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GDPR Is Here: How GDPR Readiness Can Boost Your Business

Most discussions about the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have naturally focused on best practices for achieving compliance and avoiding penalties.  

With GDPR now a reality for all companies that store and process personal data of EU residents, an often overlooked aspect has been the overall business advantage of GDPR preparedness.

In this GDPR blog series’ last installment, Hariom Singh, Director of Policy Compliance at Qualys, delves into this topic.  Later, we round up major areas covered in previous posts, and summarize how Qualys can help with GDPR compliance.

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GDPR Is Here: Manage Vulnerabilities and Prioritize Threat Remediation

To provide the level of data protection required by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), your organization must continuously detect vulnerabilities, and prioritize their remediation.

Why? An InfoSec team that’s chronically overwhelmed by its IT environment’s vulnerabilities and unable to pinpoint the critical ones that must be remediated immediately is at a high risk for data breaches, and, consequently, for GDPR non-compliance.

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) ranks “Continuous Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation” as the fourth most important practice in its 20 Critical Security Controls. “Organizations that do not scan for vulnerabilities and proactively address discovered flaws face a significant likelihood of having their computer systems compromised,” CIS states.

In fact, hackers constantly exploit common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) for which patches have been available for weeks, months and even years. The reason: Many organizations fail to detect and remediate critical bugs on a timely basis, leaving them like low-hanging fruit for cyber data thieves to feast on.

In this second installment of our GDPR compliance blog series, we’ll explain the importance of vulnerability management and threat prioritization, and how Qualys can help you solidify these practices so you can slash your risk of data breaches.

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GDPR Is Here: Achieve Superior Data Breach Prevention and Detection with Qualys

Turned into law in 2016, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) finally goes into effect this week, slapping strict requirements on millions of businesses and subjecting violators to severe penalties. The complex regulation applies to any organization worldwide — not just in Europe — that controls and processes personal data of EU residents, whose security and privacy GDPR fiercely protects.

GDPR calls this data’s protection a “fundamental right” essential for “freedom, security and justice” and for creating the “trust” needed for the “digital economy” to flourish. Its requirements amount to what some have called zero-tolerance on mishandling EU residents’ personal data.

A PwC survey found that more than half of U.S. multinationals say GDPR is their main data-protection priority, with 77% planning to spend $1 million or more on GDPR readiness. “Data protection has been a thing organizations know about, but GDPR has brought it all to the forefront,” Richard Sisson, Senior Policy Officer at the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said during a recent GDPR roundtable.

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Indication of Compromise: Another Key Practice for GDPR Compliance

In this ongoing blog series on preparing for complying with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we’ve explained the importance of having solid, foundational security practices like asset management and threat prioritization. Today, we’ll discuss how another such practice can help organizations stay on the right side of GDPR: Indication of Compromise (IOC).

In a nutshell, IOC can help customers who are dealing with unauthorized access to customer personal data by an external threat actor or adversary. This makes IOC particularly relevant to GDPR’s stringent requirements for data integrity, control, accountability and protection.

To comply with GDPR, which goes into effect on May 25, companies worldwide — not just in the EU — must know what personal data of EU residents they have, where it’s stored, with whom they’re sharing it, how they’re protecting it, and what they’re using it for.

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Countdown to GDPR: Prioritize Vulnerability Remediation

The EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) demands that organizations stringently protect EU residents’ data they hold, share and process, which requires having solid InfoSec practices, including threat prioritization.

No, there is no specific mention of prioritization of vulnerability remediation in the regulation’s text. In fact, only a few InfoSec technologies and practices are mentioned by name.

What is stressed throughout the 88-page document is the call for both data “controllers” and data “processors” to protect this customer information by implementing “appropriate technical and organisational measures”, a phrase repeated multiple times.

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Qualys Policy Compliance Notification: Policy Library Update

Qualys’ library of built-in policies makes it easy to comply with commonly adhered to security standards and regulations. Qualys provides a wide range of policies, including many that have been certified by CIS as well as ones based on security guidelines from vendors such as Microsoft and VMware.  We are also expanding our coverage of mandate-based policies with out of the box coverage of industry and government regulations such as PCI and HIPAA.

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Qualys PCI Compliance Now Supports PCI DSS 3.1

The out-of-band release of Qualys PCI Compliance that adds support for PCI DSS 3.1 is out! The primary intention of this release is to address SSL and TLS encryption issues that have evolved recently. Effective immediately merchants are prohibited from implementing new technologies that rely on SSL or early TLS. SSL and early TLS cannot be used in any way as standalone security control after June 30, 2016. So basically merchants have about 14 months to remove SSL and early TLS from their environments. ‘Early TLS’ is TLS version 1.0 and in some cases 1.1 depending on where it’s used and how it’s implemented.

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Qualys and BMC Join Forces to Close the SecOps Gap

In recent years cybercrime has gone from an array of independent hackers to a global industrialized operation that utilizes collaboration, worldwide coordination and advanced criminal techniques to evade detection. One would expect this increased organization and sophistication would improve the speed at which “hackers hack.” And you would be correct: according to a recently released report, the time between an exploit announcement and the first attack is typically just 7.5 days, down from just under 10 days in 2008.

Your organization is likely already struggling with meeting internal and regulatory requirements for patch times. In addition, vulnerabilities and their risk to the organization are increasing each day, as hackers are now able to weaponize new vulnerabilities faster than ever.

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New Qualys Research Underscores the Importance of Regular Scanning to Expedite Compliance

At Infosecurity Europe today, Qualys announced it analyzed QualysGuard Policy Compliance (PC) data from more than five million scans performed by organizations worldwide to help enterprises understand key trends as they plan their compliance strategies.

Key trends include:

    • A large number of devices scanned – more than half of the scan target – are out of support, showing that companies are depending on a large number of computer technologies, especially operating systems that are no longer supported by their manufacturers through standard support.
    • Newer computer technologies have a higher rate of passing compliance, confirming the general trend of higher security for newer technologies also on the compliance side.
    • Companies with more frequent compliance scans have a higher rate of passing scans. This trend confirms recent findings in the area of Continuous Monitoring, where organizations that monitor more frequently also show accelerated improvements.
    • Passwords are high on controls lists. Thirteen out of the top 20 controls are password-related. At the same time, top failing controls are password related

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