If you’re struggling to ensure data compliance, you’re not alone. Many companies are failing to keep up with tightening regulations and new data compliance laws.
Although the hype around GDPR has passed, it still remains extremely relevant and important for businesses as failing to comply with relevant data compliance regulations can result in devastating financial and legal consequences as well as permanently damaging a company’s reputation.
But, what are those obstacles that are preventing businesses from ensuring compliance?
Let’s go over some of the most common Data Compliance challenges and see what you can do to solve these issues:
Continuous employee education and awareness
Human error is, by far, the number one cause of data breaches. This includes mistakes employees make when using email, such as clicking on phishing emails, emailing the wrong recipient, or sending the wrong attachment.
In fact, according to Tessian’s survey, 58% of respondents admitted they have sent emails to the wrong recipient at work. Almost 20% of these emails were sent to recipients outside of the organization.
This might seem harmless, but such mistakes can result in devastating fines and legal penalties, especially now that data protection regulations are getting stricter than ever. That’s why it is absolutely necessary to regularly train your employees in order to ensure proper data handling and compliance.
Teaching them about best data protection practices and raising awareness about the importance of regulations should be done continuously. Your training programs should also be updated as regulatory requirements change.
It can be easy to overlook the issue of employee education, but the truth is that human error is the number one cause of data breaches, so it is necessary to keep your employees educated.
Creating retention policies
Keeping track of different retention policies can be challenging. For example, email retention requirements are different for different industries, and they can range from one year up to seven years.
Manually keeping track of these policies is almost impossible. Relying on employees to manually archive each email, and delete it once the retention period has expired is not only inefficient and time-consuming, but it can also result in human errors that can lead to non-compliance and result in financial and legal penalties.
You can avoid these issues by automating retention with email archiving solutions. These solutions can help you streamline retention and avoid errors. They also provide you with an easily searchable database from which you can retrieve email data in its initial state in case you need it as evidence in a legal dispute.
Ensuring third-party vendor compliance
When it comes to data compliance, the expression, ‘you’re only as strong as your weakest link’, really is true. No matter how bulletproof your compliance strategy is, one mistake from a third-party vendor can have serious legal and financial consequences.
Data protection laws such as GDPR require not only businesses, but also all their contracts and suppliers to comply with regulations.
When looking for third-party vendors, make sure to put them through an extensive vetting process. They should be able to provide you with compliance guarantees and certificates.
The first step is to simply ask your vendors if they are compliant with relevant regulations, and make sure to have everything in writing in case something does go wrong, so that you can protect your business at least to some extent.
Securing communication with remote teams
With the explosion of remote work, especially during the pandemic, it has become increasingly difficult to manage cybersecurity securely.
Employees are frequently working from their own devices, which significantly increases the risk of data leaks and compliance breaches. These new risks have to be managed properly in order to ensure data compliance and avoid penalties.
Aside from previously mentioned (and extremely important) employee education and raising awareness, it’s crucial to also provide your remote staff with proper software, and even hardware if necessary, to keep your data protected according to compliance regulations and standards.
Establishing a culture of data minimization
With modern technological advances and seemingly endless cloud storage space, it can be easy to fall into the trap of collecting unnecessary amounts of data ‘just in case’.
However, this is not a good data compliance practice. In fact, data regulation laws require businesses to collect and keep as little data as possible in order to minimize the risk of data exposure.
The less you store sensitive data, the lower the chance of it falling into the wrong hands.
Instead of piling on personal data, you should establish a culture of data minimization and try to collect, process, edit, and store only the strictly necessary personal data.
These are just some of the most common challenges of data compliance. Keep in mind that there are also many industry-specific requirements you should be aware of.
Data compliance is not one of the projects you can just finish and set aside. You need to constantly improve your strategy and keep it updated as regulations change in order to stay on top of your game.