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Posts Tagged ‘data protection act’

Secure Managed File Transfer: On Premise v’s The Cloud

Everybody is talking about the cloud; its today’s hot topic with more and more organisations considering a cloud-base (hosted) solution as an alternative to their current on-premise solution.  The shift to cloud based computing is gathering pace and consequently this is an area we’ve been looking at quite closely.

So, is Cloud based secure managed file transfer for me and what are the biggest drivers behind this trend?

1.  Its cheaper! Many IT departments spend at least 50% of their budgets on salaries, and up to 70% of IT staff time is spent on maintenance, according to analysts. In-house IT specialists cost companies for IT management resource. A hosted service, on the other hand, may charge a much-reduced figure for its service along with 24–7–365 monitoring and higher uptime than many companies can achieve with on-premise staff and systems.

Managed File Transfer in the Cloud

2.  Hosted providers can do it better. Hosting vendors store the information on their own servers and manage the entire system for you, drastically reducing the time and energy you spend on keeping your MFT up and running. A growing number of companies just want MFT isolated as an enterprise-class cloud service, with all the modern archiving, compliance and virus protection features they require along with a scalable infrastructure their IT staff never has to worry about or manage.

3. The cloud has gone mainstream. Primed for enormous growth and widespread adoption, recent research indicates that 84 percent of small and mid-size companies and 69 percent of large companies are willing to consider, currently reviewing or already using software-as-service (SaaS) solutions. A big part of this growth is a result of the increase in broadband Internet access, but another key factor is that cloud MFT vendors are making better, simpler and more affordable software that doesn’t require a technical degree to setup or use. It’s also more widely accepted as a safe alternative to on-premise solutions.

4.  Pay as you go. As budgets tighten in this tougher economic period, more and more companies are gravitating toward cloud-based solutions. With no technology to maintain, total cost of ownership is five to 10 times less than installed software, so it’s easier to budget and scale as you add and subtract users. In addition, cloud-based solutions do not require ongoing maintenance, time or complex upgrades, so what was once a capital expense becomes a more balance sheet-friendly operating expense.

As this shift to cloud based computing continues to gather pace, Pro2col is at the forefront of assessing the industries leading vendors to ensure we know which solution is right for your budget and set of requirements.

But, the Cloud isn’t for Everyone

Despite all this optimism for the cloud, we know there are plenty of situations where it may not make sense to move your MFT there. Some data may need to remain on-premise, behind a firewall for legal or regulatory considerations (e.g., HIPAA). Also, other on-premise applications (e.g., document workflows) may be tightly integrated with your on-premise MFT system, so moving your MFT to the cloud could pose challenges if you are hoping to continue coupling these solutions. Finally, many organisations may not have fully made use of their existing on-premise MFT solutions (i.e., they have already invested in it) and may not be able to easily or practically abandon it.

For independent advice on Cloud/Hosted FTP or On-Premise Managed File Transfer solutions contact Pro2col on +44 (0) 333 123 1240 or +44 (0) 1202 433 415.

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Half a million reasons to beware!

Today was the day that the ICO’s got the power to fine companies for data breaches with the amendments to the Data Protection Act finally coming into force.  With the UK somewhat behind some of the EC this brings us closer in line with the the European Commissions E-privacy directive that the UK signed up to some years ago to uphold the privacy of individuals and specifically personally identifiable data.  A lot has been written about this subject but what does it mean and how does it affect your business?

If your business stores/holds personally identifiable data about individuals, that data is now governed by the Data Protection Act.  If your company has personally identifiable data your company is legally obliged to register themselves with the ICO and appoint one or more a Data Controllers within your organisation.  It is then that persons responsibility to ensure that all personally identifiable data is stored and distributed in a secure manner.  This affects both the data stored within the organisation but the bit we get involved in is the ‘distribution’ or the data, to third parties, customers, suppliers, remote offices or remote workers.  This data now needs to be secure & managed file transfer so that you have a complete audit trail of who sent what, to whom and when – also providing information on when the information was downloaded and if possible where they were when it was downloaded.  Simply put you need to know what’s happening with your data at all times!

ICO Logo

Why should I go and implement new systems, who’s going to know it was me?  Well you could take this approach and to be fair a lot of companies will lose data and won’t get caught but would you seriously want to take the risk that the ICO could find out due to your data ending up somewhere its not supposed to be.  The consequences are up to 10% of turnover (up to a maximum of £500,000) and public humiliation when the ICO provide their statutory reports on which companies have had breaches.  Given that the ICO have been a little bit slow in getting to this stage according to the EC who threatened to fine the ICO at the end of last year you can expect that the ICO will want to take the opportunity to make a statement to the EC when they get the opportunity.  Personally I’d rather it wasn’t my company getting noticed for the wrong reasons – remember TK Maxx?

So what should I do?  Well, if you’d like to speak to someone who’s able to provide you an independent insight into the best way to move your data securely within any given business scenario then you should give Pro2col a call as we’d be pleased to help.  If you don’t want to do anything then good luck and keep your fingers crossed because the ICO are coming!

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Secure File Transfer Standards – Are you Compliant?

With the sheer abundance of security standards, laws and legislation in our society nowadays, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed.  Although a necessary measure to safeguard individual’s confidential information and protect your business against prosecution, it can be difficult to fathom which laws apply to your organisation when it comes to secure file transfer.

To complicate matters further, legislation varies between continents, in the US even between states!!  As a result, we have put together a succinct guide detailing some of the most high-profile legislation governing the US and UK in terms of secure file transfer, including some standards that are recognised internationally.  These include acts such as The Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPAA), Sarbanes Oxley (SOX), Gramm-Leach-Bliley and The Data Protection Act, as well as industry standards like FIPS and ISO 27001.

Data Protection Act

Unfortunately it doesn’t end there.  Once an organisation has established which legislation applies to their business, they then have to make sure that their systems and procedures are actually compliant!  Thankfully, accompanying the majority of legislation is compliance testing – a sure-fire way to guarantee investment in technology and solutions that meet the secure file transfer requirements stipulated by government.

If you would like to discuss security compliance in terms of secure file transfer solutions, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we are happy to provide advice and support.

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ICO gets new powers to address data protection negligence

Announced earlier this week by the Ministry of Justic, amends have been made to the Data Protection Act of 1988 that when passed in April 2010 will allow the ICO to impose fines of up to £500,000 on organisations found to be negligent regarding the privacy of personal data.

Justice Minister, Michael Wills, said: “We want to ensure that the Information Commissioner’s Office has the powers it needs and is able to impose robust penalties on those who commit serious breaches of data protection principles.”

To be subject to the fine there are certain criteria to be met, but the one that should make existing Data Controllers sit up and take notice is:

If the data controller knew or ought to have known that there was a risk that the contravention would occur, and that such a contravention would be of a kind likely to cause substantial damage or substantial distress, but failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the contravention.

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If you’re a Data Controller responsible for your companies data security how does this announcement make you feel?  If you’d like a no-obligation discussion regarding your data security and secure file transfer requirements contact Pro2col today on 0333 123 1240.

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