The data police are coming. Be ready.
Statutory regulations for how you handle data, where you store it, and who has access to it are tightening in the wake of repeated high-profile data breaches of major companies. In this environment, having an audit trail is imperative to not only preventing the mishandling of information, but also providing an audit trail. Every time someone in your organization moves data, you should have a record that will help you meet chain of custody requirements. Let’s see how you can make that happen in three steps.
1. Perform a Data Audit
The first step to automating your data management is to do a data audit. This article does an excellent job of laying out the basics. Once you establish the map of how users move, use, and store data in your organization, you can create your plan for automating the management of it.
You will also need to look at value versus risk when examining what to do with data. Some data your system currently collects may not have a great deal of business value to your organization. At the same time, the penalties for mishandling it can be significant in the event of a breach. For compliance, you also do not want to waste time managing data that has low value and high risk.
2. Ask Questions
It’s essential to gather as much information as possible and find out what you do and don’t know about the data your organization creates, collects, and stores. Here are a few questions to start with:
- Is this data valuable to the company?
- Are we legally required to store it and for how long?
- What risk does this data represent?
Once you make these determinations, you can create the workflows necessary to funnel your incoming data into the correct channels and generate the audit logs to prove you are meeting or exceeding the standards.
3. Bucket Your Data and Create Corresponding Access Classifications
When you're looking at the step by step processes and individual tasks related to compliance, it's an excellent time to go even deeper by segregating your data into categories based on need to know. For example, maybe your marketing and accounting departments need to know how many clients you have in California, and how much revenue you get from each of them, but don't need to know names, phone numbers, or other personally identifiable information.
With something like Self Service, you can create an on-demand executable workflow that pulls the client data and excludes information the requestor doesn't need to see. This tool can help your organization refine who has access to sensitive data while still allowing your users to do their jobs. The comprehensive client data can then be in a restricted-access database and much less vulnerable to a breach.
If your organization is seeking an automation solution to help with compliance and data management, SMA Technologies is ready to help you. We have four decades of experience helping clients, many of whom are in the financial industry, automate their enterprises.