In the digital age, protecting data has become increasingly important. Cyber threats are a real and constant danger, and as such, regulations and rules have been put in place to safeguard sensitive information. Many organizations have implemented data privacy policies to comply with these regulations. In the United States, for example, the healthcare industry and their partners must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), while anyone collecting payment card data must adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a data protection regulation with far-reaching consequences, affecting anyone selling to EU citizens. However, these are just a few examples of industry and international data privacy regulations. Many states and local jurisdictions have their own data privacy laws, and organizations must be aware of these compliance requirements, as well as any updates to these rules. By the end of 2024, around 75% of the world's population will have its data protected by one or more privacy regulations.
Authorities frequently introduce new data privacy regulations, and in 2023, four states in the United States, namely Colorado, Utah, Connecticut, and Virginia, will begin enforcing new data privacy statutes. For organizations, it is crucial to stay on top of their data privacy compliance requirements. Failure to do so can result in severe consequences. Many standards carry hefty penalties for a data breach, and if security measures are found to be inadequate, fines can be even higher. For instance, HIPAA uses a sliding scale to determine fines for violations, ranging from $100 to $50,000 per breached record. The fine increases depending on how negligent the company was.
All of this can be overwhelming, but there are steps businesses can take to stay on top of data privacy updates. The following tips can help organizations keep up with the latest data privacy regulations:
1. Identify the Regulations You Need to FollowIt is crucial to identify all the various data privacy regulations that an organization may be subject to. These may include regulations based on industry, where an organization sells its products or services, statewide rules, city or county ordinances, and federal regulations for government contractors. By identifying these regulations, organizations can ensure that they are not caught off guard by new rules they were not aware of.
2. Stay Aware of Data Privacy Regulation UpdatesStaying on top of any changes to data privacy regulations is crucial. Organizations can sign up for updates on the appropriate websites to avoid being blindsided by a data privacy rule change. For example, those in the healthcare field can sign up for HIPAA updates at HIPAA.gov. It is essential to sign up for updates for each regulation that an organization falls under and to have updates sent to more than one person to ensure that they do not get missed if someone is on vacation.
3. Do an Annual Review of Your Data Security StandardsCompanies are continually evolving their technology, and any changes to an organization's IT environment can mean falling out of compliance with data privacy regulations. It is crucial to do at least an annual review of an organization's data security and match it with its data privacy compliance requirements to ensure that everything is in order.
4. Audit Your Security Policies and ProceduresAnother critical aspect of staying on top of data privacy compliance is to audit an organization's security policies and procedures. These written documents inform employees of what is expected of them and provide direction when it comes to data privacy and how to handle a breach. It is essential to audit security policies annually and whenever there is a data privacy regulation update to ensure that an organization is encompassing any new changes to its requirements.
5. Update Your Technical, Physical & Administrative Safeguards As NeededWhen an organization receives a notification of an upcoming data privacy update, planning ahead is crucial. It is best to comply with the rule before
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