Security and privacy have been a significant issue for businesses in recent years. As safeguarding customer data has become an ever-evolving game between hackers and companies, new ways of transferring and storing data have emerged with blockchain. 

However, as we progress towards a digital landscape where more complex forms of protection are available, pockets of potential risk are involved. If your business wants to put its best foot forward and protect its data, consider the following key points.

 

Complying with GDPR 

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With data privacy at the forefront of the tech sector and the entire global business community, adhering to general data protection regulations (GDPR) can be the difference between a hefty fine and company integrity. With many big data companies like Facebook and Amazon, currently under great scrutiny for storing, transferring, and protecting user data, it is vital to be overly cautious regarding GDPR. If you're unsure whether a particular practice infringes on GDPR always err on the side of caution and act conservatively. 

 

Privacy by Design

Privacy by design is an approach used to consider the security and data protection aspects of any project at the design stage, meaning you design your systems and processes with privacy in mind. It is not merely crucial from a business protection perspective but also a requirement as you will have to adhere to international data privacy regulations.

 

In essence, this means you have to integrate data protection into your processing activities and business practices. While this can be applied across your whole business, some examples include developing new IT systems, services, products, and processes involving personal processing data; developing organisational policies, physical design; or even using data sharing software. 

 

When utilising privacy by design, you reduce the risk of potential data loss arising from security breaches. If you design your projects, processes, and systems with privacy in mind, you can identify issues sooner and raise awareness for privacy concerns in the organisation.

 

Understanding Your Processes

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The best way to be prepared for anything is through adequate planning and execution. Preparing for a data breach means complying with GDPR, utilising privacy by design, and having a plan set in place for your entire team to execute and adhere to. Practising potential breach protocol and testing your software and systems will also be crucial as it will show you the complete data risk journey. Understanding your processes, and subsequently testing them will be the real analysis of how secure your business is.

 

Privacy Impact Awareness (PIA) 

Privacy Impact Awareness (PIA) is a useful tool used to highlight and lower the risk of ineffective privacy practices in your company. These assessments reduce your risk of mishandling personal data by looking at your businesses development life cycle. A full run-through of your services and protocol allows greater scrutiny into potential privacy risk.

 

Key stakeholders are involved in a PIA review as recommendations on addressing challenges need to be presented. Ultimately, a PIA will help a business and security team develop better processes and systems for handling sensitive data.

 

Risk Classification 

When creating a risk classification of your data and processes, it is essential to complete a data mapping exercise initially. This means getting all of your data-ducks in a row. Understand how your data is stored, transferred and organised. How is it, inventoried? Is everything safeguarded? If so, to what degree? Where are the areas of potential risk? These need to be answered before you can undertake a useful risk classification overview.

 

If specific data were to be stolen or lost, it could significantly injure your relationship with clients and even your overall operations. Having a sense of what data is at risk during a breach also helps your IT team harden defences and strategies to protect organisational data. If they know that certain information is at stake, they can prioritise their time on a solution to protect these assets. They can also set up alerts using various security technologies to know if the unusual activity occurs with these data types.

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A Brave New World

These are merely a few, yet paramount, aspects to consider when reviewing your business's data security and privacy. With emerging tech like blockchain looking to decentralise data, it will bring both new security capabilities and risk. We covered the impact that blockchain may have in this respect in our blog: Blockchain Will Change The World. 4That's why it is crucial to have a well thought out effective, realistic, and specific plan to protect your team and your business.