Archive for the ‘data governance’ Category

The Changing Face of Data Governance

In our age of data-driven decision making, the new GDPR laws have once again brought the criticality of data governance to the forefront. Believed to be one of the most extensive revisions to the European data protection and privacy legislation, GDPR and its associated changes have presented businesses with the unique opportunity to organize their data houses.

So, executives should consult with experts familiar with GDPR on its impact on their operations. Businesses need to get used to the idea of handing over control of the data they share with people; only then can they achieve GDPR compliance and establish a better rapport with customers. But how does data governance figure into all this? Find out below:

 

 

Shortcomings in Traditional Data Governance

 

 

There’s nothing wrong with traditional data governance; in fact, it offers a rigorous and strategic framework for designing outline roles, data standards, and responsibilities, along with procedures and policies for data management throughout the organization. What’s more, without traditional data governance, businesses wouldn’t have been able to increase their efficiency and productivity in the use of core business data resources in data and transactional warehousing environments.

The focus of these methods was on data quality, trust, and protection, and they were great for recognized data sources that had known value. However, the modern industry is full of unstructured or unknown data sources like IoT and big data, and traditional data governance just can’t keep up. With the added features of machine learning and artificial intelligence, the shortcomings of the conventional approach are becoming obvious.

Owing to their rigid structure, conventional data governance procedures and policies hinder the possibilities formed by advanced analytics and data technologies by forcing them to fit the age-old mould for legacy infrastructure and data platforms.

 

 

Impact of Emerging Technologies

 

 

IoT provides thousands of unrelated data sources a chance to connect on the same platform. IoT gadgets are more than just data source; they are data generators and gatherers. Sensors, wearable devices, and other modern computing technology can accumulate data by the millisecond and stream the same data into a cloud of possible consumers.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning systems analyze the data in real-time to identify relationships and patterns, gain knowledge, and plan a suitable course of action. While these are data-based autonomous actions rather than explicit instruction or programming, they possess the power to find gaps or extra data requirements and send requests back to the IoT gadgets for collecting or generating fresh data.

Traditional data governance makes the onboarding of IoT devices very difficult because of conventional authorization and validation needs. To foster machine learning and artificial intelligence in these initial stages, the data lifecycle must rely on non-conformity with predefined standards and rules. So, governance must allow new data to be incorporated quickly and efficiently, and offer mechanisms to mitigate dangers, maximize value, and encourage exploration.

 

AI and IoT under the New Data Governance Methods

 

Concepts like IoT and AI aren’t new but they are still highly competitive markets for businesses. While the two undergo expansion, they tend to hypercharge the growing volume of data, especially unstructured data, to unexpected levels. As a result, the volume, velocity, and variety of data increase in unison. And as the volume rises, so does the speed and velocity at which data need to be processed. In such cases, the types of unstructured data increases as well. To manage all this, businesses have to implement the necessary data governance.

Storage and Retention

Big data has increased the variety and volume of data considerably, which means more data storage is a necessity. Data storage and data integration and provisioning are used interchangeably, but they are very distinct. Governance must address them separately and appropriately. While storage normally means the way data is physically retained by the organization, in conventional data management methods, the data storage technology impacts the storage requirements like size and structural limitations. Along with retention practices and budget limitations, often dependent on compliance, these needs restrict the amount of data stored by the business at a certain time.

 

 

 

Security and Privacy

 

 

Security and privacy are the major areas of focus for conventional data governance. But new technologies expand the scope of what needs to be secured and protected, emphasizing the need for additional protection. Even though “privacy” and “security” are thought to be one and the same, they are not.

Security strategies safeguard the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of data created, acquired, and maintained by the company. Security exclusively means protecting data, while privacy is more about protecting entities, like individuals and businesses. Privacy programs make certain that the interests and rights of an individual to control, use, and access their private details are protected and upheld. However, without a successful security strategy, a privacy program is unable to exist. Privacy needs often inform policies in large-scale security operations, but the program itself influences the processes and technology need to implement the necessary controls and protection.

As far as IoT is concerned, security is one of the most crucial aspects. The regular addition of systems and devices constantly leads to new vulnerabilities. Even though business comes first, protection is possible only if they protect and secure the network along with every touch point where data travels. Thanks to IoT, data security isn’t just about permissions and access on a given system. Data protection now incorporates network segmentation, data encryption, data masking, device-to-device authentication, cybersecurity monitoring, and network segmentation. That’s a whole lot more than what traditional governance programs envision.

 

Escalated Digital Transformation

 

The changes in digital transformation will be far-reaching. In fact, the new data governance measures will accelerate the process, thereby rewarding organizations that commit to more than just compliance with data governance. Moreover, a stronger foundation in the field of data governance will provide organizations with various benefits, such as increased operational efficiency, decision-making, improved data understanding, greater revenue, and better data quality.

Data-driven businesses have long enjoyed these advantages, using them to dominate and disrupt their respective industries. But it’s not just meant for large businesses. The moment is right, for your company to de-silo data governance and treat like a strategic operation.

Data governance is changing, and you need to work hard to keep up or get left behind in the industry. However, you can follow the tips given below for the best health and ensure your company is prepared for GDPR.

 

Author : Rahul Sharma

The Changing Face of Data Governance

In our age of data-driven decision making, the new GDPR laws have once again brought the criticality of data governance to the forefront. Believed to be one of the most extensive revisions to the European data protection and privacy legislation, GDPR and its associated changes have presented businesses with the unique opportunity to organize their data houses.

So, executives should consult with experts familiar with GDPR on its impact on their operations. Businesses need to get used to the idea of handing over control of the data they share with people; only then can they achieve GDPR compliance and establish a better rapport with customers. But how does data governance figure into all this? Find out below:

 

Shortcomings in Traditional Data Governance

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a2/Digital_Transformation.jpg

 

There’s nothing wrong with traditional data governance; in fact, it offers a rigorous and strategic framework for designing outline roles, data standards, and responsibilities, along with procedures and policies for data management throughout the organization. What’s more, without traditional data governance, businesses wouldn’t have been able to increase their efficiency and productivity in the use of core business data resources in data and transactional warehousing environments.

The focus of these methods was on data quality, trust, and protection, and they were great for recognized data sources that had known value. However, the modern industry is full of unstructured or unknown data sources like IoT and big data, and traditional data governance just can’t keep up. With the added features of machine learning and artificial intelligence, the shortcomings of the conventional approach are becoming obvious.

Owing to their rigid structure, conventional data governance procedures and policies hinder the possibilities formed by advanced analytics and data technologies by forcing them to fit the age-old mould for legacy infrastructure and data platforms.

 

Impact of Emerging Technologies

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/Brain-Controlled_Prosthetic_Arm_2.jpg

 

IoT provides thousands of unrelated data sources a chance to connect on the same platform. IoT gadgets are more than just data source; they are data generators and gatherers. Sensors, wearable devices, and other modern computing technology can accumulate data by the millisecond and stream the same data into a cloud of possible consumers.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning systems analyze the data in real-time to identify relationships and patterns, gain knowledge, and plan a suitable course of action. While these are data-based autonomous actions rather than explicit instruction or programming, they possess the power to find gaps or extra data requirements and send requests back to the IoT gadgets for collecting or generating fresh data.

Traditional data governance makes the onboarding of IoT devices very difficult because of conventional authorization and validation needs. To foster machine learning and artificial intelligence in these initial stages, the data lifecycle must rely on non-conformity with predefined standards and rules. So, governance must allow new data to be incorporated quickly and efficiently, and offer mechanisms to mitigate dangers, maximize value, and encourage exploration.

 

AI and IoT under the New Data Governance Methods

Concepts like IoT and AI aren’t new but they are still highly competitive markets for businesses. While the two undergo expansion, they tend to hypercharge the growing volume of data, especially unstructured data, to unexpected levels. As a result, the volume, velocity, and variety of data increase in unison. And as the volume rises, so does the speed and velocity at which data need to be processed. In such cases, the types of unstructured data increases as well. To manage all this, businesses have to implement the necessary data governance.

Storage and Retention

Big data has increased the variety and volume of data considerably, which means more data storage is a necessity. Data storage and data integration and provisioning are used interchangeably, but they are very distinct. Governance must address them separately and appropriately. While storage normally means the way data is physically retained by the organization, in conventional data management methods, the data storage technology impacts the storage requirements like size and structural limitations. Along with retention practices and budget limitations, often dependent on compliance, these needs restrict the amount of data stored by the business at a certain time.

 

Security and Privacy

https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8604/16042227002_1d00e0771d_b.jpg

 

Security and privacy are the major areas of focus for conventional data governance. But new technologies expand the scope of what needs to be secured and protected, emphasizing the need for additional protection. Even though “privacy” and “security” are thought to be one and the same, they are not.

Security strategies safeguard the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of data created, acquired, and maintained by the company. Security exclusively means protecting data, while privacy is more about protecting entities, like individuals and businesses. Privacy programs make certain that the interests and rights of an individual to control, use, and access their private details are protected and upheld. However, without a successful security strategy, a privacy program is unable to exist. Privacy needs often inform policies in large-scale security operations, but the program itself influences the processes and technology need to implement the necessary controls and protection.

As far as IoT is concerned, security is one of the most crucial aspects. The regular addition of systems and devices constantly leads to new vulnerabilities. Even though business comes first, protection is possible only if they protect and secure the network along with every touch point where data travels. Thanks to IoT, data security isn’t just about permissions and access on a given system. Data protection now incorporates network segmentation, data encryption, data masking, device-to-device authentication, cybersecurity monitoring, and network segmentation. That’s a whole lot more than what traditional governance programs envision.

 

Escalated Digital Transformation

https://www.mojix.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/digital-transformation.jpg

 

The changes in digital transformation will be far-reaching. In fact, the new data governance measures will accelerate the process, thereby rewarding organizations that commit to more than just compliance with data governance. Moreover, a stronger foundation in the field of data governance will provide organizations with various benefits, such as increased operational efficiency, decision-making, improved data understanding, greater revenue, and better data quality.

Data-driven businesses have long enjoyed these advantages, using them to dominate and disrupt their respective industries. But it’s not just meant for large businesses. The moment is right, for your company to de-silo data governance and treat like a strategic operation.

Data governance is changing, and you need to work hard to keep up or get left behind in the industry. However, you can follow the tips given below for the best health and ensure your company is prepared for GDPR.

 

 

 

Author – Rahul Sharma

Data Protection Officers’ (DPO) Role in Overseeing GDPR Compliance

The five-year process since the passage of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is soon coming to an end, and organizations across the globe are now clamoring to prepare for the several new requirements surrounding data collection and processing. One requirement in particular has been arguably the most debated and amended provision throughout the legislative process of the GDPR; this obligation calls for staffing, something that is yet to be seen in European law outside Germany – specific organizations will have to employ, appoint or contract a designated data protection officer (DPO) by the time the regulation comes into force in May 2018.

The GDPR has made it mandatory for any organization that controls or processes large volumes of personal data, including public bodies – with the exemption of courts, to appoint a DPO. This requirement is not limited to large organizations; GDPR states that as long as the activities of the processor or controller involves the ‘systematic and regular monitoring of data subjects on a grand scale’ or where the entity carries out large scale processing of particular categories of personal data such as data that details things like race, religious beliefs, or ethnicity, they must comply to this requirement. This basically means that even sole trades who handle certain types of data may have to hire a DPO.

A DPO may be appointed to act on behalf of a group of public authorities or companies, depending on the size and structure. A scope in the regulation allows for EU member states to specify additional circumstances for the appointment of a DPO. For example, in Germany, every business with more than nine employees and permanently process personal data have to appoint a DPO.

What is a DPO?

A data protection officer is a position within an organization that independently advocates for the responsible use and protection of personal data. The role of Data Protection Officer is a fundamental part of the GDPR’s accountability-based approach. The GDPR necessitates that a DPO is responsible for liaising with end-users and customers on any privacy related requests, liaising with the various data protection authorities, and ensuring that employees remain informed on any updates regarding data protection requirements. The DPO has to have expert knowledge of data protection practices and laws, on top of having a solid understanding of the company’s organizational and technical structure.

The Controller and the processor shall ensure that the data protection officer is involved, properly and in a timely manner, in all issues which relate to the protection of personal data.

Article 39, GDPR

What is the Role of the DPO?

The DPO is mainly responsible for ensuring a company is compliant with the aims of the GDPR and other data protection policies and laws. This responsibility may include setting rational retention periods for personal data, developing workflows that facilitate access to data, clearly outlining how collected data is anonymized, and monitoring all these systems to make sure they work towards the protection of personal data. Additionally, the DPO should also be available for inquiries on issues related to data protection practices, the right to be forgotten, withdrawal of consent and other related rights the GDPR grants them.

The GDPR affords the data protection officer several rights on top of their responsibilities. The company is obligated to provide any resources the DPO asks for, or requires to fulfill their role and ongoing training. They should have full access to the company’s data processing operations and personnel, a considerable amount of independence in the execution of their tasks, and a direct reporting line to the highest level of management within the company. GDPR expressly prevents the dismissal of the data protection officer for executing their tasks and puts no limitation on the length of their tenure.

How Does DPO Differ from Other Security Roles?

Currently most organizations already have Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Data Officer, or CISO roles; however, these roles are different from the DPO role. The holders of these positions are typically responsible for ensuring the company’s data is safe, and ensuring the data a company collects is being used to enhance business processes across the organization. The DPO on the other hand mainly works to ensure the customer’s privacy. This means that instead of retaining ‘valuable’ data indefinitely, or exploiting insights collected in one business line to imbue another; the DPO is there to make sure only the minimum data required to complete a process is collected and subsequently retained. GDPR creates a huge demand for DPOs, but the job itself is far from easy.

Who Qualifies to be DPO?

The GDPR doesn’t specify the exact credentials a DPO should have. The role in itself is somewhat multi-faceted, in the sense that advising on obligations under GDPR is a legal role, while monitoring compliance falls under audit. Additionally, the data protection impact assessment is more of a privacy specialist role, and the working closely with a supervisory authority demands an understanding of how the authority works.

I. Level of expertise – A DPO must poses a level of expertise that is comparable to the complexity, sensitivity and volume of data the company processes. A high level understanding of how to develop, implement and manage data protection programs is crucial. These skills should be founded upon a vast-ranging experience in IT. The DPO should also be able to demonstrate an awareness of evolving threats and fully comprehend how modern technologies can be used to avert these threats.
II. Professional qualities – A DPO doesn’t have to be a lawyer, but they have to be experts in European and national data protection law, this includes an in-depth knowledge of the GDPR. They should be able to act in an independent manner. This points towards the need for a mature professional who can build client relationships while ensuring compliance without taking an adversarial position.
III. Ability to execute tasks – The DPO has to be able to demonstrate high professional ethics, integrity, leadership and project management experience; to be able to request, mobilize and lead the resources needed to fulfill their roles.

Best Practices for ITAR Compliance in the Cloud

The cloud has become part and parcel of todays Enterprise. However, remaining compliant with the International Traffic in Arms regulation (ITAR) demands extensive data management aptness. Most of the regulatory details covered by ITAR aim to guarantee that an organization’s materials and information regarding military and defense technologies on the US munitions list (USML) is only shared within the US, with US authorized entities. While this may seem like a simple precept, in practice, attaining it can be extremely difficult for most companies. Defense contractors and other organizations that primarily handle ITAR controlled technical data have been unable to collaborate on projects while utilizing cloud computing practices that have a proven track record fostering high performance and productivity. Nevertheless, the hurdles impeding the productivity opportunities of the cloud can be overcome. Practices that govern the processing and storage of export controlled technical data are evolving.

Full ITAR compliance in the cloud is not an end result, but a continual odyssey in protecting information assets. In the long run, being ITAR compliant boils down to having a solid data security strategy and defensive technology execution in place.

Utilize End-to-End Encryption

On September 2016, the DDTC published a rule that established a ‘carve out’ for the transmission of export controlled software and technology within a cloud service infrastructure, necessitating the ‘end-to-end’ encryption of data. The proviso is that the data has to be encrypted before it crosses any boarder, and has to remain encrypted at all times during transmission. Likewise, any technical data potentially accessed by a non-US person outside or within the United States has to be encrypted ‘end-to-end’; which the rule delineates as the provision of continual cryptographic protection of data between the originator and the intended recipient. In a nutshell, the mechanism of decrypting the data can’t be given to a third party before it reaches the recipient.

The native encryption of data at rest offered by most cloud providers fails to meet the definition of end-to-end encryption, because the cloud provider likely has access to both the encryption key and data. The cloud provider inadvertently has the ability to access export controlled information. Organizations have to ensure that DDTC definition of ‘end-to-end’ encryption is met before storing their technical data in a public or private cloud environment. Otherwise they will be in violation of ITAR.

Classify Data Accordingly

Most technologies are not limited to single use. Whenever an organization that handles technical data related to defense articles shares information regarding a service or product; steps have to to be taken to make sure that any ITAR controlled data is carefully purged in its entirety. Classification entails reviewing existing business activities and contracts to establish if they fall under ITAR. The process requires a good understanding of licensing terms, court interpretations, agency directives and other guidance. In order to successfully navigate the nuances and complexities of ITAR, organizations have to collect enough metadata to catalog, separate and classify information. For easy identification, the data should be classified into categories such as ‘Public Use’, ‘Confidential’, and ‘Internal Use Only’. Classifying data is a requisite to creating a full-proof Data Leakage Prevention (DLP) implementation.

Develop a Data Leak Prevention (DLP) Strategy

Accidental leaks owing to user error and other oversights occur more often that most would care to admit. Mistakes that can happen, will happen. Establishing a set of stringent policies to obviate users from mishandling data, whether fortuitously or intentionally is crucial to ITAR compliance. Organizations should have a strategy in place to guarantee the continual flow of data across their supply chains, while protecting said data from the following employee scenarios:
Well meaning insiders – employees who makes an innocent mistake.
Malicious insiders – employees with ill intention
Malicious Outsiders – individuals looking to commit cooperate espionage, hackers, enemy states, and competitors among others.

Control Access to Technical Data

Access control is well known technique that is used to regulate who can view or use the resources in a computing environment. Access control can be employed on a logical or physical level. Physical access control restricts access to physical areas and IT assets. Logical access control allows IT administrators to establish who is accessing information, what information they are accessing and where they are accessing it from. Roles, permissions are security restrictions should be established before hand to ensure that only authorized U.S persons have access to export controlled technical information. Multifactor authentication strengthens access control by making it extremely difficult for unauthorized individuals to access ITAR controlled information by compromising an employees access details.

Establish Security Policies and Train the Staff Well

An ITAR specific security stratagem is the corner stone of data security practices. The policies should handle network and physical security considerations. ITAR is riddled with complications that make it easy for organizations to make mistakes if they don’t remain keen. The organization is as secure as it’s weakest link, in most cases it’s usually the staff. A solid security policy on paper simply does not cut it. Without proper staff training, a compliance strategy will be largely ineffective since it doesn’t tie in with the actual organizational procedures. Investing in end-user training is the only way to ensure security policies are implemented.

In Closing

Organizations have turned to government clouds to manage the complex regulatory issues associated with the cloud. Platforms like AWS Gov Cloud has developed substantial capabilities that enable organizations subject to ITAR to effectuate robust document management and access control solutions. When paired with FileCloud organizations can build and operate document and information management systems that satisfy the strictest security and compliance requirements.

 

Author : Gabriel Lando

Backup Mistakes That Companies Continue to Commit

 

 

Imagine a situation where you wake up, reach your office, and witness the chaos. Because your business applications are not working anymore. And that’s because your business data doesn’t exist anymore! Information about thousands of customers, products, sales orders, inventory plans, pricing sheets, contracts, and a lot more – not accessible anymore. What do you do? Well, if your enterprise has been following data backup best practices, you’ll just smile, and check what the progress on the data restoration is. Alas, problems await. That’s because your people might have committed one of the commonplace yet breakneck mistakes of data backups. Read on to find out.

https://www.ophtek.com/5-mistakes-avoid-backing-data/

 

Fixation of the Act of Backup

Sounds weird, but that’s what most enterprises do, really. Data engineers, security experts, and project managers – everyone is so focused on the act of backup, that they all lose track of the eventual goals of the activity. Recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) should govern every act in the process of data backup. Instead, companies only focus on ensuring that data from every important source is included in the backup.

Nobody, however, pays much heed to backup testing. This, for instance, is one of the key aspects of making your data backup process foolproof. Instead, companies end up facing a need for data restoration, only to realize that the backup file s corrupt, missing, or not compliant with the pre-requisites of the restoration tool.

The solution – make rigorous backup testing a key element of your backup process. There are tools that execute backup tests in tandem with your data backup. If you don’t wish to invest in such tools as yet, make sure you conduct backup testing at least bi-annually.

Not Adopting Data Backup Technologies

What used to be a tedious and strenuous task for administrators and security experts a few years back can now be easily automated using data backup tools. These tools are much more reliable than manual backup operations. What’s more, there will not be the dreaded problems such as those associated with data formats, etc., when the time for restore arrives.

Scheduled backups, simultaneous testing, and execution of backup and restore in sync with your RTO and RPO goals. Of course, businesses must understand the data backup tools available in the market before choosing one.

 

Unclear Business Requirements (In Terms Of Data Backup And Restore)

Take it from us; one size won’t fit all organizations or processes, when it comes to data backups, whether manual or controlled via a tool. Project managers must understand the business requirements around data to be able to plan their data backup projects well. The backbone of a successful data backup process and plan is a document called recovery catalog. This document captures all necessary details centered on aspects such as:

The different formats of data owned by the business

  • The time for which every backup needs to be available for possible restore operations (RPO)
  • The priority of different data blocks from a recovery perspective (RTO)
  • The recovery document will go a long way in helping you enlist the tools you need for successful management of data backup and recovery. Also, it will help you design better processes and improve existing processes related to the entire lifecycle of data backup.

Right Requirement, Wrong Tool

Your CIOs expectations from your team are governed by the business’ expectations from the entire IT department of the company. There’s nothing wrong with the expectations and requirements, it’s possible, however, that the tools you have are not well suited to fulfill those requirements.

For instance, in an IT ecosystem heavily reliant on virtualization, there are already built in cloning capabilities within these virtualization tools. However, these backups can take disk space almost equal to the entire environment. Now if you need to change your VMs often, your storage will soon be exhausted as you keep on making new copies of updated environments.

If you have clarity on the most important business applications, it becomes easier to work with IT vendors and shortlist data backup tools that can easily integrate with these applications. This could be a massive boost to your enterprise’s data backup capabilities.

Failure to Estimate Future Storage Needs

No doubts, the costs of data storage are on their way down, and chances are they’ll continue to do so. However, almost every business only buys storage based on its estimation of what’s needed. It’s commonplace enough for companies to completely ignore the fact that their data backups will also need space to stay safe. And this is why it’s so important to estimate the data storage requirements after accounting for your data backup objectives. While doing a manual backup, for instance, if the executors realize that there’s not much space to play around with, it’s natural for them to leave out important data. Also, account for the possibilities of increased frequencies of backups in the near future.

Not Balancing Costs of Backup with Suitability of Media

It’s a tough decision, really, to choose between tape and disks for data storage. While tapes are available inexpensively, in plenty, and pretty durable from a maintenance perspective, you can’t really store essentials systems data and business critical applications’ data on tape, because the backups are slow. Estimate the cost of time lost in the slow backup because of tapes while deciding on your storage media options. Often, the best option is to store old and secondary data on tape and use disks for storage of more important data. In this case, you will be able to execute data restoration and complete is sooner than depending purely on tape media.

Concluding Remarks

There’s a lot that can go wrong with data backups. You could lose your backed-up data, run out of space for it, realize the data backup files are corrupted when you try to restore them, and in general, fail to meet the RTO and RPO goals. To do better, understand what leads to these mistakes, and invest time and money in careful planning to stay secure.

 

Author: Rahul Sharma

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Compliance in the Cloud

 

 

ITAR was enacted in 1976 to control the export of defense-related articles and services. It stipulates that non-US persons are not allowed to have logical or physical access to articles modulated by International Traffic in Arms Regulations; which is administered by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls – DDTC, a sub-division of the State Department. The articles covered by ITAR are listed on the United States Munitions List – USML, and generally, encompass any technology that is specifically designed or intended for military end-use. ITAR was also contrived to govern the import and export of any related technical data that consists of describes, supports, or accompanies the actual exported service or goods unless exemptions or special authorization is created.

The goal of ITAR is to prevent the transfer or disclosure of sensitive information, typically related to national security and defense, to a foreign national. In most cases, non-compliance usually translates to the loss of assets and professional reputation. However, with ITAR, lives may possibly be at stake. This is why the International Traffic in Arms Regulations is a strictly enforced United States government regulation and carries some of the most austere criminal and civil penalties that not business or individual would want to be on the receiving end of.

ITAR is not applicable to information that is already available in the public domain, or that is commonly taught in school under general scientific, engineering or mathematical principles.

Who is required to be ITAR compliant?

The law essentially applies to defense contractors who manufacture or export services, items or other information on the United States Munitions List. However, any company that is in the supply chain for such items must make ITAR compliance a priority. ITAR has a fairly complicated set of requirements, and since the repercussions of non-compliance are severe, companies should not hesitate to seek legal clarifications of their obligations if they even suspect the regulation applies to them – better safe than sorry. The vague categories of the USML make it difficult to intelligibly understand what exactly falls under the purview of military equipment.

The list is inclusive of most technology used for spaceflight, along with a vast range of technical data such as product blueprints, software and aircraft technology. Most of these items were initially developed for military purposes but were later on adapted for mainstream purposes – in aviation, maritime, computer security, navigation, electronics and other industries. It is crucial for firms that offer products and services to government consumers to fully grasp this distinction, to avoid expensive legal violations. ITAR may also likely impact large commercial enterprises, universities, research labs, and other institutions who are not directly involved in the defense industry.

The Repercussions of Non-compliance

Violating ITAR could lead to both criminal and civil penalties. The imposed fines are virtually unlimited – typically, organizations are prosecuted for hundreds of violations at once. The penalties for ITAR violations, both criminal and civil, are substantial. Criminal penalties may include fines of up to a million dollars per violation and 10 years’ imprisonment while civil fines can be as high as half a million dollars per violation. Failure to comply with ITAR may also damage an organizations reputation and ability to conduct business. The State Department maintains publicly available records of all penalties and violations dating back to 1978. Organizations and individuals run the risk of being completely debarred from exporting defense-related services and items.

Challenges in the Cloud

ITAR compliance and the adoption of cloud platforms presents unique challenges. Uploading technical data to the cloud carries with it a huge risk of penalties and violations. There are a lot of questions in regards to whether or not regulated technical data can be stored in a public cloud. The intrinsic quandary in that cloud vendors use distributed and shared resources that will likely cross national borders, and this dispensation of resources is not entirely transparent to the end-user. Data back-up and replication are common security measures when sharing files and collaborating via the cloud, but they can inadvertently lead to unlicensed exports in the event data is sent to servers located outside the United States. Once technical data goes beyond U.S borders, the risk of non-US persons having access to it increases exponentially.

In 2016 for example, Microwave Engineering Cooperation settled an ITAR violation with the State Department after technical data related to a defense article was exported to a foreign person without authorization. So if giving a foreign person access to technical data, or placing it on a server in a foreign nation is deemed and export. What guidance does ITAR give to ensure the entire process is done in a legal manner? Or is cloud storage simply off the table?

The State Department maintains that technical data can be stored on servers outside the U.S, provided that the of the ITAR license exemption conditions are met, and adequate measures are taken to obviate non-US individuals from accessing technical data. In most cases, the measure typically involves ensuring that any data sent to a server beyond U.S borders, or that is potentially accessible by a foreign person within or outside the U.S has to be properly encrypted. It is important to note that by law, cloud providers aren’t considered exporters of data, however, your organization might be. So the burden of ensuring ITAR compliance when handling technical data falls squarely on the people within the organization. Organizations dealing with defense-related articles in any capacity have to exercise extreme caution when using any commercial file sharing and sync service.

 

Author: Gabriel Lando

Adopting Privacy by Design to Meet GDPR Compliance

The proliferation of social networking and collaboration tools has ushered in a new era of the remote enterprise workforce; however, they have also made organizational boundaries non-static. Making it increasingly difficult to safeguard the confidential and personal data of their business partners, employees and customers. In theses political uncertain times, defending privacy is paramount to the success of every enterprise. The threats and risks to data are no longer theoretical; they are apparent and menacing. Tech decision makers have to step in-front of the problem and respond to the challenge. Adopting the privacy by design framework is a surefire way of protecting all users from attacks on their privacy and safety.

The bedrock of privacy be design (PbD) is the anticipation, management and prevention of privacy issues during the entire life cycle of the process or system. According to the PbD philosophy, the most ideal way to mitigate privacy risks is not creating them to begin with. Its architect, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, contrived the framework to deal with the rampant issue of developers applying privacy fixes after the completion of a project. The privacy by design framework has been around since the 1990s, but it is yet to become mainstream. That will soon change. The EU’s data protection overhaul, GDPR which comes into effect in May 2018, demands privacy by design as well as data protection by default across all applications and uses. This means that any organization that serves EU residents has to adhere to the newly set data protection standards regardless of whether they themselves are located within the European Union. GDPR has made a risk-based approach to pinpointing digital vulnerabilities and eliminating privacy gaps a requirement.

Privacy by Default

Article 25 of the General Data Protection Regulation systematizes both the concepts of privacy by design and privacy be default. Under the ‘privacy by design’ requirement, organizations will have to setup compliant procedures and policies as fundamental components in the maintenance and design of information systems and mode of operation for every organization. This basically means that privacy by design measures may be inclusive of pseudonymization or other technologies that are capable of enhancing privacy.

Article 25 states that a data controller has to implement suitable organizational and technical measures at the time a mode of processing is determined and at the time the data is actually processed, in order to guarantee data protection principles like data minimization are met.

Simply put, Privacy by Default denotes that strict privacy settings should be applied by default the moment a service is released to the public, without requiring any manual input from the user. Additionally, any personal data provided by the user to facilitate the optimal use of a product must only be kept for the amount of time needed to offer said service of product. The example commonly given is the creation of a social media profile, the default settings should be the most privacy-friendly. Details such as name and email address would be considered essential information but not location or age or location, also all profiles should be set to private by default.

Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)

Privacy Impact Assessments are an intrinsic part of the privacy by design approach. A PIA highlights what personally Identifiable Information is collected and further explains how that data is maintained, how it will be shared and how it will be protected. Organizations should conduct a PIA to assess legislative authority and pinpoint and extenuate privacy risks before sharing any personal information. Not only will the PIA aid in the design of more efficient and effective processes for handling personal data, but it can also reduce the associated costs and damage to reputation that could potentially accompany a breach of data protection regulations and laws.

The most ideal time to complete a Privacy Impact Assessment is at the design stage of a new process or system, and then re-visit it as legal obligations and program requirements change. Under Article 35 of the GDPR, data protection impact assessments (DPIA) are inescapable for companies with processes and technologies that will likely result in a high risk to the privacy rights of end-users.

The Seven Foundational Principals of Privacy by Design

The main objective of privacy by design are to ensure privacy and control over personal data. Organization can gain a competitive advantage by practicing the seven foundational principles. These principles of privacy by design can be applied to all the varying types of personal data. The zeal of the privacy measures typically corresponds to the sensitivity of the data.

I. Proactive not Reactive; Preventative not Remedial – Be prepared for, pinpoint, and avert privacy issues before they occur. Privacy risks should never materialize on your watch, get ahead of invasive events before the fact, not afterward.
II. Privacy as the default setting – The end user should never take any additional action to secure their privacy. Personal data is automatically protected in all business practices or IT systems right off the bat.
III. Privacy embedded into design – Privacy is not an after thought, it should instead be part and parcel of the design as a core function of the process or system.
IV. Full functionality (positive-sum, not zero sum) – PbD eliminates the need to make trade-offs, and instead seeks to meet the needs of all legitimate objectives and interests in a positive-sum manner; circumventing all dichotomies.
V. End-to-end lifestyle protection – An adequate data minimization, retention and deletion process should be fully-integrated into the process or system before any personal data is collected.
VI. Transparency and visibility – Regardless of the technology or business practice involved, the set privacy standards have to be visible, transparent and open to providers and users alike; it should also be documented and independently verifiable.
VII. Keep it user-centric – Respect the privacy of your users/customers by offering granular privacy options, solid privacy defaults, timely and detailed information notices, and empowering user-friendly options.

In Closing

The General Data Protection Regulation makes privacy by design and privacy by default legal requirements in the European Union. So if you do business in the EU or process any personal data belonging to EU residents you will have to implement internal processes and procedures to address the set privacy requirements. A vast majority of organizations already prioritize security as part of their processes. However, becoming fully compliant with the privacy by design and privacy by default requirement may demand additional steps. This will mean implementing a privacy impact assessment template that can be populated every time a new system is procured, implemented or designed. Organizations should also revisit their data collection forms to make sure that only essential data is being collected. Lastly it will be prudent to set up automated deletion processes for specific data, implementing technical measures to guarantee that personal data is flagged for deletion after it is no longer required. FileCloud checks all the boxes when it comes to the seven principles of privacy by design and offers granular features that will set you on the path to full GDPR compliance. Click here for more information.

Author Gabriel Lando

image courtesy of freepik.com

Technical Data Under ITAR

 

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) are controls established by the U.S State Department to regulate the temporary import and export of defense articles. While most defense contractors comprehend the implications of ITAR to physical objects, ITAR’s application to data remains unclear to most. The first step to properly identifying technical data and how its controlled for export purposes is having a concise understanding of what technical data is and what it encompasses.

Technical data refers to the unique information required for the development, production and subsequent use of defense articles.

  • Development – is inclusive of all the information that is created or gathered before production and may include but is not limited to: layouts, pilot production schemes, testing and assembly prototypes, design research, integration design, configuration design, design concepts, design analysis, and other forms of design data.
  • Production – is comprised of all the information generated or gathered during the production stages and may include but is not limited to: engineering, manufacture, assembly, integration, testing, inspection and quality assurance.
  • Use – encompasses any information that relates to the installation, operation, maintenance, testing or repair of defense articles.

Technical data also refers to classified data that relates to defense services and defense articles.

Implications of Cloud Computing on Technical Data

The cloud facilitates access to information while expanding the delivery of services. On the other hand, ITAR aims to restrict the flow of information while limiting the provision of services and goods. The contrast between the two creates unique challenges as it relates to compliance for defense contractors who have operations in multiple countries and wish to adopt cloud computing. Some organizations have opted to avoid the cloud altogether and fall back to maintaining separate systems in order to meet ITAR requirements, which tends to be extremely inefficient and costly. In order to fully understand the possible implications of cloud computing on export controlled data, you must first understand what constitutes an export when it comes to technical data.

I. What is an Export?

In global trade, the term export is typically synonymous with large shipping crates being loaded onto ships or wheeled into a large transoceanic cargo plane. However, U.S export control laws are not limited to the movement of hardware across borders. Instead, the regulations also extend to specific technical data. The type of control extended depends on the export control jurisdiction and classification. Export Administration Regulations (EAR) defines an export as the shipment or transmission of items out of the United States, or release of software or technology to a foreign national within the U.S. The ITAR definition of export is analogous.

Technical data is regulated for reasons of foreign policy, non-proliferation and national security; the current law stipulates that technical data should be stored in the U.S and that only authorized U.S persons should have access to it. The existing definition of export was drafted at a time when cloud computing was not in the picture, therefore, the exact application of the term ‘export’ in this space remains unclear.

II. When Does an Export Occur?

When it comes to export control, transmitting data to a cloud platform for storage or manipulation is conceptually similar to carrying a hard copy of the data to another country or sending it via the mail. Transmitting data to the cloud for backup or processing mainly involves copying the data to a remote server. If the server’s location is outside the United States; then uploading export-controlled technical data to it will be deemed and export, as if it had been printed on paper and carried outside the country. This creates an appreciable challenge since, with the cloud, the end-user is not axiomatically privy to the location of the data, and the locations of the cloud server are subject to change.It is important to note that export controlled data doesn’t have to leave the U.S to be considered an export. Under ITAR, technical data should not be disclosed to non-US persons regardless of where they are located, without authorization. Non-US persons encompass any individual who isn’t a lawful permanent resident of the United States. When technology subject to ITAR is uploaded to a cloud server, regardless of whether the provider has made sure that all servers are located within the U.S, and a user from another country accesses it; an export has occurred. Even though the data never left the United States.

III. Who is the Exporter?

Users of cloud services interact with the cloud in multifarious ways; in most cases, the operational specifics are intentionally abstracted by the service provider. Information relating to where the computations are occurring may not be made available to the end-user. However, in the United States, the cloud service provider is generally not considered the exporter of the data that it’s subscribers upload to its servers. Despite the fact that the State Department hasn’t issued a formal directive on the matter, U.S subscribers that upload technical data onto the hardware of a cloud service provider will be considered the exporters of said data in the event of foreign disclosures. Aptly, if ITAR controlled technical data is divulged to a non-US IT administrator of the cloud service provider, it is the subscriber to the service and not the service provider that is deemed the exporter.

In Closing

The cloud has reshaped the landscape with respect to government, business, and consumer information technologies by delivering enhanced flexibility and better cost efficiencies for a vast variety of services. But the nature of cloud computing increases the chances of inadvertent export control violations. When it comes to ITAR controlled technical data, users are inadvertently vulnerable to unexpected and complex export requirements, and in the event of non-compliance, to drastic potential criminal and civil penalties, including weighty fines and possibly jail time. With that in mind, the next logical suggestion would be to forget cloud file sharing and sync altogether; however, that does not have to be in the case. The Bureau of Industry and Security published a rule in the Federal Register that establishes a ‘carve out’ for the transmission of regulated data within a cloud service infrastructure necessitating encryption of the data. Encryption coupled with a set of best practices can enable you to freely adopt the cloud while remaining ITAR compliant.

 

 

 

Author: Gabriel Lando

 

 

Personal Data, PII and GDPR Compliance

GDPR

 

The countdown for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will go into full effect in May 2018, is coming to a close. GDPR aims to solidify the data privacy rights of EU residents and the requirements on organizations that handle customer data. It introduces stern fines for data breaches and non-compliance while giving people a voice in matters that concern their data. It will also homogenize data protection rules throughout the EU. The current legislation, the EU Data Protection Directive was enacted in 1995, before cloud technology developed innovative ways of exploiting data; GDPR aims to address that. By enacting strict regulations and stiffer penalties the EU hopes to boost trust within a growing digital economy.

Despite the fact that GDPR came into force on 24th May 2016, organizations and enterprises still have until the 25th of May 2018 to fully comply with the new regulation. A snap survey of 170 cybersecurity pros by Imperva revealed that While a vast majority of IT security professionals are fully aware of GDPR, less than 50 percent of them are getting everything set for its arrival. It went on to conclude that only 43 percent are accessing the impact GDPR will have on their company and adjusting their practices to comply with data protection legislation. Even though most of the respondents we based in the United States, they are still likely to be hit by GDPR if they solicit and/or retain (even through a third party) EU residents’ personal data.

Remaining compliant with GDPR demands, among several other things, a good understanding of what constitutes ‘personal data’ and how it differs from ‘personal identifiable information’ or PII.

What is Personal Data In the GDPR Context?

The EU’s definition of personal data in GDPR is markedly broad, more so than current or past personal data protection. Personal data is defined as data about an identifiable or identified individual, either indirectly or directly. It is now inclusive of any information that relates to a specific person, whether the data is professional, public or private in nature. To mirror the various types of data organizations currently collect about users, online identifiers like IP addresses have been categorized as personal data. Other data such as transaction histories, lifestyle preferences, photographs and even social media posts are potentially classified as personal data under GDPR. Recital 26 states:

To determine whether a natural person is identifiable, account should be taken of all the means reasonably likely to be used, such as singling out, either by the controller or by another person to identify the natural person directly or indirectly. To ascertain whether means are reasonably likely to be used to identify the natural person, account should be taken of all objective factors, such as the costs of and the amount of time required for identification, taking into consideration the available technology at the time of the processing and technological developments.

This personal data term directly applies to all the 28 states in the European Economic Area (EEA)

Is Personally Identifiable Information (PII) the Same as Personal Data?

The term ‘Personally Identifiable Information’ doesn’t appear anywhere in the GDPR; however, it does have a definite meaning in US privacy law. Therefore the term in itself is likely to cause confusion to anyone seeking to comply with GDPR. For a concept that has become ubiquitous in both technological and legal colloquy, PII is surprisingly hard to define. In a nutshell, PII refers to any information that can be used to distinguish one individual from another. This includes any information that can be used to re-identify anonymous data. This can solely refer to data that is regularly used to authenticate/identify an individual, this may be averse to information that violates the privacy of on individual, that is, reveal sensitive information regarding someone. The US interpretation of the term is undeniably incongruous with what is relevant for a proper GDPR assessment since it pre-selects a set of identifying traits.

To put it bluntly, all PII can be considered personal data but not all personal data is Personally Identifiable Information. Developing a solid GDPR compliance program demands that IT architects and marketers move beyond the restricted scope of PII to examine the full spectrum of personal data as defined by the EU.

Handling Personal Data in Accordance With GDPR

The first step to GDPR compliance in matters pertaining personal data is undoubtedly the risk assessment of how existing data is being stored and accessed, the level of risk attached to it, and whether it contains any PII. The data might be stored on server file systems, databases or even on an end user’s physical storage or cache. Becoming GDPR compliant will mean that you are not only protecting more data types in the future but will also involve dissipating more effort in the identification of existing data that initially wasn’t considered personal data. It is important to note that you cannot limit your scope to the data you hold as if it were a closed system. Nowadays, people typically interact with interconnected systems, and GDPR mirrors that. In such scenarios, organizations should focus outward, and infer who in their ecosystem can connect with an attribute to another, from the multiple varying paths to re-identification within their ecosystem.

Additionally, GDPR requires that a document ‘opt-in’ consent must be provided by each individual. The consent has to explicitly pinpoint the data collected, how it is going to be used and how long it will be retained. Organizations also have to provide participants with an option to remove their consent at any given time and request their personal data be permanently deleted. Participants should have the ability to get factual errors amended, and even request their personal data for review and use.

FileCloud Can Help You Comply With GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation sets a new standard in the protection of personal data. Its efforts aim to grant data subjects more control over their data while ensuring the transparency of operations. FileCloud provides a set of simple features that can help organizations meet GDPR requirements.

Click here for more information.

Author: Gabriel Lando

Image courtesy of freepik.com

FileCloud Empowers Government Agencies with Customizable EFSS on AWS GovCloud (U.S.) Region

FileCloud, a cloud-agnostic Enterprise File Sharing and Sync platform, today announced availability on AWS GovCloud (U.S.) Region. FileCloud is one of the first full-featured enterprise file sharing and sync solutions available on AWS GovCloud (U.S.), offering advanced file sharing, synchronization across OSs and endpoint backup. With this new offering, customers will experience the control, flexibility and privacy of FileCloud, as well as the scalability, security and reliability of Amazon Web Services (AWS). This solution allows federal, state and city agencies to run their own customized file sharing, sync and backup solutions on AWS GovCloud (U.S.).

“Having FileCloud available on AWS GovCloud (U.S.) provides the control, flexibility, data separation and customization of FileCloud at the same time as the scalability and resiliency of AWS,” said Madhan Kanagavel, CEO of FileCloud. “With these solutions, government agencies can create their own enterprise file service platform that offers total control.”

Government agency and defense contractors are required to adhere to strict government regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). AWS GovCloud (U.S.) is designed specifically for government agencies to meet these requirements.

By using FileCloud and AWS GovCloud (U.S.), agencies can create their own branded file sharing, sync and backup solution, customized with their logo and running under their URL. FileCloud on AWS GovCloud offers the required compliance and reliability and delivers options that allow customers to pick tailored cloud solutions. FileCloud is a cloud-agnostic solution that works on-premises or on the cloud.

“FileCloud allows us to set up a secure file service, on servers that meet our clients’ security requirements,” said Ryan Stevenson, Designer at defense contractor McCormmick Stevenson. “The easy-to-use interfaces and extensive support resources allowed us to customize who can access what files, inside or outside our organization.”

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