With the deadline for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) across EU set to 25th May 2018, the clock is ticking for businesses to make sure they’re ready and compliant with the new directive before it comes into force, or else risk hefty penalties up to €20 million.
Unfortunately, many businesses are still unprepared for GDPR or else they are not able to undertake the significant analysis and overhaul needed in their business to become compliant. It’s important to note that the scope of GDPR extends well beyond IT and includes also data generated by sales and marketing activities.
Data Management Begins With Discovery
The implementation of GDPR forces business leaders to consider closely where every single piece of personal data is across their entire IT estate, and that includes the Cloud obviously.
This means that a thorough approach to data discovery is needed, one which will lead the organisation to unearth even personal information stored on its systems that it wasn’t aware it had access to.
Normally, organisations have several gigabytes of data that is simply ‘hiding’ throughout their network and which isn’t used in its day-to-day operations. This may include sensitive company information, personally identifiable data (PID), and duplicated information from previous or ongoing data collection or processing activities; all of which could be misappropriated or mistakenly shared.
When seen from this perspective, the question of managing all the data that an organisation possesses about individuals becomes a more complex one to answer, and which will require significant time, resources and budget.
There Are No Excuses For Not Knowing What Data You Have
Most organisations have distinct functional areas, with distinct processes and tools for storing and processing data about individuals. Once this initial dataset is understood, it becomes important to identify what is personal data, and what is not. This analysis is further broken down into data that could be used to identify an individual and information that would be classified as sensitive.
The main point here is that every organisation should start with the data they know they have.
Creating Your Audit Trail With The Clipboard Approach No Longer Works
Understanding your ‘known data’ is just the first part of the process since it’s easier for organisations to forecast the potential impact of inaccuracies or poor governance on the data that they already have. The risk is tangible because the data is visible.
However, there’s great danger involved for organisations who stop at simply recording and securing the data they have, as the biggest threat to their business could be from the data that they cannot see.
In other words, unknown or hidden data is your company’s biggest risk and vulnerability in the light of GDPR.
Hidden data presents numerous risks to an organisation, and every organisation will have some stored somewhere on their network. The fact that unknown data exists makes it impossible for an organisation to accurately quantify its risk of exposure, unless it uses specialist tools that can turn unknown data into a known data asset.
The Solution to Discovering Hidden Data is Search, Big Data and Machine Learning
Smart Technologies has partnered up with Exonar to offer a specialised IT solution for complete data discovery that dramatically minimises the amount of time needed, costs involved and potential for human error when undertaking data collection and management.
By leveraging Machine Learning and Big Data to undertake data discovery and classification, our solution provides the functionality that organisations need to fully audit, identify and classify any hidden, high-risk data that is held within their network – whether it’s in the Cloud, on premise, or a hybrid of both.
This is not about using technology for its own sake, but as a way to speed up the process by which businesses can make smart decisions, especially considering the strict timelines involved in GDPR.
Smart Technologies Offers a New Approach to Data Discovery
Our Automated Data Discovery solution provides organisations with the following features:
- Intelligent Classiﬁcation
- Provision of Digital Search
- Analysis of the document structure to inform identiﬁcation
- Understanding context in which data is provided
- Surrounding words and phrases to pinpoint the right data
- Identify all hidden data
- Provide continuous identification and management of data in near real-time
The solution is highly scalable, giving organisations the ability to process millions of data types across multiple platforms, set up intuitive classification structures automatically and then search through them just like using an online search engine – and there’s no need for a database admin.