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Data Compliance

Data Compliance : A Detailed Guide for IT Leaders

31

MARCH, 2021

by Ukpai Ugochi

So, As the leader of a DevOps or agile team at a rising software company, how do you ensure that users’ sensitive information is properly secured? Users are on the internet on a daily basis for communication, business, and so on. While accessing the internet, they often input sensitive information that ought to be confidential, like credit card details. Various firms may need to retrieve, process, and store this information. For instance, a firm may need to store a user’s credit card information in its system so the user doesn’t need be asked for their card details whenever they want to make a purchase. Users trust that you will keep their information safe, and there are many data compliance regulations in place to ensure that you do so.

So, how do you make sure that your team makes security a priority as it works to ship features to users? DevOps teams face the challenge of needing to deliver application updates as frequently as possible. During this process, team members tend to leave application security as a final cleanup operation. When this happens, application security is poorly done, which may result in neglect of data compliance.

What, then, is data compliance, and why is it so important that IT leaders put it in place?

 

What Is Data Compliance?

Data compliance is simply following rules that ensure your organization manages its users’ data—and especially their sensitive data—securely. Users trust firms to guard their information, from credit card details to their home address to their Social Security number. And the firms, in turn, trust their IT departments to ensure that users’ information is secure at all times.

IT leaders are in charge of IT-related projects; it’s their job to make sure users’ information is constantly secured. Therefore, policies have to be in place to help IT companies protect data according to the laws of the region where they and their users reside.

Why Do We Need Data Compliance?

When hackers get a hold of users’ information, they misuse users’ data. As a result, companies face security threats from the data breach. IT leaders are responsible for making sure users’ data is properly stored. Below are some reasons why IT leaders should implement data compliance in their company.

Security

When companies do not heed data compliance regulations, it can result in a security breach. For instance, if companies do not properly protect users’ data, hackers could obtain it and do malicious things to users. Therefore, it’s the duty of IT leaders to secure the data of the users who have trusted them with sensitive information.

Business Reputation

Legal actions resulting from a security breach are never good for a business’s reputation. News travels very fast, and users won’t want to associate with organizations that have a record of data neglect or infringement.

When a firm records a breach of data, it may put on hold shipping new features to allow proper investigations and follow-up actions. As such, there’s a possibility that firms will fall into downtime or fail to release that big feature they have been planning to ship to users.

That’s because the company should thoroughly investigate the cause of the data breach and may start enforcing new policies to prevent it from happening again. All of these actions would have an overall impact in the performance of the organization and may reduce its reputation. A bad business reputation is not good for any company; therefore, IT leaders need to enforce data compliance policies. Data compliance policies should be in place for DevOps teams to ensure security is not a final cleanup operation but part of the building process.

Financial Loss

Even after destroying a company’s reputation, a data breach almost always results in massive financial loss. IT security standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) will fine companies for data security noncompliance. Users can even pursue legal action against companies that fail to secure their data properly. A data breach can result in company shares dropping and financial loss.

And what about loss incurred from company downtime? While the company is trying to fix the mess it is in, employees may put shipping features on hold. There’s no good side to noncompliance. So, enforcing data compliance should always be a priority for companies and IT leaders.

IT Security Standards To Know

We’ve seen how disastrous it can be when IT leaders fail to enforce data compliance policies in their companies. Well, who is in charge of listening to users or ensuring that firms don’t break the rules?

IT security standardization comprises of organizations coming together to verify that companies are data-compliant. These organizations will not fail to penalize those who default on data compliance policies when they get a hold of them. Below are some IT security standards and the measures taken against defaulters.

General Data Protection Regulation

The focus of GDPR is protecting users’ data and privacy in the European Union. GDPR also regulates the transfer of the individual personal data of residents of the EU and a couple other countries outside of those regions.

IT leaders and companies in those regions must clearly state why they are processing users’ data and how long they will retain that data. GDPR regulates data collection and makes sure companies collect only the required data from users. It is paramount that users consent to sharing their information with companies. Companies should also inform their users about any third-party data sharing.

A company that fails to adhere to GDPR policies may be fined €10 million to €20 million or 2% to 4% of its entire global turnover from the preceding fiscal year, depending on the severity of its violations.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability

For medical technology companies, enforcing HIPAA is a priority. This rule ensures that health care organizations do not disclose patients’ sensitive health information without their consent or knowledge.

Violation of this law can cost companies fines between $100 and $50,000 per record, depending on the severity of its violations.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

Most e-commerce and FinTech companies require users to put their credit card information into their system. How do users hold these companies accountable and ensure they are protecting their data? The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) secures users’ card information by creating a secure environment for processing, keeping, and transferring card information.

PCI DSS provides tools to help companies confirm their level of PCI compliance. It also provides payment application DSS to secure payment applications.

While violation of this standard can cause a company’s users to lose money because their credit card information has been compromised, the company will also be fined by PCI DSS from $5,000 to $100,000 until it is compliant.

How To Achieve Proper Data Compliance

We’ve seen that, unlike what most people argue about UI/UX, security is paramount in software releases. How, then, can the DevOps team focus on the core functionality of its applications and still implement security seamlessly? In this section, we will look at the ways IT leaders can manage the balancing act between prioritizing data compliance and shipping new features to users.

Data Sheets

With data sheets, you can summarize in detail the performance of your software regarding its regulatory or client-specific requirements. With Enov8’s data compliance suite, IT leaders can drop traditional data management methods and embrace automated capabilities that provide security and compliance. This tool eradicates the tradition of implementing security features as a final cleanup operation.

With Enov8’s tool, teams can automate data compliance reporting with each code build, even before deploying code and shipping features to users.

Visuals

With Enov8’s visuals, there is transparency in each release of software features, from data operations to application operations. Visuals ranging from test environment management, Environment Management Maturity Index, and test data management are available. This way, the IT leader sees visual metrics of all that concerns company products.

Test Data Management

Enov8 provides case studies in Asia-Pacific regions with its large bank of holistic test data. This tool provides test data management methods. With these test data management methods, IT leaders can avoid disruption or project delays caused by human error. They can also prevent data or personally identifiable information that isn’t guaranteed to be GDPR-compliant from being delivered.

Make Data Compliance Your Top Priority

In this post, we have emphasized the importance of implementing data compliance policies in companies. We have also looked at ways IT leaders can effect data compliance in organizations.

We have looked at some IT security standards that verify the implementation of data compliance in firms and how firms can be penalized for defaulting.

Data compliance is of utmost importance in companies. Therefore, it should not be the last procedure before shipping a product. Data compliance should be at the forefront of every IT leader’s mind before and after building a product. Security breaches can cost you the trust of your customers, and when you break this trust, you may never regain it. As such, IT leaders should always make data compliance a priority.

You can read more about the tools Enov8 provides to aid data compliance here. If you want to read more about securing data, this post is a great fit for you.

Ukpai Ugochi

Ukpai is a full stack JavaScript developer (MEVN), and she contributes to FOSS in her free time. She loves to share knowledge about her transition from marine engineering to software development to encourage people who love software development and don’t know where to begin.

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