With more information than ever stored online, data theft and security breaches are only increasing. As a business owner, it’s up to you to protect your assets – and your customers’ information too.
Here’s where General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data storage compliance comes in. Regardless of where work is done, GDPR has strict rules to make sure businesses do more to protect consumer data. So, whether you’re office-based or work from your kitchen, it’s essential you understand your responsibilities when it comes to collecting, storing and managing personal data – and for your team to be in the loop too.
Let's look at some easy-to-follow data storage protection principles.
Before we get started, it’s important to first under what GDPR covers. First introduced in 2018, and in place right across Europe, GDPR is one of the toughest privacy and security laws in the world. It’s designed to give people power over how their data is collected, used, stored and protected both online and offline – and limits what organisations can do with this data. This stretches from a person's name and address to any information that can be used to identify them.
The added complexity of remote working can make it harder to avoid data breaches, as information is often transferred between and stored across multiple devices.
For starters, using your own personal devices puts you at risk of mixing your business’ data with your personal information. While working from your own laptop or phone might feel more convenient, if it isn’t completely secure, you could leave the door open for a data breach.
So, clicking on unfamiliar links, opening attachments from people you don’t know or visiting unsafe websites are all threats you should be aware of. The best way to keep the data your business collects safe is to give staff approved laptops and phones – or put in place clear security guidelines that must be applied to all personal devices.
It’s important to know that collecting and using information outside of the office doesn’t break GDPR rules, but all information must be protected against any potential risks – no matter where it’s stored.
The best way to keep this data safe is through a type of encryption software. This software makes sure all personal information remains secure when sharing it across your business and makes sure only the right people can read it. IBM’s Security Guardium Data Encryption (GDE) is a popular piece of software for protecting and controlling who has access to data.
Another way to keep information safe is to use a VPN (virtual private network). Essentially, using a VPN disguises your data online and protects it from would-be hackers. If this is the route you choose, NordLayer, Express VPN and Surfshark are widely used to protect and ensure the anonymity of web traffic – allowing data to be shared safely.
One of the best ways to reduce risk is to make sure your team know how to keep personal and company data safe; raising awareness of potential risks should go hand in hand with this. By investing in a training course and making it mandatory for your team to attend, you can teach them how to spot and prevent an issue to help cut the problem off at the source.
Most GDPR training courses will need to be paid for, to ensure your team have the most up-to-date and accurate information. And although this might seem like an unnecessary cost, it could save you thousands in fees if your team aren’t GDPR compliant. This two-day course provides a complete introduction to everything you need to know about GDPR.
No matter where they’re based, every team member is responsible for ensuring sensitive information is stored securely. After all, a data breach won’t only come with huge implications under GDPR, but customers will also lose trust in your business. So, to protect your business’ reputation, setting up a secure process for storing data is key – but this alone won’t mean your business is GDPR compliant.
By following the simple steps we’ve laid out here, you can switch from being reactive to proactive, and reducing security risks before they arise is an easy way to start meeting your GDPR storage obligations and protecting your customers.
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