How File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) Helps with GDPR Compliance

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Ensuring General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance may be easier than you think, and the right software and systems in place can help get you there. One such example is file integrity monitoring (FIM) software, and below you'll learn what it is, how it is needed and can help with GDPR compliance, and what other benefits it can offer your organization.

 

File Integrity Monitoring Explained

File integrity monitoring (FIM) software allows you to monitor your systems, software, users, and applications in order to detect changes to critical files. Often, unexpected changes can be the result of a breach, but unless you are watching closely,  you won’t necessarily know that something has changed. This means you won’t know about the breach until it’s too late. But when a FIM tool is in place, you'll get crucial, real-time information regarding any changes to your files, including:

  • What changed
  • When it was changed
  • Who made the change
  • How it was changed

Many next generation file integrity monitoring tools also have the ability to let you know if a file was simply accessed, even if no change occurred. Learn more with Key Features to Look for in FIM Software.

File Integrity Monitoring and the GDPR

File integrity monitoring is an important tool in your compliance arsenal because it gives you control over the protection of  your data. With the FIM market expected to reach a size of more than $900 million by 2022, the needs for a FIM tool is not likely to decrease. 

Article 25

Article 25 of the GDPR is about compliance and controls. As an organization thinks about how its current data process is aligned with development, the audit trail of that process has never been more important.

Furthermore, the GDPR also states that data shouldn’t be available to more people than necessary for the needed purpose, and a file integrity monitoring software can ensure you always know who’s accessing your data and when. 

In Article 25,  the GDPR requires reporting of a data breach to the supervisory authorities within 72 hours of realizing it has occurred. The best way to be compliant with this is by monitoring your files in real-time so that you're immediately aware if a changed has occurred. 

Article 32

Article 32 of the of the GDPR is about compliance as well and focuses on change management. File integrity monitoring is necessary to not only capture all changes but also to gather a complete audit trail.  Next-generation FIM tools can also help with is the prevention of attacks on monitored endpoints, malware detection, and even provide knowledge of unauthorized file attempts. As Larry Downes reminds us,  40 percent of data breaches occur due to insider attacks.  Visit our previous post on Tips for Monitoring Active Directory Configurations to learn more.

 

To stay in compliance with the security of processing data, your file integrity monitoring software should be able to immediately restore your files to their known state, and assist with your process for the assessment and evaluation of organizational requirements.  Look for a next-gen FIM tool that also have the ability to identify valid changes to your systems being monitored, so auditing changes is not such an arduous task.

Article 39

Article 39 of the GDPR discusses the tasks of data protection officer and file integrity monitoring can help with the monitoring of compliance for this regulation. Though it can be alarming that DPO vacant positions hover at roughly 25 percent, all is not lost.  A next generation FIM can provide detailed reports, ensuring that appropriate security measures are in place.

Article 57

Your file integrity monitoring solution should have the ability to provide complete details about an organization's assets. Ultimately, supervisory authorities must ensure that the protection of personal data occurs, and with proper configurations management, your FIM software can help. In Common FIM Software Configuration Mistakes, we list the 7 mistakes many organizations make. Those include:

  • Environment Coverage
  • Access Governance
  • Audit Logging
  • Poor-Quality Baseline Scan
  • OS Compatibility
  • Unsecured Communications
  • Hash Storage

 

Article 59

This article of the GDPR, which also references Article 58, focuses on annual reporting, and much like Article 57, proper reporting can be obtained with  FIM software that gives the details needed for annual reporting to the GDPR as designated by member state law.  

FIM and other regulations: File integrity monitoring isn't just for the GDPR, and it can also help you be compliant with other regulations as well, including: HIPAA, NERC, PCI DSS, SOX, FISMA and FFIEC.

 

Why File Integrity Monitoring Is Essential 

Beyond the scope of GDPR compliance, file integrity monitoring is a powerful tool that every organization should be using.  Along with helping prove GDPR compliance, FIM can also protect your data from a variety of threats, making your data more secure overall, and your organization more trustworthy. For instance, FIM can provide your organization with protection against zero-day attacks, malware attacks, and even malicious insider attacks that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Selecting the Right FIM Software 

There are many different file integrity monitoring tools available, and choosing the right one for your organization is a large responsibility. Along with protecting your systems against attacks and threats, the right FIM will also help you with GDPR compliance, meaning the decision shouldn’t be made lightly. But with file integrity monitoring through the CimTrak platform, you get access to an easy-to-use system that will keep you both protected and compliant so that you can focus your energies elsewhere.

Some of the highlights of CimTrak’s FIM Software include: 

  • Easy installation, configuration, and management
  • Real-time monitoring and detection
  • Integration with virus protection
  • It doesn’t require training or professional services to use
  • Detects changes to files, critical systems, applications, databases, network devices, and more
  • It’s affordable for organizations of any size
  • You'll get complete details about changes that occur
  • The system can differentiate between changes that pose a security risk and ones that don’t 

Organizations not prepared for GDPR compliance may have to face dire consequences and penalties if found to be in non-compliance. File integrity monitoring software is a great asset for any organization. Not only will it help with GDPR compliance, but also with overall data protection and security. 

 To learn more about the GDPR, and how File Integrity Monitoring can help, download The Complete GDPR Checklist today.

The Complete GDPR Checklist PDF

 

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Jacqueline von Ogden

Since 1999, Jacqueline has written for corporate communications, MarCom agencies, higher education, and worked within the pharmacy, steel and retail industries. Since joining the tech industry, she has found her "home".