The protection of personal data nowadays has become more and more critical. Companies that handle and store sensitive information of their customers and employees are required to safeguard such data. They are only allowed to use them for a specific purpose and they have to dispose of them safely when done.

With the increasing cybersecurity concern, companies are also obligated to protect individuals' personal information from external threats. Compliance with legal responsibilities and industry standards, along with a heightened awareness of data protection problems have become vital business issues. In this article, we will discuss the common data protection issues and the effective ways on how to reduce its impact on the organization.

Data Protection Problems

Data Protection Problem No. 1: Unable to identify who uses sensitive data

Some companies make inventories of their sensitive data and try to develop sensitive data utilization maps and data flow diagrams across various departments. The purpose of the data utilization map is to identify which data is no longer important, and which data is redundant or obsolete. Meanwhile, the diagram will show who or what department uses the data. This process will bring new awareness about the specific people who handle the information as well as the value and hazards of sensitive data.

Data Protection Problem No. 2: Lack of protection for sensitive data

It is imperative for business heads to know which sensitive data is critical to the company to be able to correctly assess and deploy different levels of protection. To be able to do this, your data must undergo asset valuation. The goal here is to show the relationship of various criteria, such as regulatory compliance mandate, application utilization, access frequency, update cost, and competitive vulnerability to know the value of the data and a ratio for determining justifiable protection costs.

Data Protection Problem No. 3: Repetitive regulations

Some compliance projects tend to focus only on protecting credit card data, while others are concerned about accounting records, which has a much larger scope. To reduce repetitive compliance efforts, it would be ideal to develop a regulatory compliance chart that shows which databases and which files contain data elements covered by the various regulations. By doing such, you can identify and minimize redundant regulatory compliance projects.

Data Protection Problem No. 4: Outsourcing sensitive data handling

Outsourced security services are expected to ensure the protection of their client's sensitive information. However, sometimes, service providers fail to do an on-site inspection of the data protection procedures, despite it being stated on the contract. To ensure data protection, it will be progressively sensible if the service provider uses a security assessment tool that can gather data on procedures and inventory. This could also rate the various data protection technologies, policies, and procedures actually employed by the service provider, giving you a clearer picture of the situation.

Data Protection Problem No. 5: Cleaning up your toxic data collection

To reduce the risk of retaining sensitive customer information without spending a lot of money, you may choose to dispose of unimportant electronic and paper data from all your systems. However, do take note that you cannot simply delete files with infrequently accessed, highly sensitive data as that would violate multiple data retention regulations. What you can do is to work with a legal and data archivist who usually have the knowledge about relevant regulations. They can help you evaluate the specific data retention and protection regulations that govern each of the sensitive data elements that need protecting.

Data Protection Problem No. 6: Unsure what is reasonable protection for different types of data

If you aren’t sure what protection should be deployed for a certain type of data, you may execute a data protection benchmarking study. This can help you decide whether enterprise data protection technologies, policies and procedures are reasonable with respect to peer organizations. You may outsource a service provider in this case if the enterprise needs to safeguard its data protection practices in court, should there be a breach.

Data Protection Problem No. 7: Weak security awareness programs

Showing your employees and contractors that your organization is serious about security will help you build a better reputation. To do this, you may implement a data protection testing program. The goal is to divert the focus from simple awareness of security to testing a set of sensitive data handling policies and procedures to guarantee that they are being followed.

Swift Systems

Swift Systems is a Maryland IT firm providing managed services to organizations. We can help you comply with data protection requirements and ensure that the appropriate processes and procedures are in place when dealing with sensitive information. Contact us today to get a free quotation.