Large organisations in the IT industry will soon have to comply with new privacy laws that will outline how they can use and share big data. The European Data Protection Regulation could have a substantial impact on the profitability and continuity of technology firms, as the financial consequences of non-compliance could be severe. The protection of private data is vitally important in the digital age, although stringent new laws could prevent businesses from using customer information in a responsible manner, as big data initiatives may be viewed as too risky and expensive.
The European Commission proposed the new law in 2012 as a reform to the two-decade old data protection laws that had failed to keep pace with innovation. Cloud, software and mobile computing provided by third parties like Oracle and Salesforce.com are now driving change in almost every industry, and privacy and information security are now becoming competitive differentiators for all large corporations. The regulation is set to come into force during the next two years, so UK businesses in sectors such as Biotech, Geotech and IT recruitment are now being urged to prepare for the rules and take the necessary actions to ensure that they are compliant.
The move towards compliance includes preparing for the ‘privacy by design’ requirement. This means that organisations should make data privacy a key consideration from the outset of any project, such as building new IT systems for data access. Creating and enforcing privacy in this manner will ensure that controls are stronger and easier to implement while promoting a shift in culture across the company to make privacy a core function. The ‘right to be forgotten’ or ‘right to erasure’ law should also lead organisations to implement a strategy for the classification, retention, collection and destruction of all the data which is collected across different systems and platforms. Public Key Infrastructure and cryptography will continue to help businesses to build an infrastructure to protect sensitive data in these instances.
The new law will also have an impact on cloud customers and providers due to harsher data security requirements. A company that elects to use a third party will have to ensure that the service provider uses sufficient security measures and discloses the nature in which they process the data in their custody. The updated regulations have not yet been finalised, but it is obvious that there is set to be a wholesale change in the way sensitive data is handled over the next decade, along with substantial fines for those that breach them in each of the 27 EU states.
This article has been written by John Winfield - Consultant Information Security, for more information or for a detailed discussion please contact John on: +44 (0)20 7014 0230 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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