Turn GDPR Compliance into Lemonade

Lacy GruenBy Lacy Gruen, RES

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” goes the popular saying, which inspires us to tackle life’s challenges in a positive way to help us grow and learn from hardships. For organizations struggling to meet the upcoming GDPR compliance deadline in May 2018, it may be difficult to view the massive data privacy compliance project as a positive, a piece of investment that can change the way an organization stores and handles user data for the better.

But how can an organization successfully turn GDPR “lemons” into lemonade? By using this time to solidify its overall compliance strategy, an organization can get a return on its GDPR compliance investment. Below is a quick summary of the payoff an organization can potentially see from implementing a comprehensive GDPR strategy:

  • Better data- and analytics-driven decision-making — visibility around data and access to data can help with both GDPR compliance and other IT or business initiatives.
  • Long-term customer/brand loyalty— customers want to know that the company they are buying from cares about protecting its users’ data.
  • Greater organizational agility—having automation around data access in place allows an organization to be nimble to respond to business changes and needs.
  • Reduced cybersecurity risk— security controls that are put in place for GDPR compliance can potentially help an organization protect against IT security threats such as ransomware.
  • Higher-value allocation of IT staff— some automation tools are flexible enough to not only automate the enforcement of data policies but automate many other IT tasks along the way.
  • Reduced overall compliance and audit costs— organizations most likely have multiple regulations to comply with, so streamlining auditing will help with more than just GDPR compliance.
  • Avoidance of GDPR-related fines— GDPR has set up hefty penalties for those who are not in compliance with the regulation, and any smart organization should plan to avoid the maximum non-compliance fine of 4% of the firm’s annual turnover.

Studies show that organizations are allocating significant budgets for GDPR compliance. But what are the key areas that organizations should invest in to ensure that GDPR compliance pays off in the long-run?

Key investment #1: Good data governance

Disciplined and diligent data governance is a must for any GDPR compliance effort. An organization cannot effectively manage and protect customer data if it does not know where it is located. For GDPR compliance, businesses must make an active effort to locate all user data, to know exactly what it consists of, and where the data originated. It also needs to define and enforce policies regarding how data is viewed, used, copied and accessed.

Key investment #2: Context-based mobile workspace controls

In the age of the digital workspace, employees take their digital identities everywhere with them, expecting to get their work done effectively regardless of the time of day or physical location. In fact, the majority of employers expect that employees work on-the-go from their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and home desktops. This is an issue for organizations that continue to depend on static, perimeter-based technologies to control access to sensitive data resources.

The only way to ensure that customer data doesn’t travel anywhere it shouldn’t—and that all use of customer data is legitimate and traceable—is to manage data access in context. Context and associated policies determine what is and isn’t allowed. It also provides the usage data essential for GDPR audit reporting.

Key investment #3: Streamline privilege administration with automation and delegation

Many employees unnecessarily have more access than they need to company data, posing a serious risk to GDPR compliance—as well as to general cybersecurity. The solution to the problem of creeping privilege is to streamline the administration of access rights. Automation also enables IT to put a “freshness date” on privileges so they don’t last indefinitely. Organizations can also fight privilege creeping by using delegation tools that empower LOB managers, HR admins, and other non-IT stakeholders to perform access administrative as appropriate. This adaptive, business-aligned approach to access control can significantly reduce total organizational privileging without impairing anyone’s ability to be productive.

Key investment #4: Anti-ransomware whitelisting

Ransomware attacks now impact about half of all businesses, and ransomware techniques continue to become more sophisticated. These attacks often take the form of social engineering techniques that circumvent cybersecurity perimeter defenses by tricking human users into clicking a malicious link or opening a malicious attachment.

Effective ransomware defense requires multiple counter-measures, including frequent data backups and aggressive user education. However, any organization seeking to fend off ransomware and similar cyberattacks must also implement some form of workspace whitelisting. Effective whitelisting is thus closely related to automated privilege administration (key investment #3)—with the added dimension of disallowing access to non-whitelisted resources.

Key investment #5: Push-button offboarding

Another related and essential capability for GDPR compliance is push-button offboarding. As noted above, employees can accumulate many privileges over time. So when they leave an organization, those privileges must be revoked immediately.

Revocation of a user’s privileges can tend to be slow, leaving organizations vulnerable to data leakage. This is a huge GDPR and data security no-no. Every organization needs an offboarding mechanism that triggers complete revocation of all privileges across all systems—on-premise and in the cloud—without exception immediately upon a termination or transfer event in the company’s HR system.

Regulations change and new legislation continue to pop up, but if an organization take the right data protection measures now, an organization will have the right tools in place to make its life much easier in the future. Businesses that properly view GDPR compliance as one part of a broader effort to better govern data the digital enterprise—traversing compliance, security, and automation—will significantly out-perform their more complacent competitors. And that performance will have a tangible, positive impact on the bottom line.

Bio: Lacy Gruen is a Director at global digital workspace provider RES, where she works to develop go-to-market strategy and help customers find solutions that will solve the real IT challenges of today and the future.

IoT and Mobile Security with Zimperium CPO John Michelsen (Podcast)

ZimperiumIn this podcast, Preston, our guest John Michelsen, CPO of Zimperium, and I discuss mobile security and extrapolate what’s happening in that space to what’s happening, and about to happen, with IoT security. We touch on monitoring, general security, costs, and the bigger problem of security implementation on devices that until recently were used based on an “air of trust.”

April is our “Month of Preventing Surprises” and this podcast kicks off that topic for The SecurityNOW Show. How awkward would it be to move headlong into a large IoT implementation only to realize that someone has easily hacked your devices and siphoned off your data? Surprise!

Mobile security has come a long way in the past two years with the adoption of higher security measures from vendors and third parties, such as per-app VPN, two-factor authentication, and containerization. IoT vendors will have to step up and enable encryption, use multi-factor authentication, and wipe or brick devices that have been compromised or moved. The Internet of Things may very well be security’s biggest challenge yet, not only because of the sheer numbers of devices but also because of device diversity.

Preston, John, and I just touch the surface of these topics in this podcast but stay tuned for more from all three of us on IoT security.

Podcast details:

Length: 20:45 minutes. Format: MP3. Rating: G for all audiences.

Licensed CC BY (2017)

A SecurityNOW Less Than Private Privacy Discussion (Podcast)

Privacy PleasePreston and I decided to discuss the latest in privacy at Shiloh’s Restaurant in Broken Arrow a few days ago. As you’ll hear on the podcast, we perhaps needed more privacy. I apologize for the background noise but you can think of it as a lesson in security in that our conversation at times was obfuscated by surrounding conversations and music that didn’t seem to start playing until we hit the Record button. Such is life. We deal with our surroundings all the time, which makes me believe that our choice of venue for this podcast was the perfect setting to have a conversation on privacy. It works on many levels.

During our talk, Preston and I ponder the outcome of the Congressional decision to remove current privacy legislation and put it firmly in the hands of someone grossly unqualified to make such a decision. In any case, I think we need to join together in embracing privacy much like the EU has with GDPR, which we’ve discussed in another podcast.

Stay tuned for more commentary as the situation develops.

Podcast details:

Length: 19:26 minutes. Format: MP3. Rating: G for all audiences.

Seriously, please write your Congressman and your Senators about this. It’s too important to leave in unqualified hands.

SecurityNOW’s Cybersecurity Tips of the Week – March 31, 2017

TipsPasswords, they used to say, are like toothbrushes–don’t share them and change them often. Indeed that rule is still true but security is more than just changing your passwords often and keeping them to yourself. Passwords, unfortunately, are our first line of defense in protecting our online accounts, our identities, and our transactions. Passwords should be as long and as complex as possible, which is why you should use a password manager such as LastPass. LastPass will generate a random, long, and complex password that you don’t have to remember because it remembers them for you. There’s only two things you have to remember when you use LastPass: logoff of LastPass before you leave your computer and the LastPass master password.

And since passwords aren’t your only defense in this cyber-connected and unsafe world, I’m providing a list of tips to help keep you safe and secure during your online excursions. Read and heed.

  1. Use the screen lock feature of your phones, tablets, and computers.
  2. Use a random non-guessable passcode for unlocking screens.
  3. Use a password manager.
  4. Use different passwords for each online account (saved in your password manager)
  5. Install all hardware and software updates as they’re presented.
  6. Only install apps from the app store and only those that have many good reviews.
  7. Turn off tracking from your apps.
  8. Use a VPN or your cellular network in public places.
  9. Keep phone conversations private.
  10. Perform online banking in private.
  11. Use two-factor authentication on social media and financial sites.
  12. Cover your device when entering passwords.

I know these are tips that you read and hear all the time but you need to remember them at all times. There is no trusted public environment and a secured WiFi connection is no guarantee of security. Anyone can setup a WiFi connection and supply a common password to it.

If you ever have questions about cybersecurity, use our contact page to ask your questions. We will reply.

BigID CEO Dimitri Sirota Discusses GDPR (Podcast)

BigIDPreston and I had the pleasure of speaking with BigID CEO Dimitri Sirota about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and what it means to American businesses. We discussed several topics surrounding compliance such as dealing with GDPR and EU businesses, costs of compliance, pain points, where to find more information, and some solutions.

The main point of GDPR is to give users control of their personal data. For one, GDPR requires explicit permission from the data owner to allow personal data to be used. GDPR also includes the right to be forgotten or erased, which is a big topic of discussion for Preston and me.

In the US, public records can be scraped by anyone with the money to pay for the service. If you don’t understand what I mean, open a browser and type in your name. Google will return a few dozen hits with links to companies that will sell all public information about you to scammers, thieves, blackmailers, and others who have less than savory intentions.

These sources have access to your home address, former addresses, family member names, ages, dates of birth, court cases, arrests, traffic violations, and much more. You’ll be shocked. I’ve attempted to remove myself from as many of these lists as possible because I feel it’s a violation of my privacy and of my right to privacy. The European Union (EU) agrees.

Podcast details:

Length: 25:44 minutes. Format: MP3. Rating: G for all audiences.

I have to apologize for my sound quality. It only affected my microphone. My gain was too high. Preston and I didn’t discover the problem until after the interview, which is really too late to do anything about it. I tried to fix it but had little luck in doing so. We have since resolved the issue.

Enjoy and stay secure.

March 2017 – Cybersecurity Spring Cleaning Month

Cybersecurity Spring CleaningPreston and I discuss doing some cybersecurity spring cleaning. This podcast lists some areas of security you might not have considered while doing your spring cleaning–but you should. We cover software updates, public WiFi and its dangers, app security and private information, in-app purchases, saved credit card information, and webcam paranoia.

Don’t miss this important podcast that will help you prevent theft and protect your privacy.

Podcast details:

Length: 19:51 minutes. Format: MP3. Rating: G for all audiences.

Copyright 2017 SecurityNOW Open Source License: CC BY