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In this age where cybercrime is on the rise, it has become increasingly important to ensure the protection of data. Much of the company data today contains critical and sometimes very personal information. The release of such information would expose the person responsible for liability for breach of confidentiality. Identity theft is on the rise. Sometimes it seems that no one’s private information is safe from intruders. These crimes have undesirable effects on the affected organization, the individual, and the economy. It is imperative that appropriate measures be taken to ensure data protection.

Measures in place

There are various measures that have been put in place to ensure data protection. Persons and organizations dealing in data are usually required to adhere to these measures. An example is the Data Protection Law. This Act mandates protection of all data and puts in place mechanisms to ensure the achievement of this objective. Secondly, this Act creates bodies which are authorized to confirm that these new laws are carried out correctly. It also punishes non-adherence, thus providing the right incentives for persons dealing with data to ensure that they comply with its requirements.

Apart from the Data Protection Law, various regulations have been passed that have a responsibility to protect data by providing guidelines for handling another entity’s information. Regulations are important drivers of laws. Basically, while laws provide the framework that needs to be adopted and followed, regulations provide enforcement and implementation mechanisms.

Without proper regulations, laws cannot be well understood and implemented. The regulations that govern data protection are clear as to the measures and standards that need to be employed for compliance with the Data Protection Law. Compliance with these regulations not only benefits the person whose data is at risk of exposure, it also protects the person holding the data. In the long run, compliance saves the organization and the country a lot in monetary losses. The cost of one data breach is about $1.3 million.

Compliance with regulations

Various measures have been adopted by data users and processers to comply with the rules and regulations. Data processors generally attempt to find the easiest and most cost friendly way of data protection. This may include the use of software specifically designed to make it hard for hackers to break into a computer system. While there are a variety of software programs for this type of data protection, the time-tested Microsoft Office 365 package provides a broad range of services.

Compliance with regulations has the following benefits:

  • Provides uniform benchmarks since the regulations and standards define the minimum bar for protecting data in the cloud.
  • It acts as a proof of security as organizations are motivated to design better security controls to build trust with the customers.
  • It is a proactive innovation since the regulatory bodies encourage and work with cloud service providers to create better technology.

Office 365 offers an inclusive set of certifications and proofs for any cloud service provider. They help organizations comply with national, regional, and industry-specific requirements governing the collection and usage of an individual’s personal information.

Shared responsibility

Unlike most software providing data protection services, the Microsoft Office Package allows for shared responsibility through the cloud. This responsibility is mutual between the data processor, known as the client and the cloud service provider. The client is required to manage the risks that are associated with inadequate data protection or data leakage for his or her end. This ensures responsibility and removes all risks of negligence by the client. At this point, data classification and data accountability is done. This shared responsibility model reduces the customer’s burden.

Shared responsibility may not be as easy as it sounds. The client has to know exactly what is required of him or her and how to meet these requirements. Since these are mostly technological and the client already has his or her hands full with the data processing, it may be difficult to find time to learn and implement shared responsibility.

While Microsoft is well equipped to maintain its end of the bargain, they understand the difficulty that clients face in maintaining their end of it. As such, Microsoft takes it upon themselves to equip their clients with the tools and knowledge required to ensure accountability on their part. An example of how this works is seen in Office 365. This software uses lockboxes to restrict access to data. Clients are given access thus making them a part of the chain-of-command required before access to the data is gained.

This business model helps to reduce the customer’s burden. Microsoft handles the larger part of accountability, which is 78% while the organization is responsible for 22% of the burden.

Wrap up

Microsoft Office 365 contains over 1,100 controls that coordinate with different regulatory requirements. This helps to counter any threat that can be imposed from anywhere across the globe. In addition, it assists individuals and businesses in staying up to date with the ever-evolving industry standards in data protection.

Office 365 Compliance Manager

Published On: 28th May 2018 by Ernie Sherman.