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      The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was approved and adopted by the EU Parliament in April 2016. The regulation will provide a uniform law across the EU and will be in force in May 2018, giving companies and organisations two years to become compliant.

      The GDPR introduces the concept of “extra-territoriality’. It not only applies to organisations located within the EU but it will also applies to organisations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behaviour of, EU data subjects. It applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location.

      The aim of the GDPR is to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world that is vastly different from the time in which the 1995 directive was established. Although the key principles of data privacy still hold true to the previous directive, many changes have been proposed to the regulatory policies; the key points of the GDPR as well as information on the impacts it will have on business can be found below.


      Overview of the GDPR Key Changes

      The conditions for consent have been strengthened, and companies will no longer be able to use long illegible terms and conditions full of legalese, as the request for consent must be given in an intelligible and easily accessible form, with the purpose for data processing attached to that consent. Consent must be clear and distinguishable from other matters and provided in an intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it.

      Under the GDPR, breach notification will become mandatory in all member states where a data breach is likely to “result in a risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals”. This must be done within 72 hours of first having become aware of the breach. Data processors will also be required to notify their customers, the controllers, “without undue delay” after first becoming aware of a data breach.

      Part of the expanded rights of data subjects outlined by the GDPR is the right for data subjects to obtain from the data controller confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning them is being processed, where and for what purpose. Further, the controller shall provide a copy of the personal data, free of charge, in an electronic format. This change is a dramatic shift to data transparency and empowerment of data subjebreach notificationscts.

      Also known as Data Erasure, the right to be forgotten entitles the data subject to have the data controller erase his/her personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties halt processing of the data. The conditions for erasure, as outlined in article 17, include the data no longer being relevant to original purposes for processing, or a data subjects withdrawing consent. It should also be noted that this right requires controllers to compare the subjects’ rights to “the public interest in the availability of the data” when considering such requests.

      GDPR introduces data portability – the right for a data subject to receive the personal data concerning them, which they have previously provided in a ‘commonly used and machine readable format’ and have the right to transmit that data to another controller.

      Privacy by design as a concept has existed for years now, but it is only just becoming part of a legal requirement with the GDPR. At its core, privacy by design calls for the inclusion of data protection from the onset of the designing of systems, rather than an addition. It calls for controllers to hold and process only the data absolutely necessary for the completion of its duties (data minimisation), as well as limiting the access to personal data to those needing to act out the processing.

      Data Protection Officers

      Data controllers and processors alike must designate a data protection officer to comply with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation. Data protection officers must be appointed for all public authorities, and where the core activities of the controller or the processor involve “regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale” or where the entity conducts large-scale processing of “special categories of personal data” (such as that revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, and the like, defined in Article 9).

      Affected Industries

      The GDPR affects a large swathe of industries spanning the globe. In effect, the extra-territoriality nature of the GDPR means that any global enterprise supporting EU businesses – via web services or cloud hosting for example – will need to determine whether they need to now align up with GDPR to operate legally within the EU. Industries that process huge amounts of sensitive customer data such as the legal and financial industries as well as social media and telecommunications are all at high risk.


      For many enterprises, the GDPR means re-architecting systems and operations to accommodate a data-first approach. The first step will be understanding where all the data sits. The second step will require technology that has the ability to scale and protect all data.

      With high-stakes penalties for data breaches, this will require a two pronged approach:

      1. The implementation of  innovative technologies that combine virtual data with data masking, meaning organisations can tokenize or anonymise data once and ensure all tertiary copies have the same protective policies applied.
      2. An investment in a robust mobile threat prevention security solution to strengthen the highest risk vulnerability. With 40% of employees of large enterprises using personal devices for work and Gartner predicting that by 2017, the focus of endpoint breaches will shift to tablets and smartphones, industries everywhere will need to strengthen and fortify every possible data breach avenue – especially mobile data. App stores and mobile sites too need faultless fortification to ensure customer data cannot be intercepted.



      CWSI is in a unique position to empower enterprises with solid and robust mobile threat prevention security solutions. We are proud implementation partners with the world’s leading firms –  such as Wandera, MobileIron, Teamwire and Checkpoint to name but a few – offering cutting edge technology solutions that secure enterprises against mobile data breach threats spanning networks, apps, and mobile devices. Our implementations are currently protecting some of the largest enterprises in the world dissecting all industries – from Zurich to Ryanair to Volkswagen to Deloitte . Contact CWSI today to discuss how the GDPR affects your enterprise and let the experts take the hassle out of compliance.

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