Thanks to digital transformation, we’re living in the golden age of personal data.

Never before have we been able to record, store and access so much information about so many different people and entities all at once. But, with this power comes a huge amount of responsibility. Especially for businesses that rely on personal information for day-to-day operations.

Make PoPIA a Priority

PoPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act) officially came into effect in South Africa on 1 July 2021. It aligns our privacy laws with international standards – holding all of us accountable for data management and security.

The regulation gives individuals increased control over how their personal data is collected and used. There are also strict requirements on how that data is safeguarded and used by third parties who are given permission to capture it.

There’s no greater currency than trust. A failure to respect people’s privacy or ensure the security of their data can severely damage a company’s brand and influence consumer buying decisions. Besides the potential for reputational damage, with PoPIA now in effect, businesses also face the possibility of crippling fines, jail time or both for failure to comply. The penalties include up to R10 million in fines and up to 10 years in prison for guilty parties. Organisations also face the risk of class action lawsuits under PoPIA.

It’s not all doom and gloom. When given the right amount of care and consideration, PoPIA is a business’ greatest asset. PoPIA compliance allows you to build trust and forge stronger relationships with customers and suppliers. Not only does compliance make your business more risk-aware and transparent to regulators, but, when done right, it allows you to reduce operational costs.

PoPIA compliance is a great opportunity to not only overhaul your data policies, but your company’s entire approach to data security. A more robust Cyber Security solution literally pays for itself when you take the impact and costs of a data breach into consideration.

It’s Time to Comply

There’s a lot to keep track of when it comes to PoPIA compliance. That’s why the first thing to consider is appointing an information officer. After that, it’s up to you to draft a privacy policy and raise awareness of the importance of PoPIA among all your employees.

Once you’ve had time to review your data collection and storage policies, as well as report any data breaches, you can embark on the necessary journey of making your company more data savvy. Including educating everyone to only share personal information when they’re allowed to by law.

PoPIA compliance also includes several minimum security requirements for the lawful processing of data, such as documentation, security, and confidentiality.

Customers and employees should always have the ability to access, update or delete previously collected data when needed.

Training employees to understand and recognise the processes and procedures that that help your company identify a potential incident and mitigate its impact is invaluable.

Up Your Cyber Security Game

It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. If it’s online and collects data, it’s a target. In addition to protecting their own data from a breach, thanks to PoPIA, it’s essential that companies adopt and implement a strong Cyber Security approach.

Globally, the total average cost of a breach increased by 10% from 2020 to 2021, with companies affected shelling out an average of $4.24 million (or R64 million).

Locally, the IBM 2019 Cost of Data study puts the average total cost of a data breach at just over R43 million. Which is almost just as pricey as the global average.

One cyber-attack can literally put a small to medium-sized company out of business. It’s never been more critical for businesses of all sizes to move rapidly to secure their key IT systems, company, and customer information.

Data compliance and security is a continuous process, not a once-off event. Here’s the good news: Armata is here to help.

We’re perfectly positioned to assess your business processes and identify any gaps and issues. We’ll also provide a Security Awareness portal to equip your employees with the knowledge needed to spot and avoid data breaches.

We’ll also add a comprehensive, managed Firewall, endpoint security and Anti-Virus software to your arsenal to ensure every compliance and security need is met. It’s what we do best.