Minimizing Data Risks in 2019

In the world of cyber risk and security, the biggest concerns for chief audit executives (CAEs) in the coming year are risks surrounding data and analytics. According to a Gartner study that surveyed 144 CAEs, Gartner was able to determine the major risks that are facing boards, audit committees and executives in the new year, many of which stem from the growth of digital business models and data usage.

The amount of data being collected and processed at any given moment is increasing rapidly. Studies show that over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is being created every day – and it’s growing with the inception of the Internet of Things. In fact, 90% of all the data ever created worldwide was generated in just the last two years. With so much data being created in the pursuit of digital business model growth, it comes as no surprise that public and regulatory skepticism and scrutiny is at an all-time high. As a result, CAEs are closely watching the heightened risks around data governance.

Third-Party Risk

The state of modern business and digital initiatives means that organizations rely on third-party vendors. The more partners connected to an organization, the higher the risk due to careless employees or malicious attacks externally and internally. Nearly 70 percent of CAEs report third-party risks as a top concern for their organization.

By having your vendors complete regular security questionnaires and assessments, such as SOC 2 examinations, you can help mitigate risk, increase visibility into third-party operations and be better prepared to combat potential risks.

To manage third-party risk, organizations should develop a robust vendor management program and conduct regular vendor management reviews. Vendor management reviews involve the identification of all vendors, as well as a ranking of the risk that they pose to your organization. This process can help your organization understand when supplemental assessments, like SOC 2 and penetration testing services, can be helpful to better protect your organization. Other ways to combat threats include assigning internal audit teams to investigate third-party data handling regulatory requirements, as well as evaluate third-party contracts and compliance efforts.

Data Governance


The world of data usage and protection has been under scrutiny in recent years thanks to a series of high-profile data breaches and the rise of privacy regulations like the GDPR.

With data creation and usage growing by the day, it is imperative that companies have data governance frameworks to reduce risks and combat security threats. A data governance framework is the model for how data is managed within an organization. The framework aligns policies, requirements, and controls with the needs of users and stakeholders to manage the data within an organization.

Data Privacy

Data privacy remains a top concern for CAEs and end-users, having been highlighted through flaws in data privacy frameworks. To combat this growing problem, a concentrated push is being made by organizations to create policies and procedures to safeguard data and protect companies and consumers. As governments continue to pass stronger data protection laws, it’s imperative to routinely undergo audits, review policies and procedures to ensure that sensitive data is protected and build frameworks with privacy in mind. As we have seen routinely, even companies as expansive as Facebook are not immune to data breaches.

For organizations looking to ensure the privacy of information, SOC 2 Assessments that include the Privacy Trust Service Criterion can exhibit your commitment to the privacy of personal information that is collected, stored, used, transferred, disclosed or destroyed by your organization. ISO 27001 assessments help organizations implement, manage and maintain information security, while ISO 27018 focuses on the protection of personal data in the cloud.

For organizations that handle EU resident data, GDPR assessments can help your organization avoid noncompliance fines, while also assessing your organization’s current data protection and privacy environment and providing a detailed assessment of gaps that require remediation.

Preparing for 2019 with A-LIGN

With years of experience building compliance frameworks for organizations of all sizes, A-LIGN is prepared to help you avoid data and analytics fears. By building a customized compliance roadmap for your business, A-LIGN prepares your organization not only for today’s risks but also provides you with best and next practices to offer a competitive differentiator.

Are you ready to prepare your organization for data and analytics threats?

Contact A-LIGN at 1-888-702-5446 to speak with one of our cybersecurity professionals.