Ensure Compliance For Your Data Collection & Storage

The rapid evolution of technology across our economy has more and more companies collecting and relying upon customer data in order to remain competitive. However, regardless of the industry in which you operate, as soon as you start collecting and retaining client data, you become subject to any number of regulatory and compliance requirements that are designed to ensure you are protecting and utilizing client data properly. In this article, Charlotte-based managed IT and security services provider Apex Technology provides a brief overview of regulatory requirements that impact companies in three main industries, and concluding with solutions to help your organization remain compliant despite ever-expanding regulatory requirements. 

 

Major Compliance Regulations By Industry

Data collection and storage is heavily regulated and impacted by legislation on many different levels. Let’s explore industry-specific compliance and regulatory laws in place that impact how data must be handled for financial institutions, medical services providers, and legal services providers. 

Regulation and Compliance in the Financial Service Industry

While there are many regulations impacting financial institutions, the Safeguards and Privacy Rules of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act are perhaps two of the most important regulations that impact this industry in the United States. The Safeguards Rule requires all such institutions to plan, implement, and maintain a modern information security program in order to better safeguard consumer data. Similarly, the Privacy Rule requires financial institutions to share with customers it’s information sharing practices and subsequently allow customers to opt out of having their data shared with certain third parties. The Federal Trade Commission recently approved an expansion of the definition of financial institution that greatly increases the number of companies that must now comply with the Safeguards Rule of the GLBA. The FTC has also  proposed changes in 2020 to the GLBA that will (1) update the protection of data standards to ensure all customer data is encrypted and (2) require multi factor authentication and further access controls to prevent unauthorized access to customer data.  

Medical Services Relationship with HIPAA and HITECH

Ensuring that protected health information (PHI) is properly managed and maintained is the primary goal of regulatory requirements for the healthcare industry. The two primary sets of regulations are defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). HIPAA data integrity is primarily regulated by the HIPAA Security Rule, a portion of the act that requires the use of encryption and robust authentication measures in order to actually access a patient’s PHI. HITECH is focused on electronic health records (EHR) and came as a necessary followup to HIPAA as the health industry has embraced technical solutions to PHI management. HITECH requires security audits and the notification of patients in the event of a data breach under certain conditions. 

Law Firms Impacted By the Same Compliance Requirements as Clients

Compliance with data storage regulations is tricky as it relates to law firms. In the course of representing clients from across multiple industries, law firms are likely to collect information about their client organizations relevant to cases where they might be representing them. In the course of doing so, the data collected by the law firm as a third-party service provider becomes subject to the same regulatory and compliance requirements that impact their clients. As a result, it’s crucial for law firms to seek out data storage solutions that are versatile and can be scaled to ensure data can be protected in compliance with the appropriate regulatory laws.  

The Evolving Landscape of International and Interstate Data Storage Compliance Regulations 

As a managed security services provider in the Charlotte market, Apex Technology provides business IT services to clients across multiple industries. Because we also provide managed cloud services and data backup and recovery in a third-party capacity, Apex Technology has to ensure our services are compliant with regulations that might apply to our clients stored information. This has become especially true in the wake of Europe’s passage of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a stringent set of guidelines defining how European consumer data can be collected and stored. In the United States, California passed a similar law in the form of California’s Consumer Privacy Act and New York is looking to emulate these protections for its citizens in the SHIELD Act. All of these acts regulate the collection and storage of client data in very specific ways, and if a company has customers from these regions, their data storage procedures must be compliant in order to avoid fines. If your organization is looking for data storage solutions and you’re concerned about compliance, our team can help your organization craft a storage solution that allows you to gather the information you need in a compliant manner.