Four Data Retention Mistakes Security Leaders Should Avoid

Four Data Retention Mistakes Security Leaders Should Avoid

While keeping documents indefinitely might lead to clutter, destroying them too quickly can cause stress and legal concerns. As a result, an effective data retention policy is critical for establishing a company-wide guideline for how long a record should be preserved.

As data privacy has become one of the hottest topics in the IT industry, governing bodies across the globe are developing regulatory frameworks to address this issue. However, dealing with the rapidly growing document volumes has become challenging for enterprises, because of the evolving regulatory framework. This is mostly due to the current and outdated records starting to overwhelm human and IT resources required to securely track, store, manage and discard them when they have outlived their purpose.

Even though enterprises have championed the process of retaining data, the preservation of obsolete records leads to wasted time. Furthermore, it creates unnecessary confusion among researchers while going through outdated files in search of data they actually need that serve their different purposes. Moreover, failing to curate records also increases storage and backup costs.

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Here are a few data retention mistakes CISOs need to avoid when they encounter the rising stockpile of necessary records and struggle to decide which documents and data to keep or discard:

Not staying on top of the emerging and evolving data retention requirements

With the concern around data privacy growing, many institutions and government bodies have introduced new privacy regulations. EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), has increased the need for stronger, deeper and more inclusive data governance. Not keeping up with the updated regulations can hamper the ability of CISOs to implement a comprehensive record retention schedule and policy. Therefore, they should concentrate their efforts to understand the type of data they have, how it’s used and who it’s shared with and much more.

Not establishing clear data retention objectives and responsibilities

According to experts many CISOs fail to understand that data governance and data retention programs aren’t one-time projects. This leads them to improperly manage data retention programs that are disconnected from the internal teams, preventing them from accomplishing risk-reducing outcomes. Furthermore, they are also prone to missing the major data curation opportunities that arise on a regular basis during their business operations. To address this situation, CISOs should involve all stakeholders while developing as well as operationalizing record retention programs and protocols.

Not truly understanding the CISO’s role in record retention

Even though CIOs, CDOs and lawyers are generally responsible for establishing record retention policies and schedules, CISOs also have another important role to play. One of the major responsibilities that fall on their shoulders is preserving and presenting data that enables them to support chain of custody evidence as well as security investigations for data integrity. Moreover, they need to prove event correlations that should adhere to non-repudiation requirements in a court of law and provide event history that determines the dwell-time of incidents within an environment.

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A Lack of understanding of data lifecycle elements

Some CISOs are often guilty of not having a thorough understanding of various components present in the data lifecycle, and this results in many of these elements being ignored or incorrectly used. While the exact name and description of the processing activity, owner, data processor, lawfulness and business purpose are major elements, they are just a part of it. Other components also include processing activity, and geography, resulting in a large amount of metadata to analyze, which traditionally doesn’t fall under the security skillset. Thus, to effectively retain data, it is critical for CISOs to fully understand the data lifecycle elements.

In today’s enterprise landscape, holding the right information can make or break an organization. Hence, enterprises should strive to retain the data that can propel their growth while also ensuring that they take effective steps to comply with the regulatory requirements.

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