Compliant Migration is the Key to Success Under GDPR

With GDPR now officially in effect, it’s important for organizations looking to maintain compliance to find the best storage solution to meet new regulations. We’ve spoken before about how cloud collaboration platforms are best suited to meet these new standards, with continuously updating security, retention, and organizational features that empower organizations to remain compliant, sometimes with a few quick clicks.

While these platforms have been quick to institute compliant options for where content is stored, organizations should think twice about how they get their content there.

With cloud storage comes the question of migration–whether it’s from on-premises servers to the cloud, or between cloud platforms. In order to avoid the heavy penalties that come with even minor violations of GDPR regulations, many organizations might have to re-evaluate their migration and transfer solutions.

Let’s take a look at how compliance issues can manifest from migrating content, syncing data, and backing up content, and how to guarantee a GDPR compliant data transfer.

Where can a Transfer or Migration Solution Violate GDPR?

There are a number of ways that a poorly organized migration attempted with ill-equipped tools can lead to GDPR violations. Data loss is a massive risk for half-baked migrations, and if that data is personally identifiable information, then hot water awaits the organization who fumbled it. Inadequate reporting can further land an enterprise in trouble. Because GDPR is so famously strict about organizations keeping records of all of the sensitive data they’re storing, a migration tool that lacks proper reporting functionality can leave a business scrambling to make sense of the deluge of files they just migrated, and not have insight into what actually happened.

Improperly mapped permissions can also prove fatal when it comes to compliance. If a migration results in PII becoming visible to those who shouldn’t be able to access it due to a permissions mistake, an organization is looking at a major violation of GDPR.

Migrations that rely on a solution that stores and caches files or metadata on servers also poses a major compliance risk. Broadly speaking, this is a bad idea no matter the circumstances, and jeopardizes the security of sensitive metadata even before one looks at it in the context of GDPR. When speaking about compliance, however, the picture is even more gruesome. Caching metadata cannot only make it vulnerable, but if it’s cached in non-compliant zones than an organization has a huge mess on their hands. If the cache is stored in a cloud-based infrastructure, organizations must still ask where that infrastructure is based, or risk violating GDPR regulations and incurring heavy penalties.

Last, but not least, migration security must be top priority. We’ve all seen a Western, where bandits board and rob a train carrying freight from one city to another. The same threat exists with migration: the interception of sensitive information via malware or Man-in the-Middle attacks. A migration that isn’t completely secure risks accidentally handing sensitive user information to those who would abuse it, and handing the organization that fumbled that information hefty fines. No matter where you’re migrating from or where you’re migrating to, GDPR compliant data transfer is crucial. Consider the following examples.

Migrating from Non-Compliant to Compliant Storage

The most common compliance-related scenario organizations will face in the upcoming months is the need to migrate their data from non-compliant storage to compliant storage solutions. Cloud collaboration platforms have provided organizations with a broad range of solutions to help maintain compliance, but, even with the promise of those features on the horizon, it’s still important that enterprises keep an eye on the process of migration.

As we’ve said many times before, migration is a complex and extended process, composed of a number of stages, each of which requires the full attention of IT. Ensuring that a project is actually feasible, is planned correctly, and moves at a pace in-line with the plan is critical to reach compliance with GDPR. With tools like the new Cloud FastPath Project Center, these large-scale migrations are more easily map-able and far less stressful to plan, but it’s still crucial that—especially when compliance is at risk—businesses understand the aspects of migration to which the most careful attention must be paid.

GDPR Rights explanation
There are multiple components to consider when it comes to migration and GDPR compliance.

One of the trickiest aspects of large-scale migration is the mapping of users and of permissions: making sure file structures are maintained, the data is correctly catalogued, and that users have access to the files they need at all times. All storage solutions handle permissions differently, and so it’s essential, during the planning stage and throughout the migration—that IT understands how permissions and users will map from one system to another, and structure the migration in such a way that will preserve that.

Because of GDPR’s strict rules about how sensitive user data must be categorized, organized, and stored, ensuring proper mapping becomes doubly important. An improperly mapped migration could lead to sensitive data being mis-catalogued or even totally misplaced in the scramble of the migration, saddling an organization with hefty fines.

Mapping users and permissions in compliance with GDPR
Mapping of users and permissions can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Cloud FastPath helps you map migration in a way that ensures compliance.

Similar to correctly mapping permissions and sharing, not retaining critical file metadata could also result in a GDPR violation. Many classification systems rely on metadata such as modified time, file type, owner, and more. If a migration into a collaboration platform does not uphold these values, sensitive information could be lost or fall into the wrong hands.

Also, take into consideration the infrastructure of a migration solution. There are a variety of deployment options for migration solutions, and some may be wholly noncompliant. After taking so much time to ensure a new storage system is compliant, many would be surprised to find out that a migration solution is caching or storing files and metadata in a non-compliant system.

Migrating from Compliant to Compliant Storage

Over the course of the next few months, organizations might find that their current cloud platform or on-premises storage solution just isn’t working for them, and decide it’s time to make a change. For many businesses, this decision will have absolutely nothing to do with GDPR. It might boil down to productivity issues within an organization, or the desire to collaborate more efficiently. Different organizations have different needs, and cloud migration allows you to find the cloud platform that best suits those needs, so that your business can function and thrive at top capacity.

No matter the reason for the migration, organizations must still keep compliance issues in mind while migrating. Just because the previous platform was totally compliant and the platform to which you’re migrating equally so, doesn’t mean that a poorly executed migration can’t land you in hot water with GDPR regulations.

A non-compliant migration can turn a previously compliant storage solution into a GDPR nightmare of mis-characterized and incorrectly mapped data, data loss, or data caching in between systems, and saddle your business with substantial fees for regulatory violations.

Still, migration can be a powerful tool in helping users and organizations succeed, and with a powerful, comprehensive, and intuitive migration client like Cloud FastPath, moving your data compliantly is simple and straightforward.

Ensuring GDPR Compliant Data Transfer

Data is constantly in motion. Between large migration projects there is the need to have compliant transfer solutions. While migrating to and adopting content collaboration platforms might make a large portion of storage infrastructure compliant, there may be other needs for general transfer.

Whether it’s moving server images between cloud systems, moving large design or video files, or simply transferring databases, the principals that apply to compliant migration also apply here: ensure successful transfers with reporting, security in motion, upholding metadata, and verification that any transfer infrastructure is compliant.

Identifying and Analyzing Sensitive User Data

All of the previously mentioned scenarios are important, but they also all hinge on one very important lynchpin: being able to identify the data that’s sensitive, and ensure the migration of this data was successful.

Analytics during a migration is essential: it ensures that files are being successfully moved between platforms; that metadata and permissions are being migrated along with those files; and that your data is going where you think it’s going within a file structure. These baseline concerns of migration take on additional weight now that GDPR is in effect, and there are penalties for misplaced user information.

Data security and safety
Understanding what data is sensitive, and how to protect and store it is essential to compliant migration.

Being able to categorize data as sensitive and being able to track its movement during migration requires a smart and compliant migration tool—one that ensures you have as comprehensive a window into your migration as possible. It also requires a tool that provides IT with in-depth reporting capabilities, so that organizations can prove sensitive data got where it needed to go, and that compliance wasn’t violated. Being able to verify that personally identifiable information was properly migrated, metadata and all, takes a massive weight off your organization’s chest when it comes to GDPR. It means that maintaining compliance doesn’t need to keep you up at night.

These tracking and reporting capabilities are core features of Cloud FastPath. With GDPR, organizations are facing expanded responsibilities when it comes to storage, and they deserve a migration tool that’s equally responsible. They deserve a migration tool that ensures GDPR compliant data transfer that complements their compliant storage.

GDPR Compliance Demands Consideration During Migration

In all the talk about GDPR, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that storage is the be-all and end-all of compliance, the complete answer to how organizations should navigate these new regulations. However, storage and migration in the cloud are complicated and layered processes, and this means that compliance can be equally as complicated. GDPR compliant data transfer is just as important as GDPR compliant storage, and the former requires a robust, flexible, and secure migration tool, one that provides features that most free migration tools simply cannot offer.

Cloud FastPath’s cloud migration platform is designed specifically to provide users with the widest range of tools and the greatest depth of functionality. With planning, analytics, and reporting features galore, it’s a platform tailored to complicated situations like those GDPR presents. With Cloud FastPath, compliant migration is achievable, and the threat of a misstep needn’t constantly haunt organizations looking to move their files in the cloud. Compliance doesn’t have to be a monster in the closet.