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Data protection reform – the laws are changing but are data breach trends?

21/09/2017

EU GDPR: We think we’re ready but are we really?

With the enforcement of the new EU GDPR legislation now just over 8 months away, time is running out fast for companies worldwide wishing to avoid hefty fines in the event of a data breach.

The new regulations must be adhered to by any business, big or small, that handles data pertaining to EU citizens, regardless of where the organisation is based. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million whichever is greater, as well as major business disruption, reputational damage and customer and staff churn.

However, despite the looming threat of financial ruin, a recent survey by Veritas shows that only a third of businesses globally believe they are ready for the EU GDPR and of them, only a handful are truly ready!

The survey revealed that of 900 businesses surveyed across 8 countries (including the UK, US, Germany, France and Japan), just 31% deemed their organisation to be EU GDPR compliant. Worryingly, further investigation by Veritas revealed that, in fact, only 2% of those surveyed were already meeting the requirements of the new legislation.

Data breach incidents on the up and up

The latest report from the Breach Level Index echoes a severe lack of readiness globally, as it highlights the number of records compromised by a data breach incident in the first half of 2017 is already higher than the whole of 2016!

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A staggering 1.9million records were compromised between January and June this year, that’s 37.9% more than the whole of the previous year, and 343% more than the same period of 2016.

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Opting out of the EU GDPR is not an option

If you’re a UK business and under the impression that the EU GDPR won’t affect you due to BREXIT, think again!

Regardless of the UK’s pending departure from the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation must be adhered to by all businesses that handle data belonging to EU citizens, regardless of their geographical location, if they want to avoid being fined in the event of a data breach.

New UK Data Protection Bill

Data protection should be high on the list of priorities for UK organisations, as not only is there an urgent need to prepare for the EU GDPR (enforceable from 28th May 2018), UK data protection laws are also being revamped through a new Data Protection Bill.

In a recent Statement of Intent Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital said:

“Our measures are designed to support businesses in their use of data, and give consumers the confidence that their data is protected and those who misuse it will be held to account.”

“The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world. The Bill will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit. We have some of the best data science in the world and this new law will help it to thrive.”

Under the new Bill, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will be empowered to defend consumer interests and impose greater fines, up to £17million or 4% of global turnover – not dissimilar to the hefty penalties that will be enforced under the EU GDPR.

The Bill will bring the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK law, helping Britain prepare for a successful Brexit.

Further information regarding the new UK Data Protection Bill can be found here

The ICO website is also a useful source of information for those preparing for the EU GDPR – https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/

Take a simple step towards compliance

There’s no denying that achieving EU GDPR compliance takes time, money and resource. One aspect of compliance that can be easily achieved, and at a nominal cost, is that of keeping sensitive data safe on the move.

Modern technology allows us to work 24/7 from almost any location, gone are the days of working 9-5, Monday to Friday, in the office. Accessing information/data, regardless of our location, is something we take for granted, but transporting data outside of the secure environment of the office should involve a little more thought.

USB flash drives have been around for over 15 years now, but are still a very viable solution for anyone wishing to access data on the go, especially if reliable connectivity is an issue. Flash drives in assorted sizes, colours, shapes are readily available and pretty cheap, but when it comes to choosing a USB that will be used to store sensitive information, appearances really don’t matter. It’s what’s on the inside that counts!

Statistics from the ICO show that in the UK, data breach incidents caused by the loss or theft of unencrypted devices are on the rise.

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Investing in a hardware encrypted USB flash drive, such as SafeToGo®, is a simple, cost-effective solution to keeping sensitive data secure on the move. In the event that a hardware encrypted flash drive is lost/stolen and gets into the wrong hands, the data contained on the drive remains secure.

SafeToGo offers the added benefit of being SafeConsole® compatible, enabling IT administrators to centrally manage all devices within the business, providing inventory, audit, control and reporting capabilities.

Find out more about SafeToGo now at www.safetogousb.com

We’re delighted that SafeToGo has been named as a finalist in this year’s Computing Security Awards 2017 in the Encryption Solution of the Year category. Vote for SafeToGo to win now

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