Advancing technology and rapidly growing data volumes in the business world have led to increasingly complex compliance needs. Organizations manage vast amounts of data, like customer transactions, online interactions, intellectual property, etc. As much as such data is an asset, it’s also associated with potential risks, raising privacy concerns.
The largest reported data leak was the Cam4 data breach in March 2020, exposing over 10 billion data records. And the second-largest data breach was the Yahoo data breach in 2013, affecting nearly three billion accounts. Such data breaches make the implementation of robust data security measures and compliance strategies critical.
Businesses must safeguard their data by adhering to data compliance regulations to maintain the trust of their customers and stakeholders. This has led to the mandating of data compliance for different data regulatory requirements.
Understanding Data Compliance
Data compliance, short for data protection compliance, is the process that ensures organizations’ compliance with laws, regulations, and standards in data handling. The process involves establishing controls to protect data privacy, availability, and integrity and to prevent data misuse. Additionally, the stipulated standards and regulations also determine what data needs to be protected and the most suitable processes for doing so.
Usually, data compliance standards are set up by the government, regulatory boards, or corporations. It ensures that the use and storage of data by a company doesn’t infringe on the public’s rights. Data compliance helps companies create and maintain efficient systems for managing data. This assists in protecting your organization’s regulated or sensitive data from unauthorized access, malware, and other cybersecurity threats.
The critical aspects of data compliance include data privacy, security, and governance.
- Data Privacy Compliance: It involves protecting individuals’ personally identifiable information (PII). The data is collected, processed, and used following applicable laws and regulations. Data privacy frameworks often outline the processes of identifying and managing privacy risks.
- Data Security Compliance: The focus is on safeguarding data from unauthorized access, theft, or loss; it helps avoid financial loss, legal penalties, and reputational damage.
- Data Governance: It involves establishing procedures, policies, and controls to ensure data integrity, availability, and usability.
If your organization manages sensitive data, you are required to abide by several regulatory compliance frameworks that revolve around data security and data privacy.
Some of the well-known data protection regulations include:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
The Significance of Data Compliance
Organizations are responsible for protecting the information they use to manage their businesses. This obligates the design of security strategies and the implementation of technical and administrative measures to protect customers’ data. The data compliance regulations encourage an organization to re-examine and improve its cybersecurity strategy.
Here are some reasons why you must invest in data compliance:
- Promote Brand Loyalty: Data compliance boosts customers’ trust and loyalty. It assures high-value clients or prospects that their sensitive data will remain secure. This is especially important with the increased cases of data breaches, making consumers more concerned and vigilant about the handling of their data.
- Improve Data Management: Data compliance involves regularly auditing business data to show how it can be better organized, stored, and managed. This helps in the detection and disposal of redundant, obsolete, or trivial data, leaving you only with valuable data. In turn, it reduces the cost of storage and processing.
- Avoid Negative Outcomes: By taking security compliance standards into account, your organization can minimize the risks of reputational and financial damage resulting from data breaches, non-compliance fines, loss of IP, or operational disruptions. Failure to meet data compliance may result in legal consequences and fines.
- Attract Quality Employees: Experienced employees value a corporate code of ethics prioritizing data compliance. An organization that manages data and upholds its customers’ privacy implies that the employees’ information will also be managed accordingly.
Sectors Where Data Compliance Standards Are Essential
Data compliance is crucial across multiple technological platforms, especially organizations that handle massive amounts of sensitive data or where complex data processing is involved. Even if your organization doesn’t collect data but transmits it, you must comply with the data laws.
Here are some use cases of data compliance:
- SaaS Services: SaaS providers must comply with data protection laws like GDPR for the data collected through their applications. This applies to data that is stored or in transit.
- Data Used in AI Models: Data used to train AI/ML models must be compliant with the data compliance standards.
- ETL Service Providers: ETL providers are required to comply with data protection regulations for secure extraction, transformation, and loading of data.
- Data Analytics: Any data used for analytics must be compliant with the relevant regulations. This is especially important for PII, which applies to sectors like healthcare and finance.
- Financial Services: Financial institutions are required to ensure the security and privacy of customer financial data, making them subject to strict data compliance regulations. Compliance standards like PCI DSS are crucial to protect credit card data.
- Technology and Cloud Services: IT companies and cloud service providers handling customer data must ensure compliance with standards like ISO 27001 and SOC 2. The compliance assures customers that their data will be handled securely.
- E-commerce: Online businesses handling customer payment information must comply with data protection regulations like GDPR. This compliance is required to protect customer data and maintain trust.
- Healthcare: The healthcare industry handles sensitive patient information, making it crucial to follow regulations such as HIPAA. This ensures the security and privacy of protected health information (PHI) and safeguards against unauthorized disclosure or access.
How to Ensure Data Compliance in Your Organization?
When customers opt to use your organization’s products or services, it’s because they entrust your business with their information. This makes it your responsibility to serve your customers to the best level possible. The process involves ensuring the use and securing of their data responsibly.
Ensuring data compliance within your organization will involve certain measures, including:
Assess Your Organization’s Data
Identify the types of data your company is collecting, where it’s being stored, how it’s used, and who has access to it. The data may include customer, employee, or operational data. Consider conducting a data audit to help you understand your organization’s data landscape. Then, determine sensitive information that is a common requirement of all regulatory laws to implement the necessary measures to protect the data.
Familiarize Yourself With the Data Protection Laws
Stay informed about the data compliance regulations in your country, such as GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, or PCI DSS. This applies to the countries you’re providing your services or collecting data from. The laws relevant to your organization will depend on the type of data you handle and your industry.
Different regulations will differ in terms of the consent required and data protection; understand the varying requirements and keep yourself updated on any changes to laws or regulations impacting your organization.
Develop a Framework
Develop a comprehensive data protection framework outlining policies and procedures for managing and securing data.
Consider setting up a system to respond to requests by customers or stakeholders for data you have on them and who you share it with. Such a system must be able to gather information from across your organization, not just customer service applications. However, visibility and automation are the two significant challenges organizations face when dealing with user requests.
The lack of visibility into what systems may contain user data and in what form subsequently results in a lack of automation to respond to these queries. Apart from centralized databases, sensitive information may be backed up in the cloud, employees’ laptops, emails, etc. When your company doesn’t know where the sensitive data is, it may lead to data breaches.
Secure Personal Data Across the Enterprise
To prevent unauthorized access to data, implement robust data protection measures, including encryption, multi-factor authentication, and access controls. Data protection works to ensure security on all devices utilizing data, as well as protects your organization against data loss.
It is ideal to collect and retain only the minimum necessary amount of data to simplify the process of securing data.
Maintain Detailed Records of Data Compliance Measures and Audit Procedures
Keep detailed records of data processing activities, compliance efforts, and data protection measures. Review and update the documentation regularly to reflect the most current compliances and procedures. This is essential because:
- It serves as an example of your company’s efforts to comply with each set of regulations.
- It serves as evidence that you’re taking data security standards seriously. This will make it easier to pass an audit.
Also, maintain transparency with customers and stakeholders about how their data is collected, used, and protected. In the event of a data breach, notify the concerned individuals and take appropriate steps to remedy the situation.
Train Your Team
Regularly train employees on data protection laws and compliance. This helps them understand company policies and procedures.
Additionally, have a dedicated person, like a Data Protection Officer, in charge of the data security and compliance process. A person in such a position must have the credibility and authority to influence others in the company to meet data compliance standards.
Keep Your Data Protection Measures Up to Date
Local and international legislation is constantly changing. So, ensure your data protection measures are up to date with the latest threats and vulnerabilities. This requires regular reviews of such measures to confirm they align with the industry data security and compliance standards.
Conduct regular data security assessments to identify and fix vulnerabilities. Regular compliance auditing procedures will ensure ongoing compliance.
In the digital era, data compliance can give you a competitive advantage. This is crucial to enhance your organization’s operational integrity, maintain the trust of your customers, and set yourself apart in the competitive marketplace.
The significance of compliance, beyond being a legal obligation, includes the promotion of brand loyalty, the attraction of quality employees, and data management optimization. Organizations must adapt to data compliance regulations that are relevant to the type of data they manage and the industry. The constant evolution of data regulations and the evolving nature of technological advancements require keeping pace with innovation and adaptability in the implementation.
Visit our Website to Explore Hevo
Want to take Hevo for a ride? Sign Up for a 14-day free trial and simplify your data integration process. Do check out the pricing details to understand which plan fulfills all your business needs.
Tell us about your experience of completing the process to import Excel into MySQL! Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.