What multi-cloud security means for GDPR

If you have customers in the European Union (EU), then the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to your business. When you add multiples clouds into the mix, maintaining compliance can be a challenge.

GDPR is probably the most comprehensive reform to data regulation in recent memory. It has a direct impact on how businesses around the continent and the globe formulate their data storage, security, access, and usage strategies.

The primary objective is to provide EU citizens with more control and transparency over their personal data. It also demands that companies go the extra mile to protect the personal data of their customers and employees.

So as your business evolves and scales, the way you add or remove technologies, collect data, and use it will fall under strict data regulation. Those in the EU and the UK who fail to comply with the requirements of the legislation risk fines that can add up to €20 million or 4% of global revenue.

The cloud makes it easier to manage complexities surrounding compliance effectively. However, companies need to take risks posed by different technologies, cloud computing models, and multi-cloud security into consideration. 

To make it easier, we have come up with a GDPR checklist to follow.

1. Obtain board-level support and establish accountability

If it’s a large enterprise entering the EU marketplace, this whole process starts with getting board-level support. The same rules apply if your website is accessible to EU residents (and you’re collecting their data). 

All board members must understand both the positive and negative implications posed by this regulation. By obtaining board-level support, it’ll be much easier to allocate the resources needed to achieve and maintain compliance and establish accountability.

2. Scope and plan your multi-cloud GDPR compliance project

With the backing of the board, it’s time to revisit the areas of the company that fall under the scope of GDPR. This task isn’t straightforward, so it’s best to appoint a project manager to oversee and manage it. However, the good news is that GDPR unifies data protection regulations across all member states.

Hire a Data Protection Officer (DPO) if you employ more than 10-15 professionals. An experienced DPO will help monitor and maintain data subjects, including the processing of special categories of data, at scale.

To help make this process run smoothly, develop a framework to identify standards, and establish GDPR compliance priorities.

The following resources can help you formulate a robust compliance framework:

This is also the perfect time to identify and deploy a robust multi-cloud management platform and tools. 

If one cloud has 2,000 cloud services, for example, and others have 1,500 each, that’s 5,000 services you need to track, monitor, govern, and secure. In this scenario, a multi-cloud management platform will go a long way to ensure compliance.

3. Sign data processing agreements

Sign a data processing agreement with any third-party services that handle the personal data of your data subjects. If you’re using third-party services to manage the personal data you collect, then data processing agreements are imperative.

These include email services, analytics software, and more. Most of these services boast standard data processing agreements on their websites. It would be best if you went through it and only sign up for services that make sufficient data protection guarantees and compliment your data protection strategies.

4. Make sure someone is accountable for GDPR compliance

Assign accountability for GDPR compliance to someone within the organization. This role is often performed by a GDPR compliance director or DPO who’s empowered to evaluate data protection policies and enforce them across the organization.

If you process oceans of personal data in each member state, you need to appoint a representative in that country. This individual can communicate on your behalf with data protection authorities (in their language). 

However, it’s important to note that some organizations, such as public bodies, aren’t required to appoint a representative in the EU.

5. Get consent for data collection, retention & erasure

Each step in the process should help improve compliance and transparency. In other words, your consumers and users must benefit from more control over their data. But before providing more control, you have to first obtain customer consent for collecting and storing data. 

The personal data stored on cloud servers must have an expiration date. What’s more, users should have the ability to request the deletion of their data, overriding rights of the data controller.

The key here is to make it easy for users and customers to access their information, to correct or update data, and to ask you to stop collecting their data. In the same vein, make it easy to request human intervention whenever automated processes are used to make decisions.

6. Leverage robust security across cloud platforms

If you’re collecting sensitive information, encryption of data across cloud platforms is critical to mitigating risk. While GDPR doesn’t dive deep into the encryption discussion, it’s crucial to deploy robust encryption protocols where encryption keys are stored with the end-user (on the client-side) and not the cloud services provider.

In this scenario, in the unfortunate event of a data breach, the encrypted data is rendered meaningless to bad actors (as they don’t have a decryption key). Furthermore, look for identity and access management, real-time monitoring, and robust Zero Trust protocols. 

All of the above will help you not only maintain GDPR compliance but also reduce your risk exposure, significantly. Done right, you’ll keep your brand name out of the headlines and avert hefty fines.

GDPR checklist:

  • Obtain board-level support
  • Establish accountability
  • Scope and plan your multi-cloud project
  • Sign data processing agreements
  • Make sure someone is accountable for GDPR compliance
  • Get consent for data collection, retention and erasure
  • Leverage robust security protocols across cloud platforms

To learn more about leveraging the cloud to ensure GDPR compliance and enhanced cloud  security, request a commitment-free call back now.

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