Compliance is everyone’s business. For small island developing nations across the Caribbean and Latin America, compliance plays a major role in digital transformation efforts. Compliance officers at organizations operating within the public sector, finance, legal, or even healthcare are not only bound by law to meet certain regulatory compliance obligations but are also required to meet strict rules about how they manage a client’s personal information.
By building a strong compliance regime, organizations across the Caribbean have been able to inspire customer confidence, align themselves with the highest global standards, and raise the profile of the region as an emerging safe space for ongoing technological advancement, improved information security, and data protection. Conversely, failing to meet these internationally accepted compliance standards could spell disaster. The onset of the global pandemic exposed major cracks in the infrastructure mechanisms governing major sectors like healthcare, education, and the economy by presenting new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit those deficiencies. As the regional threats have become more complex, the implementation of new security requirements and the adoption of global compliance standards have become an even more critical exercise for organizations across the region.
Building your compliance strategy
With such issues posing a threat to an organization’s compliance strategy, how can companies go about ensuring that they’re able to attain and maintain an adequate compliance status? In this series, on compliance, we’ll look at each of these items and outline steps that can be taken by your organization to meet internationally accepted rules on compliance.
When considering your organization’s compliance strategy, there are a few actionable areas your organization should focus on, first and foremost, you will want to secure your data.
Securing your data
From the perspective of compliance, your organization’s information security strategy should take on a multi-layered approach that has the necessary network, operational, and data asset security controls in place to protect your organization’s sensitive data whether it is at rest, being transported, or in the cloud.
- Use Privileged Access Management (PAM) protocol
- These tools help compliance officers control who has access to what data. You can assign and revoke access to sensitive material as needed.
- Encryption is key
- Encryption tools are particularly important when data is being
- transferred but even at rest, this technology keeps your sensitive data safe from prying eyes.
- Data processing – including data handling, destruction, and data retention
- Your compliance officer should be paying close attention to the legal retention/holding periods that govern your jurisdiction and industry. Depending on the data protection laws you are held accountable to, it’s important to note how long you must legally hold on to data, handling requirements, and other key elements. To remain compliant, you may need to safely destroy certain PII after a specified period.
- Use technology
- In today’s world, there are countless technology solutions designed to help organizations manage their information security, the most common being automation. Removing the possibility of human error by automating processes can ensure that your company complies with data processing regulations in your specific jurisdiction and decreases the occurrence of the most common mistakes.
- Assess and educate
- This duo is particularly important for compliance officers. Conducting regular risk assessments can help determine where potential data security hotspots exist within your organization. Knowing where your company is most vulnerable can help reduce the risk of breaches. Equally important is making sure that members of your staff are educated in best practices. Each employee should go through the necessary security awareness training to make them aware of how to manage information and how to avoid phishing or vishing attacks.
- Engage a managed services provider (MSP)
- Maybe you don’t have the time or resources to personally manage all aspects of your business's data protection and information security. Engaging a managed services provider, like Cloud Carib can give you access to the manpower and technology resources required to keep your data safe and your company compliant. Make sure you vet your MSP thoroughly and pick a provider that will meet your compliance needs.
Now that you’ve taken some initial steps to secure your data, part 2 of our series will discuss Personally Identifiable Information (PII). What it is, why protecting it is important and how failing to do so could spell major compliance woes for your organization.