Category Archives: Training

GDPR 8 – Security

Today’s guest post is from Tony Bridger, an experienced provider of Procurement Consulting and Spend Analysis services across the Commonwealth (as well as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt) who has been delivering value across continents for two decades. He is currently President of UK-based TrainingWorx Ltd, a provider of a wide range of Procurement and Analytic business training programs (inc. GDPR, spend analysis, project management, process improvement, etc.) and focussed short-term consulting solutions. Tony can be contacted at tony.bridger@data-trainingworx.co.uk.

One of the key changes in the GDPR is around the clauses and legal framework that surrounds the processing of personal data.

We will cover this in some detail in the next post (although we did hint at this one!). However, please bear with us as we also have to address cyber security to complete the background for displaying the processing requirements. Security will be a key component of the overall legal framework.

One of the key requirements in processing data is the cyber security that surrounds managing this type of information. The UK Supervisory Authority, the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) issues a wide ranging, practical advice for companies on their website. Given that many procurement analytics providers are now mature IT companies, many will have little to do cyber security wise. Many companies (including high volume email suppliers) have certified to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss-U.S Privacy Shield Framework. This is an excellent start as we have mentioned previously. The cost of doing this is comparatively small – and we understand that many small US companies have managed to achieve this – around 3000 software enterprises.

On a broader security level, the ICO recommends that companies implement at least the ten steps to Cyber Security model. This can be found on their website. For much smaller UK based data companies, they can achieve Cyber Security Essentials plus certification. This is around $400 USD.

However, it is highly likely that many web analytics provider security arrangements are already in place and exceed the basics. Logically, it may be worth pursuing ISO 27001 accreditation or higher. Like most certification, it can become an expensive and a time-consuming exercise. Many large suppliers may already have CCMv3 (Cloud Controls Matrix), NIST CSF (National Institute of Standards and Technology Cyber Security Framework) or PAS 555.

Is it really worth it? If we had a crystal ball, companies both within and outside of the European arena will come under increasing pressure to prove these controls are in place – and standards are likely to become a key selling point for winning European business. To that end – it is going to be part of the cost of doing business. The alternative is a breach and investigation. Cyber criminals have all the key attack elements in their favour – a confirmed breach could become a costly and damaging PR disaster.

Once vendors combine cyber controls and certification with the extensive legal requirements, it is likely to become a major differentiation point between suppliers. Question is … are vendors ready?

GDPR: What is Required of Processors / Controllers? (Part VII)

Today’s guest post is from Tony Bridger, an experienced provider of Procurement Consulting and Spend Analysis services across the Commonwealth (as well as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt) who has been delivering value across continents for two decades. He is currently President of UK-based TrainingWorx Ltd, a provider of a wide range of Procurement and Analytic business training programs (inc. GDPR, spend analysis, project management, process improvement, etc.) and focussed short-term consulting solutions. Tony can be contacted at tony.bridger@data-trainingworx.co.uk.

In our last article we noted that a key concept under GDPR (with respect to any data that potentially contains data that could identify an individual person) is the difference between a controller and processor, and what requirements are placed on each. Generally speaking, a spend analytics (service) provider will be a processor and may meet the requirements of a controller (and may not). [It all depends upon whether the customer provides them an ability to determine the purpose and/or means of data processing. In most cases, the provider will have some leeway and will be a controller as well.]

So, what does the regulation require of a processor/controller?

The first fundamental change is around where either the controller or the processor is not established within the Union.

In this case, suppliers will need to designate in writing a representative within the European Union.

“The representative shall be mandated to be addressed by supervisory authorities and data subjects for the purposes of the Regulation. Designation of a representative does not absolve controller or processor from legal liabilities”.

Simply, it means if you are outside of the EU, and you process any personal data that originates from within the EU area, you must have a representative within Europe.

This creates a range of issues as it may well imply that any provider that services data from multiple countries may require multiple representatives. It is likely that multiple representatives may be required as each supervisory authority within each European Country may require a representative.

However, given the volume of suppliers that are involved in managing and processing personal data outside of the European Union for EU clients, how well Supervisory Authorities can manage and track these volumes of suppliers is questionable. However, the fundamental shift in the regulation is that legally, suppliers must now declare that presence. If there are data breach problems later, and an investigation is required, it may well generate a much wide range of breach elements. Like unpicking the thread on a sweater, the Supervisory Authority has wide ranging investigative powers.

For those that opt to process or control personal data from the European-Union, the new Regulations contain a suite of additional procedural requirements. We will start to cover these elements in the next article. However, if you are unsure around the legal elements, as we have said on several occasions, we suggest you consult a Legal firm who specialises in the Regulations.

Thanks, Tony.

GDPR: Are you a Controller or a Processor (Part VI)

Today’s guest post is from Tony Bridger, an experienced provider of Procurement Consulting and Spend Analysis services across the Commonwealth (as well as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt) who has been delivering value across continents for two decades. He is currently President of UK-based TrainingWorx Ltd, a provider of a wide range of Procurement and Analytic business training programs (inc. GDPR, spend analysis, project management, process improvement, etc.) and focussed short-term consulting solutions. Tony can be contacted at tony.bridger@data-trainingworx.co.uk.

It was Glen Hoddle (English Soccer player) that wrote:

“I have a number of alternatives, and each one gives me something different”.

For many spend analysis providers (or other procurement tools providers) and their clients that manage personal data, the alternative may be simply to change nothing technically – and keep going with the status quo. In effect, implement the requirements of the GDPR regulations.

Like most alternatives there are trade-offs. If eliminating personal data is practicable – then that may be the first viable alternative for suppliers. However, leaving the process as-is and implementing the EU required controls may be the better option longer term.

However, there are several key changes required by 25th May. To be GDPR compliant requires those controls to be in place prior to that date.

The key concept in this article is ensuring that analytics suppliers understand the difference between a controller and processor. For commercial data that contains no personal data, this concept is inapplicable and no further action is required.

Under GDPR, the controller means:

“ … the natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data.”

In most cases, the controller will simply be the client.

After all, they will supply the data and direct what they want to happen with those transactions.

The processor is defined as:

“ … a natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes personal data on behalf of the controller.”

To all intents and purposes, most spend analytics providers within (and external) to the EU may be either a controller or provider (or both).

For companies that use serviced systems outside of the EU, providers are therefore processors. Being outside of the EU creates a number of key criteria that need to be met for compliance.

There is also a very clear definition in the Regulation about what constitutes processing:

“ … It means any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction.”

Therefore, by default, any serviced analytics provider generically meets the definition.

So, what does this mean? Come back tomorrow for out next installment!

Thanks, Tony.

GDPR – still avoiding the problem? (Part V)

Today’s guest post is from Tony Bridger, an experienced provider of Procurement Consulting and Spend Analysis services across the Commonwealth (as well as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt) who has been delivering value across continents for two decades. He is currently President of UK-based TrainingWorx Ltd, a provider of a wide range of Procurement and Analytic business training programs (inc. GDPR, spend analysis, project management, process improvement, etc.) and focussed short-term consulting solutions. Tony can be contacted at tony.bridger@data-trainingworx.co.uk.

In our last post we noted that those with extensive risk management experience know that avoidance is a key strategy for risk minimisation.

We also noted that this may well be a very feasible option f-or those analytics suppliers outside of the European Union.

The GDPR actively supports the anonymisation approach:

The principles of data protection should …. not apply to anonymous information, namely information which does not relate to an identified or identifiable natural person or to personal data rendered anonymous in such a manner that the data subject is not or no longer identifiable. This Regulation does not therefore concern the processing of such anonymous information, including for statistical or research purposes.”

By removing or replacing data elements this satisfies another element of the Regulation – pseudonymisation:

the processing of personal data in such a manner that the personal data can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information, provided that such additional information is kept separately and is subject to technical and organisational measures to ensure that the personal data are not attributed to an identified or identifiable natural person.” (Article 4).

Credit card or card account numbers can be used to identify a person – many card systems encrypt or hash the card number if expense managers are used. Once again, it pays to do the data homework.

The salvation for many spend analytics providers is to encourage the client to set data extract routines that eliminate these types personal data.

However, that still leaves us with the less easily manageable data component of personal data buried within invoice line descriptions or other ERP free text fields.

Once GDPR becomes recognised as the “new paradigm”, analytics providers are likely to claim that they have all sorts of (chargeable) capability to remove this data or anonymise it. This is more likely to revert to a line by line manual check as opposed to anything technically complex or ground breaking.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this approach. It may be time consuming but will follow the usual pattern of spend analytics data management. The first stage of the dataset build is historical data construction. If all historical spend data is checked and anonymised, then monthly refresh data is much lower volume – and patterns where personal data may exist may have already made their presence known – a pattern.

Vendors and clients are therefore taking all reasonable precautions with the data. If the data can have all personal elements removed, then GDPR does not apply. The “shotgun approach” for web providers is to use full access encryption…but this could be prohibitive in cost terms.

So, what is the risk? Spend data with personal data content has to align with the Regulation both within the EU — and transferring data outside of the EU. The use of surgical data techniques can reduce the risk and perhaps even reduce the data to non-personal in nature.

The alternative option is to leave the personal data and adhere to the range of controls that are required to manage that information. We have yet to cover these controls in any detail.

As we will discuss later in a later post, staff, employee data and personal data may also be subject to consents. A considerably more complex issue under GDPR. With new elements like right to be forgotten it may be simpler just to remove the data components.

No one said this was going to be easy.

Thanks, Tony.

GDPR – avoiding the problem? (GDPR Part IV)

Today’s guest post is from Tony Bridger, an experienced provider of Procurement Consulting and Spend Analysis services across the Commonwealth (as well as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt) who has been delivering value across continents for two decades. He is currently President of UK-based TrainingWorx Ltd, a provider of a wide range of Procurement and Analytic business training programs (inc. GDPR, spend analysis, project management, process improvement, etc.) and focussed short-term consulting solutions. Tony can be contacted at tony.bridger@data-trainingworx.co.uk.

For those with extensive risk management experience, avoidance is a key strategy for risk minimisation.

For those analytics suppliers outside of the European Union, this may well be a very feasible option. If we assume that spend data could contain P Card holder names, personal data in staff reimbursements and personal details in invoices – what are the avoidance options?

A myriad of options exist that analytics providers can deploy to avoid the personal data problem in risk terms. The first, and most obvious option (and least acceptable) is to refuse to take data from clients that that may contain personal data. However, the old adage applies that “some will always take the business, and someone will always do it cheaper”. Its also not a tenable under the GDPR, the fact that the client says the data is “personal data free” may not stand up if a breach occurs.

There is an old English adage that simply states that “you can’t eat a horse at one sitting”. If we start to break the problem up in to manageable components the potential issues become less intimidating.

One of the major areas of concern is P Card data. In the UK, many local councils and authorities publish their P card data for public access (in Excel files) on their websites – but with no personal cardholder data. It really focuses on the core question – does the client really need the name of the cardholder/Card number – or is the supplier spend the key focus? If the card data is extracted post reconciliation (if an Expense Manager is used for card management), the data will contain a cost centre. If the cost centre structure is loaded as a hierarchy it can be relatively easy to see where spend is occurring within the organisation – but not who incurred the cost.

The second key area is staff reimbursements. Many companies still set staff up as vendors to pay reimbursements. This spend too is quite insightful and may deliver several sourcing opportunities. However, it still leaves the personal data in the file that may be extracted from the ERP. For this element of the data, it may be far simpler to create a data mechanism that identifies those vendor master entries on the client ERP with a data flag of some kind. For statutory tax reporting purposes, many corporate clients are required to account for reimbursements for staff (for taxation purposes e.g. Fringe Benefits). So, if the client can remove staff names or attributable identifiers– then that will eliminate or avoid the data issue. In effect, there is the possibility that the problem can be eliminated on the client extract, but you must ask the client more about how they are extracting their data and guide them as to how they can better manage their data for GDPR compliance to prevent getting data you don’t want. .

In many respects, spend analysis providers have had it really easy up until now. They simply give the client a data extract request, the client provides what they can, and the provider builds the dataset. GDPR for EU clients makes this process less simple from 25th May. Why?

To be continued!

Thanks, Tony.