The need for proactive breach detection and response
Among the data protection requirements introduced by the GDPR is the need to take appropriate measures to detect and report data breaches leading to the ‘accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed.’
If not addressed in an appropriate and timely manner, a breach has the potential to result in affected individuals suffering financial and reputational damage.
The GDPR recognises the need for organisations to be more transparent about data compromises and to this end makes it a requirement for all controllers and processors to implement appropriate procedures to detect breaches and to also report them to a relevant supervisory authority within 72 hours. In instances where there is a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, those concerned must also be directly notified.
Breach detection challenges
The challenge of detecting attacks and avoiding financial and reputational damage
Without the correct mixture of skills and resources in place, detecting data breaches and quickly reporting them to an appropriate authority poses a serious challenge. To evade detection, today’s cybercriminals are extremely patient, taking steps to ensure that they leave as few traces as possible. Hackers can often reside undetected on networks for months.
Knowing how to successfully respond to attacks is another area where many businesses slip up, with slow or incorrect action leading to greater damage. Among the GDPR breach reporting requirements is the need to provide a detailed description of any breach incurred. This includes:
- the type and quantity of data compromised
- an outline of the likely consequences of the attack
- plans for how to tackle its effects
- What constitutes a personal data breach?
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) defines a breach as a lapse of security resulting in ‘unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data’.
Breaches could include unauthorised third-party access, accidental transfer of personal data to incorrect recipients, lost or stolen devices containing personal data, or illicit alteration of data or loss of data availability.
- Why do I need GDPR monitoring?
Article 33 of the GDPR states that organisations must have robust procedures in place to detect and investigate personal data breaches as well as report them within 72 hours.
Without extensive visibility across your network and endpoints, it can take months to identify a breach and know whether personal data has been compromised.
The cost of conducting post-event investigations will far outweigh the investment in a GDPR monitoring service, which will help to minimise security risk and provide the intelligence needed to quickly identify, remediate and report breaches to compliance standards.
- What happens if my business suffers a personal data breach?
If your business suffers a data breach in the UK it must be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office within 72 hours of discovery.
Information provided should include a description of the breach, including the type and quantity of data compromised, as well as an outline of the likely consequences of the breach and plans of how to tackle it. If the impact of a breach represents a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, those concerned must also be directly notified.
- How can I avoid a GDPR fine?
Under GDPR legislation, organisations can be fined up to £17 million or 4% of their global revenue if they fail to implement appropriate measures to prevent, detect and report personal data breaches.
The constantly evolving nature of threats means that no organisation can be expected to completely prevent breaches. The ICO has stated however that organisations that have made demonstrable and proactive efforts to minimise security risks will be looked upon favourably.
- What should I look for in a GDPR monitoring service?
Organisations should look for a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service capable of providing the support and intelligence needed to proactively hunt for threats and the actionable guidance to respond swiftly and effectively to them.
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