Once data began going digital, authorities realized a need to protect it, and data privacy rules and regulations were created to address cyber threats. Many international schools have one or more data privacy policies they need to meet.
Schools in the US that provide healthcare services to students need to comply with HIPAA. Any US school collecting payment card data for school fees must worry about PCI-DSS. GDPR is a wide-reaching data protection regulation for all schools in the EU and some international schools beyond.
International data privacy regulations are just the tip of the iceberg. Many state and local jurisdictions also have their own data privacy laws. Schools must be aware of these compliance requirements. But they also need to know about updates to these rules.
Appsevents work with international schools worldwide, and we have seen a huge increase in the number of national data protection regulations going live in the past 12 months. By the end of 2024, about 75% of the global population will have its data protected by one or more privacy regulations!
Authorities enact new data privacy regulations all the time. For example, in 2023, four states will have new rules. Colorado, Utah, Connecticut, and Virginia will begin enforcing new data privacy statutes.
Schools must stay on top of their data privacy compliance requirements as many standards carry stiff penalties for a data breach. And if security is lacking, fines can be even higher.
Does all that sound scary?
Don’t worry; we have some tips below for you. These can help you keep up with data privacy updates coming your way.
Steps for Staying On Top of Data Privacy Compliance
1. Identify the Regulations You Need to Follow
Does your organization have a list of the different data privacy rules it falls under?
Identify all the various data privacy regulations that you may be subject to. This helps ensure you’re not caught off guard by one you didn’t know about.
2. Stay Aware of Data Privacy Regulation Updates
Don’t get blindsided by a data privacy rule change. You can stay on top of any changes by signing up for updates on the appropriate website. Look for the official website of the compliance authority.
You should have updates sent to more than one person. Typically, your Data Protection Officer / Security Officer or equal, and another responsible party. This ensures they don’t get missed if someone is on vacation.
3. Do an Annual Review of Your Data Security Standards
Any changes to your IT environment can mean falling out of compliance. A new staff mobile device added, but not properly protected, is a problem. One new cloud tool an employee decides to use can also cause a compliance issue.
Doing at least an annual review of your data security is important. Match that with your data privacy compliance requirements to make sure you’re still good.
For schools whose tech is based around Google Workspace, Appsevents run a comprehensive security audit
4. Audit Your Security Policies and Procedures
Something else you should audit at least annually is your policies and procedures. These written documents tell staff what’s expected from them. They also give direction when it comes to data privacy and how to handle a breach.
Audit your security policies annually. Additionally, audit them whenever there is a data privacy regulation update. You want to ensure that you’re encompassing any new changes to your requirements.
5. Update Your Technical, Physical & Administrative Safeguards As Needed
Plan ahead when you receive a notification that a data privacy update is coming. It’s best to comply before the rule kicks in, if possible.
Look at three areas of your IT security:
- Technical safeguards – Systems, devices, software, etc.
- Administrative safeguards – Policies, manuals, training, etc.
- Physical safeguards – Doors, keypads, building security, etc.
6. Keep Staff Trained on Compliance and Data Privacy Policies
Staff should be aware of any changes to data privacy policies that impact them. Add this to your ongoing training when you receive news about an upcoming update.
Good cybersecurity practice is to conduct ongoing cybersecurity training for staff. This keeps their anti-breach skills sharp and reminds them of what’s expected.
Include updates they need to know about so they can be properly prepared.
Remember always to log your training activities. It’s a good idea to log the date; the employees educated, and the topic. This way, you have this documentation if you do suffer a breach at some point.
Get Help Ensuring Your Systems Meet Compliance Needs
Data privacy compliance can be complex. But you don’t have to figure it all out yourself. For schools whose tech is based around Google Workspace, Appsevents run a comprehensive security audit, and we can recommend other partners to help schools with comprehensive compliance services.