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Data Privacy laws are good. Are you staying on top of all the updates?

6 items to put in practice

Barrett Dilger

Privacy Compliance

In today’s digital age, data privacy is an increasingly important topic. Data privacy regulations and compliance laws are constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to know if your organization is up-to-date and compliant with any policies required. If your business deals with any amount of customer data, there’s a good chance you need to meet some privacy requirements.

For instance, the U.S. healthcare industry needs to comply with HIPAA. Businesses that collect credit card data need to be PCI-DSS compliant. Those that sell to the EU must meet all the GDPR regulations.

On top of any industry and international regulations, there are state and local privacy laws to consider. For instance, here in California we’ve enacted the CCPA. This grants consumers the right to know about the personal information that is collected about them, the right to not have it sold, and the right to have it all deleted. That’s a big difference compared to the other 49 states.

Not only do you need to know about all the laws that impact your business, but you must also stay on top of all the constant updates to these policies. Privacy regulations change all the time. This year new data privacy statuses go into effect for Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia that are similar in nature to the California law I mentioned.

Businesses need to stay on top of all these laws and changes to stay compliant. Some laws carry penalties for a data breach, and fines can increase greatly if it happened due to a lack of sufficient security. Other laws, enact fines based on a breached record count. HIPAA, for instance, does both. Fines can be from $100 to $50k per record based on the level of negligence found.

Does that sound expensive? Yeah, it is.

They’re forcing businesses to take it seriously. The cost of a data breach to the organization is expensive. Very expensive. Far more than the cost to apply appropriate security measures. But it’s expensive for the victims who had their data stolen too. Stolen identities, credit issues, and credit monitoring services can all be costly.

In that regard, our advice is to always invest in security for your business. It isn’t very expensive once you compare it to the cost of a breach or other disaster.

On top of it though, you need to stay on top of what regulations you must comply with and stay with your finger on the pulse of any of those updates.

Here are 6 tips to stay up to date on Data Privacy Compliance:

  1. Identify the Regulations You Need to Follow
  2. Stay Aware of Data Privacy Regulation Updates
  3. Do an Annual Review of Your Data Security Standards
  4. Audit Your Security Policies and Procedures
  5. Update Your IT Safeguards As Needed
  6. Keep Employees Trained on Compliance and Data Privacy Policies

Identify the Regulations You Need to Follow

Do you know what data privacy laws your company must follow? As previously mentioned, it can be impacted by a multitude of criteria. To start, you should look at these areas to see how you are impacted.

  • Industry (e.g. healthcare)
  • Where you sell (e.g. European Union)
  • State (e.g. California)
  • City or County (e.g. Los Angeles County ordinances)
  • Federal (e.g. government contracts)

Once you have identified all the areas that impact your company, you won’t get blindsided by one you weren’t aware of.

Stay Aware of Data Privacy Regulation Updates

After you determine what you need to comply with, visit those websites and sign up for update notifications. That will get you to receive every update that can change the privacy rules you need to abide by. Do this for every regulation your business falls under.

In addition, you should send those notifications to more than one person. You don’t want to have something get missed for a silly reason like somebody being on vacation. We recommend creating a shared mailbox or distribution group for all of these notices. That way if there are staff changes you can easily manage the group rather than attempting to update multiple regulatory bodies.

Do an Annual Review of Your Data Security Standards

Review your IT annually. Technology changes are important, and many factors should be considered as they are implemented. What usually doesn’t is if it affects your compliance.

Obviously, large technology integrations have more eyes on them. But smaller changes like replacing old workstations or adding another server might affect your compliance. Make sure you are aware of every device that accesses your network, including mobile devices. Also, ensure your employees are only using approved apps for their work, so you have full knowledge of what touches your network and data.

Compare what you find to the data privacy requirements to ensure you are still compliant.

This is a task that will probably be difficult the first time. Rest assured though, once you are set it should get much easier as you will only be looking at changes to your technology and changes to the laws.

Audit Your Security Policies and Procedures

Review your policies and procedures. You should have standard operating procedures (SOPs) for how to handle data in your company. You should also have a disaster response plan for what to do when a breach takes place. These are all directions to follow and what is expected from each employee.

Audit these policies every year, or if a change in regulations takes effect. You want to ensure that it stays updated to meet changes to the law.

Update Your IT Safeguards As Needed

When you receive the notice of an update to privacy laws, plan for it in advance. Don’t get stuck scrambling to comply at the 11th hour. Get compliant early and get it out of your hair.

Always review these areas of your IT security:

  • Technical safeguards – systems, devices, software, etc…
  • Administrative safeguards – policies, manuals, training, etc…
  • Physical safeguards – doors, keypads, building security, etc…

Keep Employees Trained on Compliance and Data Privacy Policies

Not all employees need to know every little bit about data privacy laws. However, every employee needs to know about privacy policies and how it impacts their work. They should know what your work procedures are, and why. They should also get updated every time there is a change to laws that impacts them. Conduct ongoing training regarding these topics.

Cybersecurity training is an excellent way to keep employees aware of what is expected of them. It also keeps them up to date on security breach trends and what to look out for so they are prepared.

Always log your training. Keep records of what training was initiated, the date, and which employees were educated. This is important to have records of in case you do suffer a breach at some point.

This is all a very complex subject, but you aren’t alone. If you need assistance walking through some of your compliance and security options, get in touch.