The crucial role of data protection in businesses
It’s always been important for organisations to safeguard sensitive information, but that need has never been more pressing. Not only do businesses now tend to collect more data – whether through their website or applications – but customers are now more aware of what their data is used for. On top of this, regulations such as GDPR have imposed stricter controls on what data is collected, how it is stored, and how long it is kept for.
Data protection is vital from a legal perspective, but it also provides businesses with the necessary tools and frameworks to protect themselves as well as their customers. Below, we’ll explore how businesses benefit from implementing advanced cybersecurity measures to ensure data protection compliance, and how this links to the ISO-27001 Information Security accreditation.
1. Advanced cybersecurity
In the current era, cyber threats are both increasingly sophisticated, and more actively targeted at smaller businesses. As a result, organisations of all sizes need to proactively invest in advanced cybersecurity measures to protect critical data. This means employing advanced cybersecurity technologies and practices, including both hardware and software firewalls, end-to-end encryption for business communications, website encryption, multi-factor authentication for your business apps, and routine penetration testing.
It’s also worth reassessing your existing, simpler cybersecurity protocols and practices. An obvious example is how you update software. Updating your apps and operating systems of your hardware is important, but so is your website, where issues such as using an outdated PHP version can cause critical security vulnerabilities. Hardware such as networked printers and photocopiers can also slip through the net, with firmware upgrades providing vital security updates.
By implementing both passive and active safeguards – and staying across the latest developments in cyber security – businesses can prevent unauthorised access to their systems; safeguard employee and customer data; and avoid the potentially catastrophic consequences of cyber attacks, such as reputation damage, financial loss, and legal liabilities.
Any business that sells or operates in Europe will be aware of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). A working knowledge of GDPR is crucial for businesses across industries, as it encompasses all data on both customers and clients. Adopting data compliance frameworks can provide guidelines on how to meet GDPR requirements, ensuring that businesses handle personal and sensitive data responsibly.
Perhaps the guiding principle of GDPR is not to obtain data without explicit permission on what you collect, why you’re collecting it, and how long you intend to keep it for. This applies to all non-anonymised data, no matter how innocuous, and should be considered akin to a contract between the organisation and the customer or client. You cannot, for instance, collect data for one given reason and then use it for another purpose.
By working with an IT service provider to establish your GDPR compliance – or to apply a framework such as ISO 27001 (see below) – businesses can foster trust with their customers, avoid costly penalties and fines, and maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly privacy-conscious market. As demonstrating data security is also good for business, compliance also encourages other companies to implement necessary data protection measures, promoting more secure and resilient information systems everywhere.
ISO-27001 is an internationally recognised accreditation for information security management systems (ISMS). The ISO 27001 framework covers the gamut of data protection, from risk assessments and incident management to access controls and staff training. As such, achieving ISO-27001 certification not only demonstrates a business’ commitment to managing information securely, but almost ensures that it will be.
The process of obtaining an ISO-27001 accreditation requires that you establish a robust information security management framework, enabling you to identify vulnerabilities, mitigate risks, and continuously improve your security practices. ISO-27001 certification can also enhance a business’ reputation, instil customer confidence, and facilitate collaboration and information sharing with any partners who prioritise data protection, a common requirement in public sector contracts.
In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the importance of data protection cannot be overstated. Businesses that prioritise advanced cybersecurity, compliance with data protection regulations, and pursuing the ISO-27001 Information Security Accreditation gain numerous advantages.
By safeguarding their data, businesses can mitigate risks, build customer trust, and maintain a competitive edge in today’s data-driven world. Sota offer professional services for advanced cyber security, compliance, and ISO-27001 information security accreditation. Engage with us, and build your data safeguarding credentials with confidence.