A Guide to the Must-Have Security Tools for GDPR Compliance

GDPR requires a comprehensive approach to information security, compliance, governance and risk. Even though security tools are just one piece of the GDPR compliance puzzle, they are an important aspect of protecting consumer data privacy.

Here are eight must-have security tools for maintaining GDPR compliance:

1. Data discovery & classification

The GDPR encompasses everything about data privacy and protection. But, to protect the privacy of EU data subjects you need to know what types of data you hold within the organization. A data discovery or mapping tool will help you find any data that you have and classify it by risk.

You may have data that’s highly sensitive and could be a high risk if leaked or stolen. Sensitive personal data can include:

  • Credit card numbers
  • Birth dates
  • Bank card numbers
  • Healthcare codes
  • Identification numbers
  • Social security numbers/ National ID
  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Financial fields (salary, hourly rate)

Or, you may have a lot of data that doesn’t contain personal data. Even so, non-sensitive data can be used as leverage by hackers to obtain access to your sensitive data. Under the GDPR, it’s essential to have a data discovery or mapping tool to classify your data into high, medium, and low-risk.

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2. Encryption or data masking

Encryption encodes any data so that it’s only accessed by an authorized user who knows the cryptographic key specifically for access. When storing sensitive data in a database, like credit card details or personal data, many organizations are opting for encryption. Data can be encrypted when in transit or in use as well. For example, payment data processed by online merchants is often encrypted in transit using Secure Socket Layers (SSL) to protect a buyer’s personal data.

Encryption makes it much more difficult for hackers to make any connection between data and its subject. Besides, if you use encryption to protect data and encounter a data breach, the EU regulatory authorities may not view the breach as a complete GDPR compliance failure.

3. Security incident and event management (SIEM)

Under Article 30 of the GDPR, controllers and data processors must keep a record of all processing activities.  A SIEM tool can help address this requirement by collecting data and log activity. The SIEM tool aggregates log data from systems, networks, and applications and allows an organization to correlate it to malicious activity.

Many SIEM tools can be aligned to GDPR requirements and your security policies. A dashboard can be created for security analysts to review and monitor.  A security team also uses the SIEM logs to identify patterns, detect malicious behavior, and create actionable alerts on security incidents for your organization.

4. Vulnerability and compliance management

According to recent reports, nearly 60% of organizations that suffered a data breach in the past two years cite unpatched vulnerabilities as the main culprit. With looming GDPR penalties for data breaches involving sensitive personal data, it’s clear that vulnerability management should be a core part of your business operations.

Vulnerability and Compliance Management (VCM) tools scan your network for major vulnerabilities and create an action plan and roadmap for remediating holes within your network, applications, and data. These security tools also help you align your information security policies with well-known industry regulations, such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, GLBA, FFIEC, SOX, etc. VCM tools will also help you know what types of vulnerabilities are preventing you from meeting these regulations.

5. Next-gen endpoint protection

Endpoints, such as laptops, desktops, and workstations, account for the highest percentage of malware infections and ransomware. Employees are often tricked into opening malicious attachments from phishing schemes, opening the doors to threat actors to infiltrate your environment.

Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP) go one-step beyond traditional anti-virus solutions with advanced machine learning to prevent malware, ransomware, and even zero-day exploits and attacks. EPP can also learn the behavior of your organization’s endpoints and identify any malicious behavior without a query to an anti-virus signature database.

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