The Role of Secure File Transfer in Compliance HIPAA, GDPR and More

The Role of Secure File Transfer in Compliance HIPAA, GDPR and More

Posted on May 09, 2024 0 Comments

Businesses regularly need to demonstrate compliance with regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA and PCI-DSS. Secure file transfer solutions can help.

Secure file transfer is an essential element of the digital transformation required for doing business today. Enabling organizations to help meet compliance with cybersecurity standards is a crucial part of any file-sharing process.

In the regular course of business, organizations need to demonstrate that they meet compliance with regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA and PCI-DSS that govern data usage. Failure to do so can lead to serious consequences.

To put the need for compliance into perspective, consider that some file transfer data may be more sensitive than others (personal health information, for example). If sensitive data fell into the wrong hands, it would be problematic on several levels. Individual privacy could be at risk. Intellectual property or sensitive operational data could be seen by unauthorized parties. The organization could even be exposed to potential legal liability. Compliance standards and regulations were developed to help protect sensitive data and reduce such difficulties.

Source: Pixabay (geralt)

An effective approach to meeting compliance standards and protecting sensitive data should include a secure file transfer solution. While no single application can help achieve compliance with the requirements of a strict cybersecurity standard, a sound approach to compliance should include such a solution. Although there are several on the market that help meet compliance requirements, it is necessary to understand the ins and outs of compliance with regulations before purchasing such a tool. Understanding these intricacies will put you in a much better position to help confidently support the compliance standards that pertain to your organization’s specific needs.

The Importance of Compliance with Multiple Regulations

There are numerous regulations governing data security, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). These regulations serve distinct purposes:

  • GDPR: Pertains to the management of personal (private) content in the European Union.
  • HIPAA: Governs Protected Health Information (PHI) security.
  • PCI DSS: Pertains to credit and debit card payment security.

These regulations define a set of requirements that businesses must abide by to stay compliant. Such requirements are designed to safeguard sensitive information and its availability, integrity and confidentiality. They also include specific measures necessary for data protection, such as access control and encryption.

The practical purpose of these requirements is to put mechanisms in place for continuous monitoring and security incident detection and response. Failure to comply with these regulations may lead to reputational damage, litigation and fines. On a more positive note, achieving and maintaining regulatory compliance can give businesses a competitive edge.

The Challenges of Compliance with Several Regulations

Compliance with several regulations is complicated and costly. Regulations may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it may prove difficult to interpret and implement their requirements.

Purchasing a secure file transfer solution and seeking the help of an external team is one way to go about it. Businesses still need to invest considerable resources to understand these regulations and lay out all other necessary measures to demonstrate compliance.

Compliance Audits

Compliance audits typically involve a third party evaluating the business’ security processes and policies to ascertain whether they are capable of meeting regulatory requirements. Audit types vary from one regulation to another, and may be on-site or remote. Failing an audit may subject a business to numerous penalties (as listed in the previous section), and represent a gap in an organization’s ability to conduct business to the level of security set by the relevant standard.

Third-Party Services

Businesses often use third-party services such as file-sharing platforms and cloud storage for more secure transferring processes. While such services can be convenient to access, they too must be compliant with cybersecurity regulations if they are to be fit for the purpose of securing sensitive data. Businesses need to review the service provider’s data policies and security measures and gather evidence that proves the provider is compliant.

Data Retention and Disposal

Businesses must maintain a record of several collected and processed data sets. They should dispose of data more securely by either using encryption, digital deletion or physical destruction of a device to help remove data from their systems.

Having an incident response plan that promptly reports data breaches and other data-related incidents is necessary to help IT and network teams mitigate issues.

Continuous Monitoring and Development

Regular review/audit of security measures is necessary to help identify areas of improvement. Reviews and audits can also help provide information on the security layers’ status. This may help identify and diminish a potential issue, resulting in assistance with improved compliance and security.

Secure File Sharing Plays an Important Role in Compliance

Secure file sharing plays an important role in compliance. As the name suggests, secure file sharing allows businesses to share and store sensitive data more securely. It keeps information safe from the hands of miscreants, thereby limiting intentional or accidental breaches of customer, employee and business data.

Secure file sharing facilitates regular and more secure backups of the data, while enabling access to authorized staff. These actions help prevent unnecessary data loss.

Simply put, secure file sharing is an essential ingredient in helping businesses comply with data security regulations.

NIST SP 800-53 Framework Access Controls

Applying National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-53 (NIST SP 800-53) framework access controls can help businesses achieve secure file sharing.

These controls assist with restricting access to data and information systems based on user permissions, roles and identity. Most regulations about privacy and data protection utilize the requirements laid out by this framework. These requirements serve as a guideline for protecting and managing sensitive data.

Critical requirements include:

  • Access controls for file sharing: Only authorized employees can access confidential/sensitive information.
  • Incident response for file sharing: A set of procedures that businesses must follow in case of a security incident, including detection, analysis, containment and recovery.
  • Encryption for file sharing: The encryption of sensitive data during transfer/storage keeps attackers from reading it even if intercepted.
  • Environmental and physical protection: Environmental and physical controls must be in place to protect sensitive data from damage, theft and unauthorized access.

Secure File Transfer Solutions: Best Practices

Here are some secure file transfer best practices to demonstrate compliance:

  • Implement secure file transfer solutions: Implement compliant, secure file transfer solutions that provide incident response procedures, encryption and access control.
  • Access control implementation: The use of strong passwords, multi-factor authentication (MFA) and restricted access to sensitive data is important.
  • Data encryption: Businesses must incorporate encryption algorithms that comply with regulations like GDPR, HIPAA and PCI DSS.
  • Train your employees: Training your employees on secure file sharing best practices is crucial to your organizational security health—it may help prevent accidental security breaches.

Purchasing a secure file transfer solution can help you stay compliant with regulations. There are several worthy secure file transfer software to choose from, one of which is Progress MOVEit managed file transfer.

Get a demo today!

Surajdeep Singh

Surajdeep Singh has been working in the tech sphere as a marketing guru and journalist for more than six years, with a specialty in blockchain and Web3. He has donned several hats in marketing and journalism over the years and worked with many reputable brands. Feel free to reach out to him on LinkedIn.


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