10 Best Practices to Meet Data Compliance Requirements for File Transfers


How important is meeting data compliance in your organization?

Hopefully, it’s more important than what the cybersecurity compliance and governance statistics gathered and updated in 2023 by Varonis suggest:

  • $2,056,500 total HIPAA violation fines and settlements in 2022.
  • 94% of US companies are not prepared to comply with GDPR requirements.
  • 17% of all sensitive files are accessible to all employees.
  • 60% of companies have more than 500 accounts with non-expiring passwords.
  • 77% of organizations do not have an incident response plan.

Furthermore, noncompliance with regulations was one of the biggest cost amplifiers of data breaches, according to 2023 study published by IBM. When comparing organizations with the highest level of noncompliance to those with the lowest level, there was a cost difference of 23% between the organizations impacted by data breaches.

The numbers don’t lie…

Organizations need to make achieving compliance a priority in their processes, infrastructure, planning and budgeting. To securely do business in today’s digital world, organizations must get up to speed on data compliance requirements. Compliance helps ensure the security, integrity and privacy of sensitive information of the company and its customers, employees and partners.

Make Meeting Compliance Requirements a Priority

The following sections highlight the top 10 best practices that can help your business meet compliance requirements when exchanging files—with a bonus (#11) best practice at the end!

1. Stay Informed of Applicable Regulations

Your specific compliance standards will vary based on your industry, geographic location and the nature of the data being transferred. Identify and understand the relevant compliance regulations that apply to your business. Common standards include GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS and SOX.

Due to the new cybersecurity issues that are discovered every day, compliance regulations continue to evolve. Keep abreast of changes in compliance regulations and regularly review and update your practices to align with the latest requirements.

2. Classify Data and Apply Retention Policies

Classify your data based on sensitivity and compliance requirements. This helps in applying appropriate security measures to different types of data. Additionally, implement data retention policies to ensure that data is stored only for the necessary duration required by compliance standards.

3. Adopt Access Controls

Implement strong access controls to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive data. Use role-based access control (RBAC) to manage permissions effectively.

4. Verify Users (Authentication)

Enforce strong user authentication methods to verify the identity of individuals or entities involved in the file transfer process. Example methods include API authentication and multi-factor authentication (MFA).

5. Encrypt Data in Transit

Use secure and encrypted protocols (such as TLS/SSL) when transferring data over networks. This helps protect the data from interception or unauthorized access during transit.

6. Generate Audit Trails and Logging

Maintain detailed audit trails and logs of all file transfer activities. This information is crucial for compliance reporting and forensic analysis in case of security incidents.

7. Include Data Integrity Checks

Implement mechanisms to verify the integrity of transferred data. This ensures that data has not been tampered with during the transfer process.

8. Perform Regular Security Audits

Conduct regular security audits to assess the effectiveness of your data transfer security measures. Address any vulnerabilities or non-compliance issues promptly.

9. Create Policy Documentation

Document and communicate data transfer policies and procedures to ensure that all employees are aware of and adhere to compliance requirements.

10. Ensure Vendor Compliance

If using third-party services or vendors for file transfers, ensure that they also adhere to relevant compliance standards. Verify their security practices and certifications.

Bonus: 11. Implement Managed File Transfer (MFT) Solutions

When exchanging data, consider using managed file transfer solutions that provide encryption, audit trails, monitoring and reporting. There are many MFT options in the marketplace to choose from so be sure to research and select the solution that best fits your compliance needs.

Meet Data Compliance Requirements with Thru’s MFT

Thru’s cloud-native MFT solution is a proven method to protect data during transit using encryption, authentication, access controls and auditing when sharing files within or across networks. The additional security and functionality found in Thru’s MFT solutions are designed to help ensure compliant file transfers.

Learn more about compliance standards governing file transfers »

Note: Remember to consult with legal and compliance experts who specialize in your industry to ensure that your data transfer practices are in full compliance with applicable regulations. Compliance is an ongoing process that requires vigilance and continuous improvement to meet evolving standards.


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