Data records are lost, stolen or compromised at an alarming rate. Currently, it’s estimated that there are more than 6.1 million data records lost every day, a number that averages out to more than 4,000 every single minute. While data breaches occur in businesses of all sizes, small and medium sized businesses are often the target of cyber criminals. This is concerning, but even more worrisome is how unprepared many businesses are for a threat to their data security.

Data breaches aren’t always immediately evident. In fact, it takes an average of 191 days for an organization to identify a data breach and an extra 60-plus days to contain it. There is a tremendous amount of damage that can be done to an individual’s identity in that time frame, and while this is understandably worrisome to consumers, states have data compliance regulations to help safeguard their most sensitive information.

It’s each business’s responsibility to ensure that they have a data compliance plan in place and that it enough to fulfill their legal obligations and to meet their customer’s demands for security. Is your data compliance plan up to the challenge? Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding the Laws About Data Compliance

Data protection laws are focused on maintaining the security of personal data, including during electronic transmissions. In the United States, we do not have any federal level legislation that governs data protection. Instead, we operate off of something called a sectoral approach, which means that in most cases, data protection regulations are handled on a state level.

U.S. based businesses that gather personal information from EU citizens are also required to comply with the rules and regulations outlined in the European Data Protection Act (DPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The first thing that a business needs to do is understand any data compliance regulations that apply in their state of operation and determine if they are required to comply with the EU’s DPA. For example, businesses in the state of North Carolina must notify affected individuals of a breach in data without delay and there are also special regulations governing data obtained for medical and insurance purposes.

Assessing the Health of Your Data Compliance Plan

Any business, especially those that deal with a large volume of personal data, needs to have an effective, robust data compliance plan in place. Simply having one in place is the first important step, next up is assessing its effectiveness in protecting your business and your customers from a data breach.

There are certain hallmarks of an effective data compliance plan to look for. These include documentation of policy and procedures, a dedicated compliance staff member or team, education and training of staff members, monitoring, a system for internal auditing and a plan to respond promptly to a breach.
One of the most important parts of a healthy data compliance plan is a having a team of data protection specialists on your side. Data compliance is a tremendous task. Why not trust the professionals with something that’s so important to your business? If you’d like to know more about data protection, we’re the team of data and IT compliance experts that can give you answers. Contact Proactive IT today to learn more.