With newer, stricter requirements for reporting data privacy breaches to supervisory authorities and expanded definitions of “personal information,” data privacy regulations have become an increasingly complex problem for businesses to tackle in the past few years. And considering the constant state of technological innovation, new regulations, and demanding security challenges are a safe bet to continue to be an issue for businesses for the foreseeable future. So, how can you stay risk-averse and manage data privacy, all while staying focused on your core business? Here are some best practices for covering all your bases when it comes to data privacy.

A UNIFIED APPROACH

If you intend to make a solid commitment to data privacy, you must start at the top and work your way down the chain of the command until your entire organization is on the same page. First, leadership should lead the charge in prioritizing, educating, and developing a company-wide data strategy. To start, assess what regulations (HIPAA, GLBA, FACTA) pertain to your business and where you are falling short. Then, set about defining robust protocols, creating processes, and adding state-of-the-art tools that can help you achieve regulatory compliance and peace of mind. As you implement these changes, ensure ample training for your staff, and keep communication lines open so everyone can help fine-tune your processes and policies as you go. The idea is to start creating a culture of compliance throughout every level of your business.

ALIGN PRIVACY AND SECURITY

Part of unifying your approach will include breaking down any silos between your privacy and security teams. While security usually focuses on securing data, privacy teams attempt to analyze data types and assess how to store or dispose of all the data you collect. Data privacy and data security are ultimately two sides of the same coin, and privacy regulations usually require robust security protocols to ensure the proper handling of sensitive data. So, it will be essential to align these two concepts when deciding your approach to both. One possible way to create symmetry between the two is to designate a single person or group responsible for overall security and privacy to ensure a more comprehensive approach going forward.

LEAST PRIVILEGE ACCESS

One fundamental principle that businesses should also consider implementing ASAP is Least Privilege Access. This concept stems from the notion that only users who need access to specific resources should have it, and only at the precise moments they need it. In other words, everyone in your organization will only have access to the exact data they need to do their job adequately. Least Privilege Access can be applied across departments, devices, processes, systems, applications, times of day, or locations. However, implementing it requires that you audit all existing accounts and credentials and determine the appropriate permissions. Additionally, you’ll need to regularly conduct this type of audit to make sure credentials don’t grow out of sync over time.

CONSIDER SCALABILITY

It’s also important to consider that the tools, processes, and policies you construct to serve your current needs will also need to scale with you as you grow. With no shortage of solutions being paraded about for every problem under the sun, it’s important to take a broad approach to technology and only invest in solutions that can help you solve more than one problem. Your commitment to data privacy is an ongoing process that will need to be audited, reassessed, and scaled up or down, depending on the state of your business. Therefore, you want to leverage available technology to create the most consistent, repeatable, and flexible systems you possibly can.

If you need help achieving data privacy compliance but are unsure how to untangle all the complex requirements, our IT experts at Haselkorn Inc. are well versed in all the best practices to keep you safe and on task. We can provide immediate assistance to help you develop long-term, flexible solutions for all your data privacy needs.