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Handle data breaches like a pro and save millions today

In 2023, Meta, Facebook’s parent company, incurred a record-breaking fine of 1.2 billion Euros under GDPR for mishandling personal data during transfers from Europe to the United States, a persistent oversight that drew significant scrutiny from the European Data Protection Board.

The broader context is even more concerning. 

According to the GDPR Tracker Report updated to 2024, the landscape of data privacy violations is extensive, with 637 fines issued for ‘Insufficient legal basis for data processing’ and 44 for ‘Insufficient fulfillment of data breach notification obligations,’ totaling over 1.5 billion Euros in fines. These figures underscore the severe financial and reputational risks companies face when they fail to comply with data protection laws. 

Moreover, under the provisions of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, such infractions could result in penalties of up to 250 crore

Therefore, organisations must diligently comply with the DPDPA to avoid such hefty penalties.


To understand this, let’s unpack the concept of data breach and how it could be efficiently handled within the organisation under the Digital Personal Data Protection Act or DPDPA.

Imagine an outsider hacking into a company’s database, an employee accidentally sending sensitive information to the wrong recipient, or a lost company smartphone containing critical data. These aren’t just mishaps—they’re data breaches.

For instance, businesses handle vast amounts of personal data daily, from customer information to details about company stakeholders. Each interaction poses a risk, and any misstep can lead to significant privacy and security breaches, which need to be immediately reported to the Data Protection Board under DPDPA. 

The board acts as a regulatory watchdog, safeguarding an individual’s and the organization’s privacy rights.

Failure to comply with reporting may lead to penalties under the DPDPA, which are as severe as the breaches (could cost up to 250 crores)

But remember, the Digital Personal Data Protection Act isn’t the only framework you need to be aware of when reporting data breaches.

The existing cybersecurity framework in India also demands that incidents, including personal data breaches, be reported to Cert-In, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team authorized by the Government of India.

Cert-In plays a crucial role. It collects and analyzes information on cyber incidents, forecasts and alerts on potential cybersecurity issues, and coordinates responses to these incidents. This is vital for any organization working in digital spaces.

Cybersecurity incidents include real or suspected events that breach security policies, endangering your digital operations.

So, we have understood that whenever an organization handles personal data, every data breach within Indian territory must be reported to the data protection board under DPDPA and to Cert-In under IT Rules, irrespective of its size or impact. 

Now, let’s walk through the essential steps  to understand a breakdown of how a company is supposed to handle such incidents using the example of a healthcare provider for context under Indian data privacy Laws –

  1. Detection and Identification: If a healthcare provider encounters unusual activity in their patient record system, an alert from their intrusion detection system might indicate unauthorized access. 

The immediate action in this scenario involves confirming the breach to understand its extent and initiate the necessary containment measures fully. This early detection is critical for managing the situation effectively.

  1. Containment: Upon detecting a data breach, the healthcare provider must act swiftly to secure the system. This includes cutting off access to the compromised system, disabling affected accounts, and isolating network parts. 

Such decisive actions are essential to prevent further data leakage and protect the system, providing the organization with valuable time to plan and implement long-term containment strategies.

  1. Assessment and Analysis: Following a data breach, the healthcare provider’s IT team, along with cybersecurity experts, investigates the breach to determine its cause, which could be a phishing attack, a security loophole, or another vulnerability.

 This phase aims to identify which data was accessed and to trace the attackers using digital forensics, thus helping to understand the breach’s impact and prevent future incidents.

  1. Notification: After a breach, the healthcare provider must notify all affected parties, including patients and others. They must prepare a detailed report that outlines the nature of the breach, the specific data compromised, and the immediate steps taken to secure the data.

This report is then submitted to the appropriate authorities, such as the Data Protection Board or an internal data breach management team, along with Cert-In, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

  1. Remediation: In the remediation phase, the healthcare provider updates its security software, patches any vulnerabilities discovered, and trains its staff to enhance their ability to recognize and respond to security threats. 

These steps are crucial to address the current breach and bolster the organization’s defenses against future threats, strengthening overall data security and restoring stakeholder trust.

We should also remember that handling a data breach is crucial and involves more than just technical solutions. Prompt and responsible actions, from detection to remediation, will always be essential. 

This comprehensive approach helps mitigate potential damages such as legal penalties, financial losses, and reputational harm, ensuring the safety of individual data and organizational integrity.

Therefore, while dealing with data breaches, reviewing the data breach reporting protocols meticulously is essential. 

Each data breach must be assessed in line with the guidelines framed under the incident reporting plan under the organization’s privacy policies while dealing with data breaches.

The goal here isn’t just compliance; it’s safeguarding the digital identities of millions of users, and we should all take that seriously.

So, whether you’re a business owner, a data protection officer, or just someone curious about data privacy laws, understanding these obligations is key to navigating the complexities of data breaches in the data transaction.

This does not end here — multiple measures could be taken to mitigate risks, like training, creating an incident response plan, and knowing your stakeholders.

Don’t wait for a breach to find you unprepared. Secure your future by learning how to protect your data now.

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