Rise of global data regulations benefits CIOs

Economies across the world are passing data laws similar to Europe's GDPR and the increased regulatory environment is releasing budget to CIOs and CTOs says NTT's Rich Harper.

GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulations, defined 2018 for many information and technology leaders in Europe, but the reach and impact of GDPR globally is only just beginning to be felt and the result is that CIOs and CTOs across the globe are having to respond. 

10 countries across the globe are passing new regulations that are in-line or in some cases almost identical to GDPR. In 2020 the Consumer Privacy Act comes into force in California and legal experts expect similar regulations to be adopted across a number of states in the USA, creating in effect a national regulatory framework. As a result, data and information governance is driving security standards and implementations. 

In the GDPR-regulated area the law has been an opportunity for CIOs to cleanse and reorganise information strategy. Sabah Khan-Carter of international media company News Corp described GDPR as an opportunity to ensure only the data that provides measurable value to the business is to be retained.  As the regulatory tide builds, it is not only an opportunity to improve information management, some organisations are realising that in order to remain compliant, and benefit from new business models, their infrastructure needs modernisation.

"Regulation is driving a lot of data centre and network improvements," say Rich Harper, Vice President of Professional Services for NTT Communications in the US, a company that is now a significant global provider of technology managed services. "The regulations are good and they are positive for business. The industries that hold a lot of information are being the most aggressive at modernising their information infrastructure."

Harper believes the regulatory environment is playing a part in wider security improvements. "Even though security is expensive it is right and proper to do it right. It is still cheaper than to fail," he says as organisations adopt a similar mantra of airlines towards information security. In the airline sector professionals talk of safety being expensive, but a lot cheaper than an accident. With regulations like GDPR threatening 4% of global revenues, the same approach is piloting its way into business technology discourse.

"I do think there is a shift as the whole organisation knows they have to have a security understanding of how to protect themselves.

"We worry about a false sense of security though. Although there has been a shift, there are some organisations that meet the regulations, but there are areas of the organisation that are not secure," Harper warns. NTT Communications surveyed major businesses and found 47% believe they had never been breached, closer analysis found 90% of those surveyed had suffered a breach of some kind.

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