Cloud DLP and Regulatory Compliance: 3 Things You Must Know

Emily Heaslip
February 3, 2021
Cloud DLP and Regulatory Compliance: 3 Things You Must KnowCloud DLP and Regulatory Compliance: 3 Things You Must Know
Emily Heaslip
February 3, 2021
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It’s well-established that a data breach is an extremely costly event. By some estimates, a data leak can cost a small to medium-sized business more than $7.68 million per incident.

Compliance regimes may seem burdensome, but the goal of these policies is to prevent a devastating data breach that can bankrupt a business and cause myriad problems for consumers. It’s important to understand the differences between compliance and security, as well as how data loss prevention (DLP) allows your organization to accomplish both objectives efficiently and affordably. 

Here’s what you need to know about cloud DLP and prevalent compliance policies like HIPAA, GDPR, and others. 

Cloud compliance vs. cloud security: what’s the difference?

Cloud compliance and cloud security overlap, but these are two different areas of practice. Cloud compliance refers to the regulations and policies designed to protect individuals and companies from the impact of data loss. More specifically, compliance focuses on the type of data collected and stored by a business, as well as the regulatory frameworks that apply to data protection.

Cloud security is made up of the physical tools and platforms that protect and defend customer and company data. This could include software like VPNs, DLP platforms like Nightfall, and tools like multifactor authentication. Cloud security also requires action-oriented cloud security policies that are updated regularly to reflect changes in the business and new online threats. 

security vs compliance


[Read more: Network, Endpoint, and Cloud DLP: A Quick Guide]

Achieving cloud compliance could mean that your organization must meet requirements set by a few different regulations, depending on what industry you’re in. It’s important to understand the most common compliance regimes and design your cloud security system to meet — and exceed — those policies.

Most common data compliance requirements

There are five main compliance regulations that govern how a company collects, stores, and uses data. These regulations work at the state, federal, or international level to spell out the type of data that needs protection, as well as set forth the penalties for those companies that misuse or fail to follow the legislation. 

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This federal law governs how companies in the health insurance industry secure patients’ personal medical information. Title 2 of HIPAA specifically relates to information privacy and security. HIPAA requires that access to all electronic health records be restricted to those with valid reasons for viewing those records. This restriction applies not only to data that is stored — e.g., data at rest — but also data in motion and in use. Encryption, secure file transfer, and strong access controls are key. 

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This is an industry set of standards that rules how companies handle and protect customer credit and debit card data. If your business accepts any non-cash payments, it’s likely you will have to meet PCI DSS standards. Luckily, the PCI compliance is relatively prescriptive: there are 12 requirements that you must meet, from having a firewall to regularly testing network security. 

GDPR is one of the most recent compliance regimes passed in 2018 by the European Union. The General Data Protection Regulation aims to protect consumer privacy by mandating companies to be transparent about the data they collect, regulate how companies process data, and to improve reporting of data breaches. GDPR compliance has many requirements, but in practice, it comes down to obtaining an individual’s consent to collect data and minimizing the amount of data stored by your business. 

[Read more: How Understanding User Privacy Can Improve Your Cybersecurity]

The CCPA, California Consumer Privacy Act, began to take effect in July 2020. It’s seen as one of the most demanding pieces of privacy legislation in recent history. The CCPA will require developing comprehensive data discovery and data security programs organization-wide. Companies will need to know how data is used, where it’s stored, and who has access to it. This will often require building consistent security processes with the help of tools like privileged access management, securely configured firewalls, and application security controls like data loss prevention

Luckily, the CCPA applies only to: “companies that have gross annual revenues above $25 million; those that buy, receive, or sell the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or businesses that derive 50% or more of their annual revenue from selling consumers' personal information.” 

[Read more: Over Half of Orgs are Struggling with CCPA Compliance as Enforcement Begins]

Last but not least, SOX is short for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. SOX compliance is primarily concerned with protecting financial information of public companies, and defines what financial data must be kept for a certain amount of time. “Spreadsheets, emails, IMs, recorded phone calls and financial transactions will all need to be preserved for at least five years in case auditors require them, so it's essential the right management systems are in place,” explains one expert.

With so many different legislations to adhere to, what’s the easiest way for a company to protect its data? A comprehensive cloud DLP solution can help meet requirements of each of these compliance regulations efficiently and effectively.  

How cloud DLP helps you stay compliant 

Keeping up with data security compliance is impossible without help, especially within cloud applications — and this is where a cloud DLP solution comes into play. A tool like Nightfall can monitor and provide visibility into your data and systems, filter data streams to restrict suspicious or unidentified activity, log data for incident response and auditing, and pull everything together to help you prevent customer data from falling into the wrong hands. 

Compliance regimes like GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and PCI DSS require effective management & protection of customer data to keep consumers safe. Nightfall can help you first discover and classify sensitive customer data like PII, PHI, and PCI that many compliance regimes identify as data that must be protected. The tool also gives you a quick way to remediate issues by taking actions like notifying admins and quarantining or deleting data. This reduces the risk of losing or exposing sensitive customer data and reinforces your commitment to protecting this information. 

HIPAA compliance is one of the hardest benchmarks to achieve, especially for health industry companies that have shifted to working remotely. Nightfall is essential for ensuring HIPAA compliance within SaaS applications like Slack and is critical to development teams scaling healthcare applications within a production environment. Read our case studies to see how we help companies like Galileo Health and Springbuk maintain HIPAA compliance.

[Read more: Nightfall Data Loss Prevention makes HIPAA Compliance Possible

Learn more about Nightfall’s approach to cloud security by scheduling a demo at the link below.

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