Navigating opaque digital IT regulations to find business stability
The business world is increasingly dedicated to increased connectivity and digital transformation. But with increased connectivity and digital transformation comes heightened risk of data exposure, privacy intrusions, and security lapses, due to the increased number of potential cyber threat surfaces. The more digital capabilities you have, the more your company’s operational and IT competencies grow – but so does the number of cyber risks.
The same is true of the data you collect. Modern systems produce a lot of data, and organizations are aware that data insights can be big business. But anything that can be used to power big business immediately becomes a target for criminal intrusion and theft. Data is so valuable now that it is routinely the target of cyber breaches and leaks, including valuable personal information, which can be sold or used for malicious purposes.
To deal with this, data privacy and security laws have been passed which govern how personal and sensitive data can be collected, used, and disclosed to third parties. How businesses use the data is frequently scrutinized. While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is usually the principal enforcer of such regulations in the US, the overall regulatory environment is a patchwork of laws that have been updated as innovations have evolved.
For instance, many of the bigger IT companies have faced allegations of bundling software in a way that forced customers to buy only from their product ecosystem. While the intention of the company may have been to provide a complete suite of software to solve the most common problems businesses have, the evolution of law has meant that bundling the suite that way can be deemed to be anti-competition.
Similarly, many organizations are accused of misusing consumer data under present regulations – data that their platforms have gathered over the years as a matter of course. As a result, businesses today need to be hyper-aware of the legal expectations of an evolving society.
That can be extremely difficult for one logical reason. The regulatory landscape has evolved at different rates in different states. For instance, California has a comprehensive privacy law known as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which provides a degree of legal protection for consumers there. But the Act does not extend to the other states in the US, all of which have their own data security legislation, some of which is much less comprehensive than the California Act. That means the US is an uneven legal patchwork of privacy and security rules.
And just like Europe’s much more comprehensive General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), (which the likes of Meta and Amazon keep breaking, to the tune of up to $800 million in fines), the US privacy and security rules create serious limitations on how businesses can gather, store, and use end-user information. Without thorough and well-defined rules, businesses are often at risk of unintentionally running afoul of these regulations, especially with a continuously shifting cyber threat outlook, involving attacks from multiple bad actors who are motivated to steal data, either for financial or personal gain.
In the last few years, threat actors have proven increasingly resourceful and diverse. According to the Imperva 2019 Cyberthreat Defense Report, over half (57.6%) of public sector organizations, and about three out of four educational organizations and retail outfits (73.5% and 74.5%, respectively), are at immediate risk of falling victim to data breaches or compromises.
With such a spread-out regulatory environment, plus an ever-expanding security risk posture, organizations need to get back to the basics of protecting their networks, and ensuring the foundational components of their internet connectivity, Software-as-a-Service applications, and IT infrastructure are sturdy from the ground up, while still supplying the satisfaction-guaranteed end-user experience that their customers have come to expect.
Consolidated Communications is a provider of advanced communication solutions who understands the importance of adhering to technology driven regulations. Consolidated’s specialists works with businesses of all sizes to ensure they have the essential data protection and security in place for their IT infrastructure. To learn more, visit www.consolidated.com/technologyregulations and get a Consolidated specialist on your side today.