Developing a Successful Data Protection Compliance Programme

For a data protection compliance program to be effective, sensitive data footprint should be minimized and regulated and business-critical data should be kept secure and out of the hands of questionable characters. Fortunately, CIPM Certification is now available to help data protection officers from the public and private sectors.

The CIPM Certification is also for those who are looking to pursue an international certification in data privacy. Nowadays, one of the best ways to maintain and develop a program is to approach it as a process instead of a project. If you want to develop an effective and successful data protection compliance program, keep in mind the following:

Create a logical approach to your data protection strategy.

Ensure you have a minimum-security baselines in place including end-point and perimeter security. You need to also analyze how the business operates so you can determine and locate sensitive data. Once the data has been located, you can understand how it is used and created. You can also classify it and know how to prioritise your data assets.

Define what sensitive data is

In essence, sensitive data is any data that can cause financial harm and reputation damage for the reputation when exposed, stolen, or lost. It can also be the reason for the company’s termination. You need to come up with your own unique list of sensitive data which can be PHI, PCI, or other regulated data.

Understand the data lifecycle

To effectively protect your sensitive data, you need to understand its lifecycle. The data lifecycle is as follows: create, store, use, share, archive, and destroy. Knowing and understanding the particular stage a specific file occupies can help you identify the policies you need to apply to ensure it is protected accordingly.

Locate sensitive data

When looking for sensitive data, check your file servers, your CMDB or eGRC platforms, your HR databases, and other systems of record. Once you are able to identify sensitive data, you can use a hybrid approach to safeguard it. You need to also ensure known data has security controls and you can monitor the creation of new data.

It is also crucial that you determine data and privacy protection roles. For instance, a typical organisation, data roles include owners, stakeholders, producers, stewards, and consumers. 

It is vital that the organisation educates individuals about the data security responsibilities that are attached to their roles. Ensure that it is clear to them that their actions toward sensitive data can have a significant impact on the organisation’s reputation and success.

Create a data security process

While laying the foundation for your data security process, you need to consider the following:

  • Resources – Technology, skill sets, and people.
  • Time – Are you responding to an incident or out of compliance?
  • Buy-in – Highlight the importance of change to get buy-in both from the user community and management.

Manage data governance and compliance

Compliance will not always equal security. In other words, just because you comply with regulations and data protection laws, it does not follow that your data is already secure. It is ideal that you set off more stringent standards for your data protection and privacy than required by the law. 

Protect new data using PPT 

Once you are able to locate and protect existing data, make use of data threat modeling to safeguard the organisation against any cyber attacks. As part of your preparation, make sure you apply the PPT process:

  • Create a process for identifying and handling new data
  • Ensure people are aware of the process
  • Use technology to automate as much of your process as possible

Creating an effective data protection compliance program can seem like a challenging task at first glance. However, given that you employ the right tools, technology, and people and take things step-by-step, you’ll be able to see that it is actually doable.