Compliance in the Age of Data Security

Compliance in the Age of Data Security
Waking up to Data Risks

Global news in recent times has tried coming to a conclusion on Data Security. And the truth is, no one has been able to conclude. From a consumer’s perspective today, if you do anything online, you give people access to your data. And while it’s impossible to not leave a data trail online, it is important to know that people cannot use your data against you. So, if you are an organization that stores consumer data for some reason, this is the time to revamp your data security policies and data security compliance policies.

What does it mean to you?

You might be an online retailer who has a loyal client base. So, it might make sense for you and the customer to store details like name, address, previous buying history, recommendations etc. furthermore, you might also store card details if you facilitate a payment gateway. Storing these details might make it easy for the customer because all he needs to do with every successive purchase is to auto-fill forms and keep going forward. But, this is a potential data security danger if data falls into the wrong hands. Something as simple as customer names and addresses can be troublesome; forget sensitive data. If you store customer data, you have a huge responsibility in your hands. No one put it better than Uncle Ben from the Spiderman series: With great power comes great responsibility!

Where does compliance come in?

Your compliance policy is seen as a star here in this scenario. A strict policy and diligent rules will help you bolster your claim on being responsible about the data you hold. While every country is slowly waking up to data security, organizations are seizing opportunities to portray themselves as safe and responsible entities that will not use the data irresponsibly. But, there is always the risk of one employee ruining it all for the entire organization. So, that is when compliance comes to your rescue. It is time to make data specific compliance rules if you haven’t already done that yet.

Going about with Data Security Compliance

Within the organization, look at how data is stored. Sit with your experts and figure out potential dangers. For each scenario, look at how to proactively prevent it. Make a list of Compliance rules that can prevent such breaches. There should be a proper protocol when handling client data. Hold workshops with your employees on the protocol to be followed. Educate them with interactive videos and real examples. Follow it to the tee yourselves and set good examples. One employee, intentionally or unintentionally giving data out to someone else can cost you!

In the same series of educative programs, instruct employees on what happens if there is a breach of compliance in terms of Data Security. There has to be a signed contract between employee and employer on compliance terms with respect to the changed terms of reference. If you are certified by ISO standards, you can look at their standards to form your guidelines. Identify what is relevant to you in terms of data security. Assess the quantum of work that it entails. Frame the process next: incorporate data compliance to existing work practices, training, and storage processes. Periodically, while framing these policies, ask for feedback, look at what peer organisations are doing and look at what’s feasible and what’s not. After the initial compliance data are in place, train staff to follow it diligently. Incorporate data compliance in risk management as well.

Data Security and Compliance, specific to India

The idea of Data Security and Compliance is still very nascent in India. But several Indian organizations deal with a lot of customer data on a regular basis. Food delivery apps, taxi apps and such basic businesses collect data from customers! This environment and the recent changes here can work in your favour. If you work on Data Security Compliance, it can become a stamp of a reputation for your organization as you would be in a league apart with strict data security laws in place and certifications.  So, it’s high time you started taking notice of compliance in handling data!

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