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Are Your Business’ Data Backups Compliant?

Protecting your company’s data involves more than putting it in a safe place and keeping it secure. Of course, you must keep it intact and be able to retrieve it in the event of an IT system failurefocused attack or unplanned event – that’s a best practice for any business. But at that point, you’re only getting started.

That’s because today’s data moves at ever-accelerating speeds as it interconnects with ever-more-interdependent systems and networks – especially with the increased prevalence of cloud computing. If you work in a highly-regulated industry such as healthcare or financial services, you need to be aware of any potential government-mandated rules or other industry guidelines that may apply to your business when it comes to data storing data and record keeping.

There are rules for every industry

In Canada, the Digital Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) establish fairly strict guidelines regarding the storage, use of, and access to, personally identifiable information. But while PIPEDA broadly covers several industries, some regulatory frameworks are a bit more focused.

In the retail sector, for example, the global Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) establishes a framework merchants must follow to maximize the security of transactions and ensure the safety of cardholder data. And businesses in the transportation and logistics industries are subject to regulations from the Canada Border Services Agency that dictate minimum periods for data and records retention.

Among other requirements, rules can dictate how long data must be retained and in what form, the processes to be followed for recovering data from archives and how data must be encrypted. If you fail to accommodate these requirements within your data backup planning and implementation, you may, despite your best intentions, find yourself out of compliance and subject to consequences that could include fines, limitations on business activities, and damage to your corporate reputation. 

How you can identify applicable rules and guidelines

Regardless of which industry you are in, it’s up to you to identify the regulatory frameworks that apply. Ultimately, you’re responsible for adapting your data backup and management protocols accordingly.

The federal Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s website has a wealth of useful information and resources to help businesses and individuals. They have tools that outline the federal, provincial and sector-specific legislations that may apply to your organization based on the type of information being stored – and who to contact for more information – as well as a comprehensive self-assessment tool for businesses for evaluating how well they protect personal information.

How cloud-based services can help

On its own, data backup and recovery planning can seem overwhelming for a small business. Add regulatory compliance to the mix and it can seem even more difficult. But it doesn’t have to be, because a growing range of cloud-based services are now available that both maximize data availability and ensure ongoing compliance with common data security and record keeping rules and guidelines.

This evolving market is good news for companies that have often worried about finding enough qualified people and resources to keep ahead of a shifting regulatory landscape. Solutions like Data Protect, for example, offer continuous offsite backup, data encryption, and easy file retrieval – with all data stored in secure Canadian data centres.

The bottom line

When it comes to data management, regulatory compliance is a critical factor for businesses of all sizes. Businesses operating in industries that are subject to specific rules for data backup, management and recovery often have no choice in the matter – they must comply, or face the consequences.

Have you assessed your own company’s regulatory requirements? What rules does your business have to follow? Let us know in the comments, below.

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