Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) require good data protection tools and solutions to safeguard valuable information and maintain compliance with data protection regulations. In this article we will explore some of the top data protection tools and solutions for SMBs.
Any business operating in today’s digital world has a responsibility to protect the personal data in its possession, particularly that of its customers. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) however can face specific challenges when it comes to protecting their valuable information due to possible limitations in resources and expertise. At Aphaia, we understand the impact that can be made by implementing the right tools and solutions within an SMB to protect this valuable data, and also ensure compliance with data protection regulations. In a recent article, we highlighted the importance of data protection specifically for SMBs. It is essential to note that SMBs have a responsibility to ensure that the tools they use for data protection comply with the relevant regulations.
Backup and recovery solutions are essential for SMBs’ data protection compliance, reducing the risk of damage from data loss.
Backup and recovery tools create regular backups of data and store them securely, either on-site or in a cloud. In the event of any data loss or system failure, these solutions allow SMBs to restore their data quickly and minimise downtime. Backup and recovery solutions not only protect data but also ensure business continuity, by reducing the risk of financial and reputational damage in the event of a data breach. They can help SMBs protect their data from a variety of threats, including hardware failure, software corruption, as well as human error.
Access control software is crucial for SMBs, enabling them to protect their systems and sensitive data from security threats.
Another important tool for SMBs to consider is access control software. These tools allow businesses to manage and control who has access to their systems and personal data and to define the data sensitivity level for each task. Access control software also allows businesses to track user activities, providing an additional layer of security by creating logs of when each access took place. This measure is linked to the concept of least privilege and the business-need-to-know basis, whereby each employee should be granted the minimum system resources and authorisations required to perform their tasks. By preventing unauthorised access to systems and data, these solutions can help protect the business from data breaches and other security threats, and improve overall compliance with regulations, including the GDPR and UK GDPR data minimisation and accountability principles.
Two-factor authentication heightens security by requiring two forms of identification, thereby significantly reducing the risk of unauthorised access.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a simple yet effective data protection tool that adds an extra layer of security to user authentication. With 2FA, users are required to provide two forms of identification, typically a password and a unique verification code sent to their email or mobile device. This additional step significantly reduces the risk of unauthorised access, as even if a password is compromised, the attacker would still need the verification code to gain access. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to the systems, even if they have the user’s password. 2FA is relatively easy to set up and use and it is available in most cloud solutions. For special categories of personal data, multi-factor authentication may be considered, requiring more than two factors to be used in order to verify the identity. This would align with the GDPR and UK GDPR risk level approach, whereby the technical and organisational measures to be applied should be determined by the risk the data processing activity entails.
Firewalls are a significant component of a comprehensive data protection strategy, acting as a barrier to monitor and filter network traffic.
Firewalls are a significant element to achieving a comprehensive data protection strategy. These tools act as a barrier between a business’s internal network and the external world, monitoring and filtering incoming and outgoing network traffic. Implementing a robust firewall solution is essential for SMBs to protect their networks and personal data. It is important to maintain a firewall that is properly configured and updated and that can help protect the business network from unauthorised access, malware, data leaks and even unnecessary traffic.
Data encryption tools are essential for SMBs to protect sensitive information, and ensure security even in case of a data breach.
Data encryption tools are essential for protecting special categories of personal data. Even though pseudonymised data is still personal data, encryption converts data into an unreadable format that can only be decrypted with a specific key or password. By encrypting data, SMBs can ensure that even if their data does get compromised, it remains secure. Where there is a data breach, the fact that the compromised data is encrypted may be crucial when deciding whether the breach needs to be reported to the supervisory authority. Apart from achieving compliance with data security regulations, this can earn SMBs the trust of their customers.
When implementing data protection tools, it is paramount to have the appropriate contracts and agreements in place, such as a Data Processing Agreement as stipulated by Article 28 of the GDPR and UK GDPR .
While implementing data protection tools is crucial, it is equally important to ensure that the right contracts and agreements are in place when using them. For example, when engaging a data processor, such as a cloud service provider, SMBs must have a Data Processing Agreement (DPA) in compliance with Article 28 of the GDPR and UK GDPR. GDPR and UK GDPR Article 28 (3) states “Processing by a processor shall be governed by a contract or other legal act under Union or Member State law, that is binding on the processor with regard to the controller and that sets out the subject-matter and duration of the processing, the nature and purpose of the processing, the type of personal data and categories of data subjects and the obligations and rights of the controller.” This agreement clarifies the roles and responsibilities of both parties and ensures that personal data is processed in accordance with data protection regulations. A processor processes personal data on behalf of the controller, so the controller is responsible for assessing that the processor implements appropriate technical and organisational measures taking into account the nature of the personal data processed and that it provides sufficient guarantees to process personal data in line with GDPR and UK GDPR requirements. Email marketing tools are a good example of how important this is. While it may be the tool provider who actually sends the marketing email, the controller must ensure that the database of recipients was lawfully obtained, that there is an appropriate lawful basis in place to send the marketing emails to them and that all the relevant procedures are followed, including the provision of an opt-out link as relevant. Accordingly, where marketing tools are used, SMBs should choose a solution that enable managing soft opt-in/opt-out for marketing communications.
By implementing the right data protection tools and contracts, SMBs can help to protect their data and comply with data protection regulations.
An outsourced DPO can provide SMBs with the necessary expertise and accessibility to effectively navigate complex data protection regulations.
Since SMBs can sometimes need external resources and expertise to handle complex data protection regulations effectively, these businesses can often benefit from the help of an outsourced Data Protection Officer (DPO). By utilising a DPO who is accessible for online queries and that communicates effectively, SMBs can confidently navigate the complex landscape of data protection, safeguarding their customers’ trust and avoiding potential legal issues. Aphaia understands the importance of clear and efficient communication with our clients throughout that process, which is why we utilise tools such as Trello. This platform allows us to streamline communication, ensuring that our clients are regularly updated on data protection matters, including policy changes, risk assessments, and any emerging legal requirements.