for you than encrypting it.
Step 3 - Get individual consent
After cleaning up the data, you should be left only with the information you need. Check the applicable data privacy laws and go through your documentation in Step 1 to see whether you have the required consent to collect and process this data. Revisit your privacy statements and disclosures and revise them to get explicit individual consent, if required.
Step 4 - Define processes
Based on which regulations you need to comply to, lay down the policies and processes to handle situations like how to get user consent, how to transfer data, and how to erase data if a person requests to unsubscribe.
Step 5 - Secure your infrastructure
Define security policies and procedures and implement security measures to avoid and contain data breaches on your infrastructure. If there is a data breach, notify the authorities along with the individuals whose data was breached.
Make compliance easier with a cloud MSP
Data privacy laws do not only apply to big enterprises; they also apply to all individuals and businesses and, in some cases, even governments who control and process a person’s private information. Today, concerns about personal privacy are globally increasing, and governments are continuously striving to make data privacy laws more stringent. Non-compliance to these regulations can lead to heavy fines, and damage your reputation, resulting in loss of business. In this ever-changing compliance landscape, cloud compliance is not a one time task; it is an ongoing activity.
Outsourcing cloud compliance and data security to a cloud managed service provider can simplify the job for you. A cloud managed service provider has trained personnel who understand data privacy laws that apply across various regions and industries. A cloud MSP also has the required tools and platform to support compliance and ensure functional data security. It can help you help keep your data secure and avoid penalties along with providing compliance as a service to make data collection and processing more transparent and gain customer trust.
Cloud4C is a leading global cloud managed services provider offering multi-cloud management solutions and IT services on various cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud. We have over 10 years of experience in a wide array of security solutions. With a presence in more than 23 countries with 40+ points of delivery and expert knowledge of the latest products, and solutions, we give you the flexibility of in-country hosting with integration to public cloud platforms while adhering to local compliances.