As the digital age progresses, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to have strong cyber security measures in place. This is to protect not only their customer’s data but also their systems from any potential attacks. With the recent introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there are now even stricter rules surrounding the handling of personal data. As a result, businesses must take extra care to ensure that they are compliant with these regulations. Cyber security and GDPR work together to create a comprehensive approach to protecting your business.
1. The Importance of Cyber Security
Cyber security covers a wide range of measures that are designed to protect data and systems from attack. These can include things like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption. With the rise of cybercrimes and data breaches, if your organisation does not have a cyber security program, it cannot defend itself from data breach campaigns, making it an easy target for cybercriminals. For instance, only in 2021, the number of data breaches increase by at least 17% compared to 2020.
The importance of cyber security lies in protecting all types of data from theft and damage. Among these are sensitive data, personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), personal information, intellectual property, and data systems maintained by government and industry.
Due to global connectivity and the use of cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, to store sensitive data and personal information, both inherent and residual risks are increasing. Sophisticated cybercriminals combined with the widespread poor configuration of cloud services means your organisation is increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.
2. The General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new data protection law that went into effect on May 25, 2018. The GDPR requires companies to take steps to protect the personal data of EU citizens and give them more control over their data.
GDPR requires that personal data be processed securely using appropriate technical and organizational measures. The Regulation does not mandate any particular set of cyber security measures but instead expects you to take ‘adequate’ measures. To put it simply, you need to manage risk. Your circumstances and the data you are processing will determine what is appropriate for you. In this context, you are expected to have established minimal security measures. Ideally, you should incorporate security measures into your systems from the outset and maintain them effectively throughout your systems’ lifespan.
3. How Cyber Security and GDPR Work Together
Cyber security and GDPR are both essential for protecting your business. By implementing strong cyber security measures, you can safeguard your data from attack. This, in turn, will help you to comply with GDPR. The two work together to create a comprehensive approach to protecting your business.
Traditionally, cyber security and data protection have been separate communities. Data privacy and protection refers to how data is accessed and protected from unauthorised use. Security, on the other hand, is more of a technical issue. To put it simply, cyber security is the technical implementation of privacy measures. In reality, the challenge comes when we assume all entities are infallible and act in the best interests of data owners.
An IT department is not the only part of an organisation that can be affected by a data breach. An April 2021 data breach exposed the personal information of over 533 million Facebook users in 106 countries. If we analyze an incident like that, we see that both cyber security and data protection measures should have been in place to prevent it.
Implementing Cyber Security and GDPR Measures
When it comes to implementing cyber security measures, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- Ensure the appropriate cyber security and data management measures are in place.
First of all, you need to make sure that your measures are appropriate for your business. Conduct internal audits and data gap analysis to ensure what specific measures should be applied to your business. You also need to ensure that they are implemented correctly and kept up to date.
- Create internal policies and clear procedures for data management.
These are rules in place to secure data and ensure its integrity, access, use, and security. Typically, policies are accompanied by standards, which provide more specific rules for implementing the policy.
- Create internal policies and clear procedures for system security.
Cyber security procedures define how employees, consultants, partners, board members, and other users can access and use online applications, send data over networks, and otherwise practice responsible security. It is common for a cybersecurity policy to describe the organization’s overall security expectations, roles, and responsibilities in the first part of the document. The stakeholders include outside consultants, IT staff, financial staff, etc. The information responsibility and accountability section of the policy outlines roles and responsibilities. The policy may also include sections covering various areas of cybersecurity, such as requirements for antivirus software or the use of cloud applications.
- Create a culture of data security
Finally, you need to make sure that your employees are aware of the measures and know how to use them. One effective way to educate employees is by providing them not only the policies and internal procedures but also security and GDPR awareness training and simulations.
We have more resources for employees awareness training here.
Cyber security and GDPR are both important for businesses in the digital age. By implementing strong cyber security measures, you can protect your data from attack and ensure compliance with GDPR. This will help to keep your business safe.
Click below for a free consultation with us, where we will review your company’s data protection and cyber security challenges and put together the next steps for compliance.