Enabling Rapid Compliance with GrapheeneLeonardo Leo
Today, new privacy regulations emerge worldwide, from the US to Asia to Europe, and the standards are becoming more stringent. It’s no surprise that corporate leaders often rank compliance with global privacy regulations as one of the top three business challenges.
The World Economic Forum ranks fragmented and complex regulations as the top two main cybersecurity challenges that global leaders should consider and tackle. “Organizations, meanwhile, must navigate both a growing number and an increasingly complex system of regulations and rules, such as the General Data Protection Regulation, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and the Cybersecurity Law of the People’s Republic of China and many others worldwide.”
A Forrester Research article on ZDNet notes that including consumer privacy in national law is becoming more prevalent worldwide. We’ve started to see many countries getting inspired by GDPR scope and depth to draft their own privacy bills. “It seems that every week news breaks that another jurisdiction is implementing personal data guidelines.”
DLA Piper’s Global Data Protection Laws of the World shows great insights on the privacy regulations of different regions and the degree of protection each regime offers.
So, how can encryption guarantee utmost information protection and privacy as a requirement for different data privacy regulations?
Role of Encryption in Compliance
Certainly, data encryption has been a sore subject during almost every privacy law implementation. Of course, organizations need to protect sensitive information as they deal with large volumes of data each day, and encryption is the superior measure to prevent cyber-attacks.
In general, the purpose of data encryption in security and regulatory compliance is to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and privacy of sensitive information. Customarily, unencrypted data in computers, servers, or transmitted over the public internet can result in data breaches and violation of regulations. Although most regulations do not explicitly call for data encryption, they require organizations to enforce the best security safeguards, placing the security technique as the premier option.
Typically, data encryption offers additional benefits for controllers and processors. For instance, if hackers steal encrypted data through hacking or theft of a storage device, the incident might not be considered to be a data breach requiring penalization. In fact, authorities may take into consideration encryption used in the decision to impose non-compliance penalties.
Let’s take the popular GDPR as an example. Article 83(2) indicates any action taken by the data controller or processor to mitigate the damage suffered by data subjects will influence the regulator’s decision to impose and determine the amount of the administrative fine. That is to say, measures like encryption can be particularly useful for achieving compliance.
Leveraging Grapheene for Rapid Compliance
We have seen how encryption can be an effective practice for realizing regulatory compliance. We agree that the technique is powerful for data security and privacy, as it converts information to a non-readable format that only authorized parties can read. That’s incredible, but there is a trade-off.
Let’s introduce the concept of trust and how it is bigger than cybersecurity and even more important than a triad of security, compliance, and privacy. The idea behind this concept is the ability of a company to trust the cloud provider with their data and encryption key. Putting it another way, can a cloud provider let you hold the encryption key for all your data without any ability of the provider to see it? So it makes perfect sense to say – less trust means more security and it implies you take more control over your data privacy and security instead of transferring that responsibility to your provider.
Also, consider a scenario where there is an accidental loss of your encryption keys by the provider. Well, it sounds like a highly improbable occurrence practically, but it would render your data unreadable. What about a situation where your organization makes mistakes when configuring cloud security, resulting in the loss of your encryption keys? Worse still, hackers can target cloud providers to steal encryption keys and your data in online servers. There could also be intentional or unintentional acts by cloud employees, leading to data and key disclosures to unauthorized actors. Finally, a cloud service provider can disclose your keys under pressure from authorities, resulting in the leak of sensitive customer data without your consent and even knowledge.
In such scenarios, Grapheene comes to the rescue.
Grapheene is SDK for your application, augmented with a cryptographic cloud service that helps developers add modern and safe encryption to their applications. With Grapheene, you can securely encrypt your data with just a few lines of code. The cloud service and the SDK take care of the configurations, including selecting the right algorithms, key generation, random numbers, and initialization vectors, while keeping track of the key structure and the encryption operations.
Ways Grapheene Guarantees Success in Regulatory Compliance
Risk of Stolen Data
Let’s assume you store data in the clear, in a database or cloud storage like AWS S3. If malicious attackers violate your system and obtain data, they can easily use, sell, or publish it. Such an incident can be costly to your business, requiring high costs to fix and respond to compliance suits. Fortunately, you can encrypt your valuable data with Grapheene, making it impossible for hackers to use it after an attack.
CISA offers tips to protect data in the face of evolving attacks and dynamic privacy regulations. The agency recommends maintaining offline, encrypted backups that are regularly tested and developing and practicing a cyber response plan to prevent attacks. Ultimately, Grapheene is the best solution for achieving this recommendation – it adds a few lines of code to protect your application data with modern encryption, whether in-transit or at-rest, on the server-side, or end-to-end between client devices.
Also, storing data in clear format means that employees with legitimate access to files, database servers, or backups can access it. In effect, such a loophole may compromise your compliance with privacy laws and industry regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and CCPA. Grapheene helps organizations protect data at “field level,” for example, by encrypting personally identifiable information (PII), payment credentials, and protected health information, and access them only through the application code, where you can enforce your access policies. Other people with direct access to files or database servers will not see the sensitive information while still being able to perform their tasks on the systems.
The third scenario is when you already use encryption, but both your data and encryption keys are accessible to the cloud service provider. That way, authorities can get legal access to your data directly from the cloud provider, and you can’t block or delay it. A less disruptive and legal course of action is to use Grapheene, which allows you to take back control of your keys, making it difficult for the cloud service vendor to hand out your information without your consent and cooperation.
You can see the different ways Grapheene can be useful for your compliance efforts. Ultimately, the robust and well-designed encryption system keeps your data secure even if there is an unwanted leak from your systems or cloud.
So, are you ready for the lift-off? We offer a free plan and full access to documentation and the SDK code to help developers get started.
We are working on a series of articles covering Grapheene and its immense role in compliance in our upcoming blogs, so be sure not to miss out!