Formulating Information Security and Data Protection Policies When Firms Go Digital

The Paradigm Shift Needed as the World Transitions from Analogue to Digital

Information Security and Data Protection are central to any organization’s tech policies and more so, when Digitalization happens, as then the whole organizational processes and methodologies are entirely virtual making them more vulnerable to Data Theft.

Indeed, having effective Information Security and Data Protection policies are no longer a luxury, and instead, are a necessity given the ongoing transition to the digital world.

Wherein before the current Information Revolution, organizations could afford to be lenient as far as Information Security and Data Protection were concerned, since most of the information was in physical files and stored in file cabinets and other such Analogue devices.

The present times call for more robust and tight security policies as everything is hosted online and on the cloud and hence, there needs to a shift in the way Information Security and Data Protection are viewed by such firms.

For instance, in Smokestack Era firms, Information and Data Security meant having secure physical storage, the access to which were restricted and which were protected by layers of metal and concrete barriers preventing unauthorized entry.

This is not the case with Digital Lockers hosting data.

How Digitalized Firms Can Formulate Effective IS and DP Policies in the Present Times

The Paradigm Shift that is needed for Digital Firms is that they must envisage an entirely new way in such access to data and information is regulated and monitored.

To start with, patent information, digital certificates, and other proprietary information have to be stored securely on the cloud or better, in dedicated hard disk storage units.

Moreover, Emails, Digital Files used to record conversations and exchanges on critical organizational decisions, as well as the Knowledge Base built up by firms have to be backed up at regular intervals, if not on a daily basis.

Indeed, during our working experience, there were standing instructions to the Information Support Personnel that the CEOs (Chief Executive Officer) Laptop had to be backed up on a daily basis with multiple copies of the content stored in different hard drive locations.

In addition, there were policies that mandated the storage or Emails for Ten Years or so as the fallout of the Antitrust case against Microsoft brought in its wake the legal and regulatory requirements of having Emails dated Ten Years or more.

Moreover, there is also the question of access to such data that is only granted on a case by case basis accordingly.

Why Firms are Becoming Paranoid about Data Theft and Perils of Complacence

In recent years, Cyber Fraud and Hacking have become all too common and hence, Digitalized Firms have to ensure that Confidential Data such as Customer Credit Card Information as well as Banking Records in addition to Data pertaining to Financial Transactions of the firms are protected.

Indeed, some of the current IS policies border on extreme protection and security lest Data is stolen leading to legal and regulatory action.

The reason for such Paranoia is that the Dark Web has emerged as the place where anyone and everyone can post and sell as well as buy such critical data and hence, firms are increasingly turning to dedicated IS firms to help them formulate effective Data Protection policies.

After all, we read about Data Theft on almost a daily basis which has a cascading effect on customer and other stakeholder psyches as then they begin to insist that their vendors have comprehensive and adequate IS policies in policies.

Moreover, Data Theft from Malicious Insiders is another Huge Risk that has to be guarded against. This is where Restricted Access on a Need to Know Basis is crucial as well as the aspect of enhanced surveillance and monitoring of employees browsing history.

Why the Borderless World Needs Coordinated IS Regulations and Common Frameworks

Having said that, there is also the aspect of differing rules and regulations as well as laws governing IS in different countries worldwide.

For instance, the United States and Europe are far ahead of the others as far as IS and Data Protection are concerned.

The same cannot be said of Asian countries where India despite being the Tech Back Office of the World, still does not have comprehensive Information Security and Data Protection policies.

Another dimension to this problem is that in recent years, the escalating threat from Hostile State Sponsored Hackers is another Big Worry for both State and Non State Stakeholders.

For instance, both Russia and China among other countries have been accused of Cyber Attacks on the United States and its allies wherein Hackers with the active backing of the former hack into the databases of Governmental Agencies and Private Firms to steal confidential information.

Hence, what we are witnessing is a New Era of Warfare wherein the weapons and the battlegrounds are Virtual.

This calls for enhanced Vigilance and Surveillance from all stakeholders.

This has a Knock on Effect on firms operating worldwide as they have to grapple with multiple and complex rules and regulations.

Data is the New Oil and What the Case of WhatsApp

Last, as the news about WhatsApp and its IS policies dominates the news daily, it is an indication of the High Stakes since the former cannot afford to lose lucrative markets and at the same time, cannot afford to give up control over the data in its domain.

Going forward, we predict that such battles over control of Information and Data would accelerate thereby creating a situation where Responsible Nations and Firms must come together to formulate effective IS and DP policies.

To conclude, the cliche that Data is the New Oil in the Digital Age indicates its importance now.

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