The big data protection shake-up: how to protect companies who are under-prepared

- Technology - Jun 12, 2017

By Neil Bramley, B2B Client Solutions Business Unit Director, Toshiba Northern Europe

With the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force next year, never has it been more important for European organisations to identify ways to best manage their data. 

Yet many companies are still worryingly under-prepared for what will be the most significant shake-up of data protection law for 20 years.
 
According to Gartner, over 50 per cent of companies affected by the new regulation will not be in full compliance with its requirements come May 25th, 2018 – the date GDPR comes into effect. 

Twelve months is not a long time in IT, especially when considering the heightened risks associated with mobile working, and the vast and ever-increasing swathes of business critical or consumer data today’s businesses manage of a day to day basis.
 
Not only will GDPR subject organisations to severe penalties should they fall foul of the regulation – facing the risks of penalties, fines and even legal action – but the threats surrounding IT security and data protection continue to grow. One only has to look at the recent WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack, which spread across 150 countries across Asia and Europe, attacking organisations including Spanish mobile operator Telefonica, the UK’s NHS, and Germany’s Deutsche Bahn.
 
With all of this in mind, it’s clear that CIOs and IT leaders have a challenging task ahead in ensuring not only that they meet the requirements of GDPR, but are also robustly prepared to address the incalculable number of cyber threats circulating around the world’s IT networks each and every day. So how can such threats be minimised and averted?
 
Today’s working environment can be anywhere – whether that be in the office, at home, on train, or in a coffee shop.  Clearly employees need devices which will allow them the flexibility to work productively in any environment. Yet employees are often the weakest link in an IT security chain.
 
While business-built devices can offer a strong first barrier, often equipped with features including biometric finger-print scanners, it is time for organisations to consider solutions which shift sensitive data away from a set device and centralise permissions and data access management. 

Unlike historical thin client solutions, zero client solutions contain no locally installed operating system, HDD or SDD, and don’t allow any data to be hosted on the device – instead using it purely as a sophisticated mobile terminal. Both functionality and data is made available through a user’s existing VDI solution, removing the threat of malware being stored on the device and data theft in the event the device is lost or stolen – helping organisations remove the threat away from the hands of employees, and help comply with the GDPR.
 
Business leaders will undoubtedly be placing both more trust and responsibility on their CIOs and within the IT teams as they look to adhere to the new regulation. With this added responsibility comes greater pressure for senior IT staff as the ramifications of a security breach heighten. 

Organisations found to be in breach of the GDPR will be subject to a fine of either up to 4 per cent of annual global turnover or €20m – whichever is greater. Security has to therefore be the number one priority within any IT strategy.

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