Data protection is an incredibly serious matter for businesses. Slipping up can be eye-wateringly costly – in the three years since Europe’s GDPR update, several millions of euros worth of fines have been handed out to the likes of Google, H&M and British Airways.
The pandemic created further challenges for organisations as entire teams shifted to remote working and opportunistic cyber attacks increased. With risks ranging from operational disruption to legal punishment and reputational disaster, business owners would be wise to seek outside help for reassurance.
Below we highlight the key data protection challenges businesses face in the current environment.
It’s humans, not networks, that are still the primary concern for data protection professionals. Security attacks such as phishing emails prey on the inability of many people to spot signs of suspicious communications or sources.
Anti-phishing training should be widespread to help employees identify cyber risks and proceed with the necessary caution.
A less obvious aspect of data protection is physical security. Empty or reduced-capacity offices create opportunities for attackers with keys, cards or other credentials to break in and access computer systems and confidential documents.
Allowing remote work also creates new risks of employees losing or revealing data to housemates, or strangers if working in public spaces.
Unfortunately, not all employees have innocent intentions either. While rare, there are cases of those who either act maliciously in the job or have the potential to do so after leaving.
It’s common to remove data access privileges when someone leaves, but the gap in which a disgruntled former employee still has access creates vulnerability.
Data protection regulation is constantly evolving in line with new technologies and societal trends. While its overall aim is to make the handling of data safer and ethical, staying on top of updates can be challenging in more complex markets such as technology.
Failure to comply could financially ruin many organisations, so having keen legal experts on hand is essential.
Though similar to security and regulatory risks, privacy has become a concern of its own in recent years as high-profile breaches have exposed vast amounts of customer data.
The issue is what led to the strengthening of GDPR and other similar legislations, and it’s one that could become even more controversial as the power of so-called big tech comes sharper into focus.
Data protection is a topic that businesses neglect at their peril. Are any of these threats especially pertinent to yours?