Brand View: Mohammed Arif, Regional Director for Modern Workplace & Security at Microsoft Gulf, urges organisations to assess and improve their data privacy and compliance standards
In today’s connected world, maintaining our privacy is an incredibly important topic to each of us. As people spend more time of their lives online and depend more on technology to operate their businesses, engage in social media, and manage their health and finances, the protection of their and data is becoming more important than ever.
We know that people will only use technology that they trust. Ultimately, trust is created when people are confident that their personal data is safe, and they have a clear understanding of how and why it is used. This means companies like Microsoft have a huge responsibility to safeguard the privacy of the personal data we collect and the data we manage for our commercial customers.
Standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), set a strong benchmark for privacy and data protection, by empowering people to control their personal information. This is a strong initiative by the European Union and Microsoft has made a number of investments over the last year to support GDPR and the privacy rights of individuals.
Here are some areas to look at and evaluate your position as a company, when it comes protecting your and your customers data, while meeting the necessary privacy standards.
Organisational compliance could be very challenging to achieve, but it should be the first area to look at and understand the risks involved. Many businesses, especially SMEs lack the ability to host an inhouse compliance department who can take care of this, as they’re battling to keep costs down.
Tools in Office 365 such as Compliance Manager and Compliance Score helps you continuously monitor your compliance status. Compliance Manager acts as a dashboard that provides you a score and summary of your data protection and compliance stature. It also captures and provides details for each control, which has been implemented to meet specific requirements, including implementation and test plan details, and management responses if necessary. The Compliance Manager also provides recommended actions your organisation can take to enhance data protection capabilities and help you meet your compliance obligations.
As a company, it is vital to make sure there is proper security, governance, and management of your data to help prevent it from being misused or getting into the wrong hands. To help ensure that you are is effectively protecting personal data as well as sensitive content relevant to organisational compliance needs, you need to implement solutions and processes that enable your organisation to discover, classify, protect, and monitor data that is most important.
Through information protection capabilities within Microsoft 365, such as Office 365 Advanced Data Governance, businesses can intelligently manage their organisation’s data with classifications. This capability automatically labels sensitive data, so that policies for protection, retention or deletion can be applied accordingly. For example, if a company has a policy to ensure information such as credit card numbers or passport details is not shared externally - this rule can be created in Office 365. In a scenario where such a rule is attempted to be broken, the administrator will receive an alert and user account will get locked automatically.
Moreover, tools such as the Azure Information Protection scanner addresses hybrid and on-premises scenarios by allowing you to configure policies and protect documents in your on-premises repositories such as the File Servers and on-premises SharePoint servers. It also provides document tracking and revocation capabilities, so you can monitor the flow of sensitive data and revoke access to this data at any time.
The onset of GDPR calls for stricter regulations for organisations to adhere in the event of a data breach. And ensuring processes are in place to efficiently detect and respond to those breaches, is a tough hurdle for many organisations. On other hand, it also encourages companies to become more accountable for developing and leveraging innovative technology to protect personal and sensitive information.
Microsoft 365 comprises of a robust set of capabilities, from Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to Azure ATP, that can help protect against and detect data breaches. And AI powered platforms such as the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph help provide rich insights from vast security intelligence, machine learning, and behavioral analytics help organisations improve investigations and speed up response.
To date, the Microsoft Intelligent Security graph has scanned over 18 trillion bing web pages, 400 billion emails, updated over 1 Billion Windows devices, Analysed data from 700 million Azure user accounts, and more than 450 billion monthly authentications.
Microsoft also introduced a Privacy tab in the Service Trust Portal. It provides you with the information you need to prepare for your own Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) on Microsoft Cloud services, guidance, and the information about how Microsoft detects and responds to personal data breaches.
The cloud in enabling a wave of digital transformation, enabling organisations to engage customers, empower employees, optimise operations and reinvent their products and services. Data is at the center of this transformation and ensuring that it is protected with the help of trusted partner - is imperative.
A cloud provider that has security, privacy, compliance and transparency at the core of its products and solutions, can uniquely provide intelligent and integrated security across the fabric of data and devices. Nearly, a decade ago, Microsoft established these competencies into our Trusted Cloud Principles to guide our Microsoft cloud technology, which now simplifies the path for organisations to secure, protect, detect and respond more effectively with the help of the intelligent cloud.
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