With inncreasing regulatory mandates, intense pressure on pricing and non-stop technological advancements, data compliance modernization is a must for successful life sciences and healthcare organizations. Data compliance seeks to regulate how organizations store, access, and use customer data as well as how data is deleted. Effectively managing data is crucial in protecting an organization from cyber-attacks and effectively maintaining private stakeholder data. Failing to do so could have impactful consequences from fines, to tarnishedreputation, to financial downfall.
Here are 7 best practices your organization can benefit from as you navigate the constantly evolving world of data compliance strategies.
1. Compliance framework
A compliance framework aims to address all compliance regulations that relate to an organization. Having a clear structure to guide an organization through large amounts of sensitive data is the first step towards success and preventing any data breaches.
2. Clarify policies
As part of a compliance framework, clearly document policies. From privacy policies to data retention and removal policies, be very direct and transparent with your clients about what data is being collected, what you’re using it for, how it is being stored and for how long and about how they can request access to their personal data or request to “be forgotten” and have their data removed from your systems. It is imperative to communicate this information for clients to have clear expectations and make informative choices they are comfortable with. This practice is also crucial to protect your organization against any data related legal action.
3. Regularly evaluate existing policies and update them based on the latest regulations
As technology rapidly advances, the policies and regulations surrounding it also change to adapt. Organizations should regularly evaluate data compliance frameworks to ensure that policies are up to date with all industry standards.
4. Data encryption protocol
Establish where data will be stored (on-premises, the cloud, a hybrid, etc.) and establish a data encryption protocol.
5. Collaborate with CISO (and other leadership)
Compliance is very closely related to security. Collaborate with the organization’s Chief Information Security Officer (as well as other leadership members) in determining network appliance configuration, least privilege access control, event logging, and multifactor authentication.
6. Anonymize/ code sensitive data
Life sciences and healthcare organizations often handle the most sensitive information/ data. Masking, tokenization, hashing, or anonymization can be used to remove personally identifiable information to ensure client privacy. It is also important that a compliance officer is ensuring that organizations are following retention and deletion policies and not backing up sensitive data previously slated for deletion for compliance reasons.
7. Document crisis management protocols for the event of a breach
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates that organizations notifies affected parties at the event of a breach. Create a detailed crisis management plan, the chain of command, communication, and action, and prepare in advance statement templates to ensure an open and efficient line of communication.
Working with data comes with great opportunity and responsibility. In order to use data to your organization’s advantage, there needs to be well regulated and structured compliance, or there may be irreversible consequences to the organization’s integrity and success.
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