A Quick Guide to Data Security Regulations

Payal Wadhwa

Payal Wadhwa

Jan 17, 2024

Data Security Regulations

A study by Gartner states that 75% of the world population will have its personal information covered under privacy regulations by 2024.

The massive scale at which data is processed today and the growing reliance on technology underscore the pressing need for data security. Data regulations help establish guidelines for sensitive information protection and promote transparency, trust, and accountability.

This article is a quick guide to data security regulations that top the chart in 2023 and tips to help you build airtight data security.

What are data security regulations?

Data security regulations are standards set by regulatory bodies or the government, that guide organizations towards protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. These essentially aim to safeguard the information assets of the company from destruction, tampering, unauthorized access, and other security risks.

Why are data security laws important?

Data security laws are important for purposes that extend beyond just achieving regulatory compliance. These include:

  • Ensuring the confidentiality of personal information of individuals whose data is being processed
  • Minimizing the risks of data breaches and cyber threats
  • Maintaining the reliability and accuracy of the data
  • Building a healthy business environment with improved customer confidence
  • Promoting commitment to cybersecurity

Learn more about data security standard

Top data security regulations in 2023

Different countries have different applicable data protection regulations. Here are the top data security regulations to watch out in 2023:

1. GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation

GDPR is a privacy and security law passed by the European Union (EU) that dictates the collection and usage of individual’s personal data by companies in and outside the EU including the U.S.

Who needs to comply with GDPR?

Any organization involved in collecting or processing the personal data of EU citizens regardless of its location is required to comply with GDPR.

Key requirements

  • There should be a lawful basis for collecting and processing personal data. These cases include contractual obligations, legal obligations, vital interests, legitimate interests, public tasks, and cases where data subjects give their consent.
  • Individuals should be transparently and clearly communicated about the purpose of data collection and the retention period.
  • The integrity, confidentiality, and accuracy of data must be maintained.
  • Any personal information which is unnecessary for the specified purpose must not be collected.
  • The data subjects have various rights including the right to access their personal data, the right to erasure of data, the right to rectification of incorrect data, the right to object to processing of data, and rights related to data portability.
  • In case of a data breach, it should be notified to the relevant supervisory authority as soon as the organization comes to know about it and not later than 72 hours of the incident.
  • Any international data transfers must fulfill certain requirements like ‘adequacy decisions’ and other clauses set forth by the GDPR.

Consequences of non-compliance?

Non-compliance with GDPR can result in penalties up to €20 million or 4% of worldwide annual turnover whichever is higher.

Check out the detailed list of GDPR requirements, want to get GDPR compliant? Our experts will guide you.

2. HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

HIPAA is a federal law in the United States to ensure the security and privacy of Protected health information which is any demographic or personal information that can help identify a patient.

Who needs to comply with HIPAA?

Both covered entities and business associates that work directly or indirectly in healthcare capacity need to be HIPAA compliant.

  • Covered entities like healthcare providers, insurance plans, etc. are directly involved in creation of PHI.
  • Business associates are hired by covered entities but run into PHI at some point of time. These can be medical bill services, cloud storage services etc.

Key requirements?

  • Ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of e-PHI that is collected or processed.
  • Written authorization must be obtained from individuals before usage or disclosure of PHI.
  • The access to and usage of PHI must be restricted.
    There must be technical, administrative and physical safeguards for protection of sensitive health information.
  • In case of breach, the affected individuals, the department of health and human services (HHS) and media (in certain cases) must be notified.

Consequences of non-compliance?

Non-compliance with HIPAA can attract penalties starting from $100 to $50000 per violation with the maximum of $1.5 million.

There can also be increased audit requirements, lawsuits, prison terms upto 10 years, loss of business and more such consequences.

Check out more on HIPAA compliance

3. PCI DSS: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

PCI DSS is a globally accepted security protocol set by the PCI SSC (Security standards council) to maintain a secure environment for collection and processing of payment authentication data.

Who needs to comply with PCI DSS?

Any business that collects, records, manages, or exchanges payment card information like confidential payment data or cardholder’s personal details needs to comply with PCI DSS.

Key requirements?

  • Building and maintaining secure networks through firewalls and not using default password settings.
  • Protecting sensitive cardholder data and employing encryption controls while data transmission.
  • Restricting technical and physical access to cardholder data.
  • Deploying effective security mechanisms like unique IDS and defense’s against malware infections.
  • Monitoring network resources and cardholder data access
  • Testing the functioning of security systems and processes.
  • Documenting and maintaining information security policy.

Check out the complete list of PCI DSS requirement

Consequences of non-compliance?

Non-compliance with PCI DSS can result in:

  • Penalties range from $5000 to over $100000 per month.
  • Suspension of payment card processing privileges, lawsuits and reputational damages.

4. CCPA: California Consumer Privacy Act

CCPA is a state-level data regulation enacted in California, United States to protect the privacy of personal information of its residents.

Who needs to comply with CCPA?

CCPA applies to businesses which are for-profit and

  • Have an annual revenue of over $25 million.
  • Buy, sell or receive personal information of 100000 or more California residents.
  • Derive 50% of their revenue from selling personal information of California residents.

Key requirements?

  • California customers must be informed by businesses before or at the time of collection of personal information.
    The customers have the right to know the purpose of information collection, the source of collection and details of third parties in case of transfers.
  • Individuals have the right to request deletion of their personal data or opt-out of sale of personal information to third-parties.
  • Businesses cannot discriminate against consumers who exercise their CCPA rights.
  • Security controls for unauthorized use or access of personal information must be implemented.
  • Records of consumer requests and initiated actions must be maintained for at least 24 months.
    In case of breach, residents must be notified without any delays.

Consequences of non-compliance?

Fines and penalties start from $2500 per violation and go up to $7500 per violation.
There can be other statutory damages from $100-$700 for every incident, legal liabilities, reputational damages and business disruptions.

5. PIPEDA: Personal information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

PIPEDA is a Canadian federal privacy law set forth to protect the collection and usage of personal information by private sector organisations.

Who needs to comply with PIPEDA?

Any private business, regardless of its location, collecting, using or disclosing personal information of Canadian citizen for ‘commercial’ purposes needs to comply with PIPEDA. These could be airlines, telecommunications companies etc.

Key requirements?

  • Organizations must seek consent from individuals for collecting or processing personal information.
  • Organizations are accountable for the collected personal information and must maintain its confidentiality and accuracy.
  • The collection, usage, and transfer of information must be limited to purpose. The information must be retained only till it serves the purpose.
  • Technical, physical, and organizational security measures must be employed for data protection.
  • Individuals have the right to access their personal information and request correction in case of inaccurate data.
  • In case of a breach, individuals and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada must be notified as soon as possible.

Consequences of non-compliance?

Penalties can range from $10000 to $100000 CAD for a violation depending upon its severity. Apart from this, the organizations may be asked to initiate remedial measures or attract investigations, lawsuits etc.

Also check out: Complete Guide to Data Compliance

Tips for complying with data security regulations

Here are a few tips to help comply with data security regulations in a structured fashion:

Familiarize yourself with the regulations

The first step in implementing data regulations across the organization is understanding what rules apply based on how your organization functions.
Analyze data that your organization collects, stores, and processes. Next, work with teams and chart out the intended purpose.

After you understand processes, you can now break down the requirements of data regulation and map out the corresponding regulations that apply. This approach ensures you don’t miss any details while rolling out data regulations.

Employ strong security controls

In order to ensure compliance on an ongoing basis, it is essential to employ strong security practices. Employees using the same password across portals is an example of poor security control and must be avoided at all costs.

Methods like encryption, access-based controls, multi-factor authentication etc. help prevent unauthorized access or deliberate intrusions. These also help build a culture of ‘security-first’ while staying focused on the long-term cyber health of the organization.

Make regular risk assessments a ritual

Risk assessment is an incredibly important aspect of data regulations. It alerts the organization to any potential risk while setting mitigation plans in motion before these issues escalate. A mandatory risk assessment must be carried out over a specific period, say once in 90 days, to ensure that the compliance efforts of the organization are on track. 

Run frequent internal audits

Internal audits act as a performance report of the organization’s compliance with data regulations. They highlight areas of the organization’s data regulation mechanism that have worked well and identify areas that require improvement. The organization can then reshuffle priorities and resources to realign the organization’s controls with data regulation requirements.

Try an automation tool

Automated software can help prevent oversights and do all the heavy-lifting. A comprehensive tool like Sprinto can help implement controls at a granular level, identify security lapses, and roll out policies quickly. It can also help automate evidence collection, ensure employee training, and shorten the time companies need to get compliance ready.

Build resilient data security with Sprinto

The overarching goal of all these data regulations is to ensure data privacy. It can be challenging to implement the right set of controls that help your organization comply with data regulation requirements. Every regulation type comes with a comprehensive list of controls that need to be implemented and the penalties of non-compliance can be quite heavy. 

Luckily there’s a better way to do it—Sprinto. It’s effortless, flexible, and helps you see value from day zero. Let’s show you how it’s done. Talk to our experts today.


Who is responsible for maintaining data protection in an organization?

Maintaining data protection in an organization is a combined effort of senior leadership, data protection officers, IT department, compliance team and employees. Even third parties associated with the organization are responsible for ensuring data privacy.

What should be done in case of a data breach?

Every organization must have an incident management plan in place to be initiated in case of a breach. Post-incident investigation to understand the reasons and implementing protective measures must be carried out. It is also important to notify the relevant authorities and affected individuals.

Payal Wadhwa

Payal Wadhwa

Payal is your friendly neighborhood compliance whiz! She turns perplexing compliance lingo into actionable advice about keeping your digital business safe and savvy. When she isn’t saving virtual worlds, she’s penning down poetic musings or lighting up local open mics. Cyber savvy by day, poet by night!

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