Citizens across the globe are demanding that their governments take data privacy seriously, and legislators are responding at a more rapid pace. With more states and countries adopting comprehensive privacy regulations, such as the GDPR and CCPA, data subjects have more control and require more transparency relating to their personal information collected by businesses. This quickly moving regulatory landscape means it’s more important than ever for organizations to pay attention to data protection and data privacy initiatives. It’s also a good time to consider investing in technologies that help make it easier to manage compliance.
Data Privacy Regulation Goals
Whether they are acts, regulations or laws, these legislations all have the same fundamental goal of ensuring privacy rights are respected when it comes to the use of an individual’s identity and personal information.
For example, CCPA is very similar to GDPR in that they both cover the privacy of personal data, though the approach and terminology is slightly different. While CCPA specifically applies to California consumers and GDPR is for EU data subjects, which includes EU residents, these laws may apply to businesses worldwide despite their location. Every organization subject to these regulations or laws, which includes data collectors and data processors, must implement processes and security measures to carefully handle, continuously protect, and map the lifecycle of the information of all individuals. Failure to maintain compliance with these regulations can result in serious penalties, reputational damage, and possibly private rights of action.
These new regulations may offer individuals satisfaction that the personal data companies collect about them is secure and kept private. But companies can struggle to put the proper security protocols and procedures in place for two main reasons. First, these regulations present different requirements in different countries that need to be clearly understood, and second, these regulations focus on objectives but don’t provide a clear way to achieve compliance.
A Data Privacy and Protection Strategy
There are some common guidelines that can be extracted from these regulations for companies to create their own data privacy strategies.
- What needs to be protected. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) includes information like name, address and phone number, as well as email address, banking info, account names, social security numbers, driver’s license and so on. It also includes information that can identify, relate to or be associated with a particular individual, including religion and sexual orientation. It can extend to online information such as social media profiles, IP addresses and internet browsing history. Companies must protect all these different types of data.
- What needs to be avoided. Data security breaches must be prevented at all cost. If a breach does occur, companies should be able to at least detect and communicate to all the parties affected by it, including the regulating body. Failure to disclose a breach in the time allotted by the regulating body can lead to additional fines, class action lawsuits and reimbursements for damage, not to mention the reputational damage the company will incur. Organizations must always protect regulated sensitive data from external threats, insiders’ malicious behavior and even from unintentional exposure by well meaning users.
- What needs to be done. The CCPA and the GDPR give the right to individuals to view and access the PII that companies collect about them, and request that PII be deleted, subject to certain exceptions. This means that organizations must have complete visibility into where such PII is stored, at all times, across every repository. Additionally, organizations must have the tools in place to track that data as it travels through any communication vector, implement least-privilege access rules, and have strong data protection measures in place.
For many companies, this can be challenging or nearly impossible to achieve manually, especially given the variety of sensitive information that can be associated with individuals and the amount of places to control. Luckily, technology has evolved to help simplify large-scale tasks and achieve unimaginable goals.
DLP to the Rescue
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technologies are specifically designed to help automatically discover, monitor and protect sensitive data. In fact, DLP solutions assist organizations in automatically finding PII, based on predefined and customizable detection rules and contextual conditions that align with the requirements in regulations like CCPA and GDPR.
Out-of-the-box policies for specific compliance regulations typically simplify the configuration process and shorten manual policy tuning cycles. DLP provides visibility into the entire network and all traffic, including cloud apps, cloud storage repositories and endpoints, in order to avoid blind spots and shadow IT problems. DLP helps support a least-privilege access model, so organizations can monitor how data is being used and who is accessing it. DLP solutions can offer stronger security when paired with other technologies like authentication, data governance and rights management.
DLP can also help with remediation actions when it comes to policy violations. For example, it can alert users to infringement, block unsafe data transfers, redact and encrypt information or automatically limit file sharing of confidential information that is openly exposed on SaaS applications.
Some technologies are tailored to assist with data privacy and compliance, but one technology alone isn’t enough for today’s complex threat landscape. Organizations must protect networks, endpoints, clouds and users, and we recommend doing so with a multi-layered security approach. Organizations can also greatly mitigate risk by teaching employees cybersecurity best practices and providing ongoing data handling and cyber awareness training.
Learn more about how a cloud-delivered Enterprise DLP solution can help your organization simplify data policies and expedite remediation actions.