New HK data privacy laws can mean biz advantage
By Allison Walton, Symantec 24-Jul-2012
As Asia continues to develop and as enterprises around the world increasingly target different markets in the region, the need for backup and e-discovery will continue to grow, both for Hong Kong companies doing outbound business and for international multinationals doing business in Hong Kong.
|Hong Kong seeks to enact amendments that supplement the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance with specific focus on technological advancements and greater penalties for breaches.|
In fact, new data protection rules were proposed late last year and may be passed in 2012, as Hong Kong seeks to enact amendments that supplement the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance (PDPO) with specific focus on technological advancements and greater penalties for breaches.
The PDPO, initially enacted in 1995, requires updates to ensure proper protection against data privacy breaches in light of technological advances and other developments over the past 15 years.
While at first blush, this might look like an issue for enterprises doing business in Hong Kong, the new rules also bring about new opportunity to put in place IT systems and infrastructure that gives them a business advantage over companies in other markets. Specifically, the rules present an opportunity for enterprises to deploy IT that helps them turn data -- which, in itself, is not very useful -- into information.
Turning data to information
With the data explosion that is taking place right now, if a company needs to identify an issue or find specific information relating to litigious matters, restoring and going thousands of backup tapes and have attorneys go through thousands of documents, which takes an extremely long time. This is a very expensive process, especially when it needs to be conducted in emergency situations in a very short timeframe.
Fortunately, Asia today has a great opportunity to learn from the experience of other countries that went through this process before Hong Kong. Companies can deploy the necessary tools to adhere to future compliance and governance requirements while leapfrogging markets like the US, which had to go through painful and expensive deployments to get to the same point under high-pressure circumstances. If businesses in Hong Kong begin today, they have ample time to deploy technologies that easily enable them to comply with the new rules and regulations in an organized, modular way.
Two basic tools
To comply with the rules, companies need only two basic tools: An e-discovery platform that enables enterprises to manage legal, regulatory, and investigative matters using a single application; and an integrated content archiving solution that enables users to store, manage, and discover unstructured information across the organization. E-discovery solutions enable enterprises, governments and law firms to meet all of the requirements that need to be met from a legal standpoint in Hong Kong.
It used to take a typical company more than 10 days to dig up 150GB of data for an investigation and process the data to find the documents that were needed for a legal case, some e-discovery solutions can help to cut down this time to less than two days, leading to savings of 8.5 days per case. In other words, deploying e-discovery and archiving solutions will not only help enterprises comply with new rules and regulations but also provide tools that can turn e-discovery and archiving into a business advantage. These tools help reduce costs and make it easy for organizations to defensibly solve real-world challenges across the entire e-discovery lifecycle, from legal hold and collections through analysis, review and production.
Prepare for litigation
In some cases, companies that are the frequent target of lawsuits may have a policy to automatically settle suits below a certain amount, due to the onerous nature of defending against the claims and regardless of the validity of the suit. A heavily-manual process is expensive to a point where settling is less expensive than fighting it, whereas businesses that have the e-discovery tools to quickly and effectively finding information to counter as suite allow the company not to settle and, thus, save time, money and their reputation -- regardless of whether the company is a large enterprise or an SMB.
In today's information-driven world, data is being generated at an unprecedented pace and organizations must find new ways to make better use of available data to turn information into a business advantage.
The new rules in Hong Kong also mean that enterprises must be prepared to quickly find and produce information in response to litigation matters and internal or external requests for information.
The situation provides them with a unique opportunity get tools that ensure compliance as well as turn data into a business advantage. Organizations that fail to do so run the risk of falling out of compliance with new legal requirements imposed upon them and miss an opportunity to turn required expenses into a business benefit.
Allison Walton is e-discovery Counsel at Symantec