A Small Guide to Data Compliance: What You Need to Know

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A Small Guide to Data Compliance: What You Need to Know

In the wake of recent high-profile data breaches, data privacy and security have never been more top of mind for businesses. But even if your business doesn't handle sensitive customer data, you still need to be aware of compliance regulations that could impact you. Using data governance tools would help your business. This small guide will introduce you to some of the most important compliance considerations for businesses in the United States.


A Small Guide to Data Compliance
A Small Guide to Data Compliance

What is Data Compliance?

Data compliance is the term used to describe a set of regulations that dictate how businesses must handle and protect certain types of data. Compliance can vary from country to country and even state to state within the United States. As a business owner, it's important to understand which compliance regulations apply to you and what you need to do to meet those requirements.

If your business handles any data - customer information, financial records, employee details, etc. - then you need to be aware of the specific compliance regulations that apply to that data. Failing to comply with data regulations can result in hefty fines, criminal charges, and even jail time for company executives.

What Are the Different Types of Data Compliance Regulations?

There are a variety of data compliance regulations that businesses need to be aware of, but some of the most important ones are:

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): This is a new regulation from the European Union that applies to any business that processes or stores the data of EU citizens, regardless of where in the world that business is located. The GDPR went into effect on May 25th, 2018, and imposes several strict requirements on businesses regarding data privacy and security.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This US law regulates how healthcare providers handle patient data. It's been in place since 1996 but has been amended several times over the years, most recently in 2013.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): This is a set of regulations from the payment card industry that apply to any business that processes, stores, or transmits credit card data. The PCI DSS was updated in 2018 to add new requirements for protecting against cyberattacks.

How Can You Make Sure Your Business Is Compliant With All Applicable Data Regulations?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as compliance requirements can vary depending on the specific data regulation involved. However, there are some general steps you can take to make sure your business is meeting all applicable compliance standards:

Implement a data governance plan: A data governance plan will help you map out and track all of the data your business processes and stores and identify which compliance regulations apply.

Train your employees on data privacy and security best practices: All employees should be trained to protect sensitive company data from accidental or unauthorized access, alteration, or destruction.

Use secure storage and transmission methods: Ensure that any systems or software used to store or transmit sensitive data uses up-to-date security measures like firewalls, encryption, and user authentication.

Regularly audit your systems for vulnerabilities: Conducting regular audits of your business' IT infrastructure can help you find and fix any potential vulnerabilities before hackers can exploit them.

What Are the Consequences of Not Complying With Data Regulations?

Many consequences can result from not complying with data compliance regulations, some of which are:

Fines: Fines for violating data compliance regulations can be very steep, especially for larger businesses. The GDPR fines can reach up to €20 million (about $20,372,000) or four percent of a company's global annual revenue, whichever is greater. 

Criminal charges: Business executives can face criminal charges for violating data compliance laws. In the US, this could include jail time and heavy fines.

Loss of customers: If your business is found to violate data privacy or security regulations, customers will likely start to abandon you. This can result in a loss of revenue and damage your company's reputation.

How Can You Stay Up-to-Date on Changes to Data Compliance Regulations?

The best way to stay up-to-date on changes to data compliance regulations is to subscribe to relevant mailing lists or newsletters and follow relevant industry publications. Additionally, many regulatory agencies maintain websites to publish updates on new or upcoming data compliance laws.

As you can see, data compliance is a complex and important issue that all businesses should be aware of. By following the tips in this guide, you can ensure your business is compliant with all applicable data regulations and protect your customers' data privacy and security.

 

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