Why UK Organisations Should Consider ISO/IEC 27701 Certification?

In a world where connectivity has become a societal norm, the need for trust and accountability regarding personal information is growing in the minds of customers and stakeholders. The increased awareness of how organisations collect and manage data has raised concerns about online privacy as “61% of UK consumers worry about how their personal data is being used by companies, and 55% now prefer to be anonymous when browsing online.” Besides regulatory compliance, organisations should put a special emphasis on strengthening employee competencies as well as putting the right processes in place. Therefore, taking into consideration the increased number of strict regulations enforced around the world, fines, and complaints related to data protection and privacy in general, there seems to be a continual growing need for guidance in this regard.

Due to Brexit transition and the current pandemic causing additional risks, organisations in the UK are facing many challenges to comply with regulations such as the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. According to IBM and Ponemon’s Cost of a Data Breach Study, the average cost of a data breach in UK has grown to $3.88 million, which has increased for 10% in the last five years. Additionally, considering the total  number of GDPR fines by country in 2020, the UK is ranked in the fourth place with a total amount of €44,221,000.

As per the biggest GDPR fines so far, data shows that two out of five are companies operating in the UK. British Airways fined with €22,428,000 and Marriott International with €20,450,000.A data breach comes with direct and indirect costs, including time and effort in dealing with a breach, lost opportunities, as well as regulatory fines. IBM states that the cost of breaches is getting smaller for companies that are taking precautions, but much higher for those that are not taking any precautions in this regard.

The Benefits of Complying with ISO/IEC 27701 Requirements

Organisations should be aware that besides malicious outsiders causing more than half (56%) of all breaches, accidental loss (34%), malicious insiders (7%), hacktivists (2%), and unknown sources (1%) are responsible for the other half. Hence, appropriate staff training and guidance from relevant sources remain key to reducing the risk of such incidents. In this regard, the ISO/IEC 27701 Privacy Information Management System standard is the first of its kind that deals with privacy information management, and is considered as a truly global standard.

This standard provides requirements and guidelines and helps in protecting the organisation’s confidential information as well as enables organisations to mitigate and manage data protection risks. It is applicable to all types of organisations, despite their size, complexity, or country they operate in. Taking into consideration the Brexit challenge in the UK, differentiating an organisation from its competitors will be highly important. Being ISO/IEC 27701 certified would help to comply with GDPR as well as other future UK regulatory requirements. In addition, the certification will ensure competence, PII protection, reliability, and quality. Even with trade barriers, following the guidelines and fulfilling the requirements of ISO/IEC 27701 will help organisations to continue to thrive with smooth business operations and maintain a healthy customer relationship, regardless of any potential changes.

Breaking down Technical Advantages

The ISO/IEC 27701 standard allows organisations to increase the level of maturity of their data protection compliance program as well as enable them to demonstrate a proactive approach to the protection of personal data. Besides helping to comply with the GDPR and other regulatory requirements, ISO/IEC 27701 certification provides the most complete and reliable attestation available worldwide with regards to privacy controls. In other words, the ISO/IEC 27701 certification ensures that the organisation has a privacy program in place which is in compliance with a wide range of international privacy laws.

Another benefit of the ISO/IEC 27701 certification is its rigor in highlighting an organisation’s privacy program to a very detailed level of controls that in normal circumstances would be very hard to find anywhere else. Flexibility is another highly important element of ISO/IEC 27701 as it has been specifically developed to enable organisations to manage and attest to privacy compliance with different jurisdiction-specific requirements. Covering everything from basics to specific compliance questions, ISO/IEC 27701 certification helps your business prove privacy compliance with multiple privacy laws and reduces the complexity of managing compliance with multiple, overlapping privacy regulations.

Conclusion

Considering the increased number of regulations, fines, and complaints related to data protection, organisations should be well aware of employee competencies and should ensure that the appropriate processes are in place. Today, having a competitive advantage and differentiating your business from your competitors is highly important. In this regard, the ISO/IEC 27701 certification provides the most comprehensive and trusted attestation when it comes to privacy controls.