CIO Talk

GDPR Compliance will pave way for Global change

By Nikhil Taneja, Managing Director-India, SAARC& Middle East

Way back in 2012, the European Commission (EU) proposed a comprehensive reform of the data protection rules in the EU. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the largest reform in data protection law in 20 years. The regulation provides protection concerning the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data. It entered into force on May 24, 2016 and it will get into action from May 25, 2018.

Let’s address some questions that are relevant to organizations on this proposed rule:

What is meant by “personal data?”

Personal data is any information relating to an identified or identifiable person. There is no distinction between a person’s private, public, or work roles. Personal data can include information on – Name, Email id, Phone Number, Social media posts, Physical, genetic or physiological information, Medical information, Cultural identity, Location, Bank details and also IP address and Cookies.

How will GDPR impact organizations across the globe?

This ruling contains many requirements about how you collect, store, and use personal information. Which means not only do you need to identify and secure the personal data in your systems, but also k now how you accommodate new transparency requirements, how to detect and report personal data breaches, and how to train privacy personnel and employees, a critical aspect for the compliance.

Given how much is involved, organizations and the concerned CXO’s, CISO’s should not wait until the regulation takes effect to prepare. There is a need to begin reviewing privacy and data management practices now for companies.

It is important to note that failure to comply with the GDPR could prove costly, as companies that do not meet the requirements and obligations could face substantial fines and reputational harm.

How to market it to customers and create trust across public and stakeholders?

In the last few years, consumer research shows a decline in trust and an increased level of concern with regards to protection and processing of their personal data and this is believed to have  a great influence on the future growth of digital technologies.

The GDPR provides EU residents with control over their personal data through a set of “data subject rights.” This includes the right to:

  • Access readily-available information in plain language about how personal data is used
  • Object to processing of data for specific uses, such as marketing or profiling
  • Access personal data
  • Have incorrect personal data deleted or corrected
  • Have personal data rectified and erased in certain circumstances
  • Restrict or object to processing of personal data
  • Receive a copy of personal data

For the EU citizen, the GDPR means a reinforcement of their individual rights, while businesses restore the trust of their consumers. The GDPR is creating a compliance model that takes into account many of the compliance initiatives in other countries. Yet, GDPR has much broader scope and complexity to the handling and sharing of personal identifying information.

What are the enforcement actions?

This is a very important question to all …

Not abiding to the GDPR will result in enforced action, including fines of up to € 20,000,000 or 4% of an organization’s annual worldwide revenue when facing a breach of the data protection rules. The GDPR includes provisions that promote accountability and governance that can be audited with non-compliance leading to administrative fines of up to € 10,000,000 or 2% of annual worldwide revenue.

What would be global action on this?

Whenever a company wants to trade or do business with one or several of the EU Member States, it will have to prove adequacy – in other words its data protection standards would have to be equivalent to the EU’s GDPR starting May of 2018. This virtually makes GDPR a global, worldwide regulation affecting organizations and businesses around the globe.

Relevant industries doing business outside of the EU with data from EU citizens that fall under this compliance would include – hotels, airlines, insurance, banking, travel companies, e commerce websites, SAS platforms, retailers who ship or store EU customer data, etc.

What does it mean for online businesses and cloud service providers?

For them, GDPR compliance would mean adherence to the principles of “Privacy by Design” and “Data Protection by Design” during the design, development, implementation and deployment of web applications or services and any components or services associated with them. With the rapid adoption of cloud services, there is a heightened concern with regard to the readiness of these applications and services. A recent study conducted by Symantec/Bluecoat shows that 98% of today’s cloud applications do not even come close to being GDPR ready.


Based on recital 39( the GDPR, personal data should be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security and confidentiality, including preventing unauthorized access to or use of personal data and the equipment used for the processing.

Recital 49 goes further by requiring the ability of a network or an information system to resist accidental events or unlawful or malicious actions that compromise the availability, authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of stored or transmitted personal data, and the security of the related services offered by, or accessible via, those networks and systems.

The recital literally says “This could, for example, include preventing unauthorized access to electronic communications networks and malicious code distribution and stopping ‘denial of service’ attacks and damage to computer and electronic communication systems.”

Most businesses will face the urgent need for increasing protection on published applications and services on all topics and purposes of data leak prevention, access control, web-based attack prevention and denial of service prevention. Leading providers of cloud and on-premise web application and API protection services as well as on-demand, always-on cloud and hybrid denial of service mitigation services do provide an adequate solution for this acute need. A fully managed WAF and DDoS Cloud service provides a fast route to check off one of the regulatory compliance boxes and a worry-free GDPR compliance strategy.

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