Facebook just reported a massive data breach impacting over 50 million user accounts. And while most investment advisers are not likely to experience a breach of that scale, what is likely is that a cyber incident will occur at some point. Consequently, state regulators continue to expand the protections they require for their residents through increasingly strict data breach reporting requirements, in some cases coming very close to the international requirements imposed by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
During a panel discussion, “State of the Data Breach: Legislative Changes and the Impact of GDPR,” at the recent Ascendant/CSS compliance conference in San Diego, Andrew Hartnett, Officer at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., Ronan Brennan, Chief Product Officer at CSS, and E.J. Yerzak, Director of Cyber IT Services at CSS brought attendees on a legislative journey of all that has changed in 2018 on the breach reporting front – from Alabama and South Dakota becoming the 49th and 50th states to enact data breach laws to various states including Colorado and California amending theirs. Cynthia LaRose, Chair of the Privacy and Data Security Practices at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., supplemented the discussion with some helpful materials about GDPR myths and misconceptions compared to the reality of the regulation.
Mr. Brennan highlighted the operational challenges firms face in complying with GDPR, such as mapping a comprehensive inventory of data and data flows as well as the importance of vendor management.
The session concluded with Mr. Hartnett reminding attendees that despite all of the changes we have seen recently in data breach laws in 2018, at the end of the day what is really important is not to memorize the nuances of all 50 state breach laws and GDPR but rather to focus on improving our cybersecurity programs (policies, procedures, testing, and training) from the outset to hopefully avoid a breach from occurring in the first place. Lining up legal and forensics support in advance to assist with the breach investigation and reporting can help firms to save their energy and efforts for maintaining an effective cybersecurity program throughout the year.
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