How to Make Your Cloud Applications GDPR Compliant?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an effort to control personal data that is housed and accessed by third parties, including cloud service providers (CSP). The provisions of GDPR are stringent and violation penalties are hefty. Even a slight deviation from the regulation can cost your company dearly.

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(Image Source: Unsplash)

Companies that rely on CSPs to run and manage applications will have to be extra-cautious if they want to avoid paying heavy fines and losing customer faith. Even if you are toeing the line set out by GDPR, your CSP might not be doing the same. In that case, you are culpable for a crime you didn’t exactly commit. You will have to pay a huge fine and lose face and goodwill in the marketplace. Both scenarios spell disaster for any business.

If you hear warning bells, let us reassure you that there are many viable ways of making your cloud-run applications GDPR-compliant. But before we delve into the matter, let us know what GDPR is and why you need to follow it.

GDPR- Basic Facts

What is GDPR?

GDPR is a set of rules that dictates companies to protect the personal data of consumers that they collect. It seeks to empower consumers to keep their data confidential and safeguard it against leakage or compromise. The policy is set to replace the data protection laws of 1995 which have become outdated in the current scenario.

Who needs to follow GDPR?

While GDPR governs companies in the European Union (EU), its rules also apply to export of personal data to companies outside the EU. In this way, GDPR covers a large proportion of companies worldwide in its ambit.

GDPR covers companies with:

  • Offices in the EU
  • Non-EU companies that are dealing with data exported from EU
  • 250+ employees
  • Less than 250 workers but whose activities impact a large number of people. By recent stats, nearly 92% of US companies are keeping GDPR compliance as their top security concern.

Types of personal data covered by GDPR

Personal identifiable information (PII) as defined by GDPR includes:

  • Identity information including name, personal address, and IDs
  • Web data like IP address and location
  • Health data and sexual orientation
  • Biometric information
  • Ethnic background and political affiliations

How much is the GDPR non-compliance fine?

There are two tiers of administrative penalties that can be levied if your company isn’t GDPR-ready. These fines are imposed on a case-to-case basis, and not a blanket rule for all operations.

  1. Tier 1- Fine of €10 million or 2% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher
  2. Tier 2- Fine of €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher

GDPR

Are your Cloud Applications GDPR-Ready?

If you have a lot of cloud deployments hosted by third parties, you will have to ensure that they are as GDPR-compliant as you are. Such companies need more than technology to remain ahead of the curve. Their internal cloud teams will need to be trained so that they can create secure and compliant applications.

Here is a four-pronged approach you can apply:

  • Make your cloud partners compliant

The cloud ecosystem consists of the vendor and the customer, both of whom should be GDPR compliant. The cloud provider (vendor) needs to secure their physical infrastructure as well as resources meant for storage, computing, and database services.

If you’re importing personal data that is subsequently captured by your cloud vendor, ensure that you have firewalls in place, at instance and application levels. You will have to monitor access controls, logging, and encryption of the applications.

Major cloud players such as AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure have their GDPR regulations in place. The smaller vendors need to follow suit. The ultimate onus of fulfilling GDPR regulations lies with the cloud customer only.

  • Conduct an internal audit

As mentioned, PII includes a lot of sensitive information that can be compromised or leaked. Data security and breach is a top concern with most internet users today. In many surveys, customers have admitted that they hesitate to engage with companies that ask unreasonable personal details. With every high-profile data breach case, the stranglehold around companies becomes tighter.

GDPR is an opportunity for companies to take an objective look at the kind of data they are collecting from customers. Is so much data actually required by the business? What about the existing data within the system? Is it outdated or irrelevant in present situation? If so, it is advisable to dispose it and make your database as lean as possible.

Since cloud applications require exchange of customer data with vendors, an internal audit will ensure that minimum sensitive information passes hands.

  • Be proactive about security

Big name cloud providers such as Amazon, Google Cloud, and Microsoft AWS have the following security features in place:

Access: Using IAM, administrators can drill down upon granular-level permissions for each user and service. You can leverage MFA or multi-factor authentication to segregate high-level permissions to users.

Encryption: You should encrypt data that is in transit between internal cloud services. Similarly, data at rest should also be encrypted to fool-proof it. AWS’s key vault and key management services can be deployed for enabling encryption.

Monitoring: You can use monitoring services offered by AWS such as CloudTrail and Security Center,  and CloudWatch by Amazon to plug loopholes in your cloud processes.

Threat Detection: Specific services in AWS and Amazon help to spot malicious URLs and suspicious activities and plug them at source.

  • Empower your teams

You need to keep a watch on your hiring and training processes so that your staff is capable of creating and deploying GDPR-ready applications. Encourage cloud teams to follow security best practices regarding data access and exchange. Keep upskilling workforce to bridge skill gaps and extract maximum productivity. Try to keep ahead of the next technological disruption by monitoring the global trends and challenges.

Wrap up

The technology space is always evolving and you need to remain up-to-date at all times. A loss of personal data will not only invite GDPR’s ire but also show your company in poor light. It is imperative that you follow advancements in the security domain.

Watch this space for the latest news on security and compliance.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on  and .

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

How to Develop an Effective Product Strategy

A product starts as an idea or a vision. But not all brilliant ideas transform into brilliant products. To convert an abstract vision into a concrete product, one that fulfills its business objectives, requires a precise product strategy. 

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“Product Strategy” can be defined as a product’s journey from the sketch board to the market. A journey needs to have a destination. This can be equated to the user experience a product envisions to give to its users. It needs to have a route. This can be the processes, protocols, and resources that go into a product’s development.  

Why is Product Strategy Essential?

Can you reach your destination efficiently if you don’t know where you are headed? Or which route to take? Or what obstacles you might encounter on your way? The answer is an emphatic NO. You will most likely get distracted en route, or get lost in the crowd, or reach your target too late or too tired. 

Similarly, a product needs to know its end goal and its end users so that it can be termed as a “business success”. There is no dearth of products that were made with great intent but without great knowledge of the market and users. Consequently, they fail to generate desired revenue and are a deplorable waste of time, resources, and manpower.

An astute product strategy gives direction to the product team. It outlines the intent of every step of the manufacturing process. By eliminating guesswork, product strategy gives a scientific algorithm that facilitates strategic decision making. Not based on assumptions but hard facts, product strategy tenets will make your product a profitable investment. 

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Source: https://www.myproductroadmap.com/collections/product-strategy-templates 
How to Craft a Winning Product Strategy

People buy products. No. Let me tweak that a bit. People buy products they NEED. If you want more people to buy your product, it makes sense to examine the needs of your users. The more your product aligns with users’ needs, the wider are its chances of success.

Read more: Is Your Product Really Solving a Problem

But the first question that you need to sort is: who are your users? Let’s delve into this right away.

Step #1: Identify Your Users

In a competitive market scenario such as ours, you can’t afford to make mistakes. Your product needs to hit the bullseye in the first go. There is no room for ambiguity.

Create really accurate user personas for all segments of your user base. The more specific you get, the better will be your understanding of their mindset. 

Indulge in market research to examine new users. Send mail surveys to existing users. Ask questions, feedback, and personal experiences from your customers to derive their aspirations.How-to-Develop-an-Effective-Product-Strategy_3 Source: https://www.researchrockstar.com/can-you-name-8-market-research-methods/

Step #2: Identify Their Problems

Once you have a few well-defined user personas, get inside their minds. Learn how they think and what they want. What challenges do they face and what expectations do they have from a product?

Read more: Is Your Product Really Solving a problem

Understand this: Customers don’t want the same old product, packaged differently. The millennial customers especially are discerning and aware. They research products online and offline before reaching for their pocketbooks. Ensure you astutely understand customer aspirations so that you can create a product that is tailor-made to fulfill their needs.

Step #3: Identify the “Sweet Spot”

You know your users. You know their expectations. You know what the competitors are offering. You also know your monetary objectives and constraints. The next milestone is to find a balance between what users want and what you can give them (within budget and time constraints). The common area between user expectations, competitor offerings, and your deliverables is called the “Sweet Spot”. 

Bear in mind: You can’t promise the moon and stars to customers and deliver rocks. But you can’t burn a hole in your pocket trying to cater to user demands which are non-feasible to your business. 

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Source: https://idea-sandbox.com/blog/strategic-sweet-spot/#axzz62Ui2OtEU

Align corporate goals with market demands. Then, include product features that can fulfill both these variables. What you will get is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), a working product model with all essential features. The embellishments can come later, as budget and market reach expands.

Step #4: Watertight Your Development Processes

Now we come to operations. Convey your product vision to the entire development team. Don’t silo them. Encourage open communication between designers, developers, and marketers. Conjunction between thinking of all the teams is necessary for the timely, smooth delivery of your product.

Agile development methodology can work wonders in an evolving market such as ours. Integrate continuous development, delivery, testing, and improvement into your processes. Have time-bound, iterative development sprints. Keep clearing backlog from previous sprints whilst working on new requirements. 

Conduct usability testing on real users and observe their interaction with your product closely. Note the bottlenecks they are facing. Improve upon them in the next iteration. Keep improving and keep delivering.

Read more: Ten Secrets to Make Your Product Development a Success

Step #5: Track Your Progress

Don’t get complacent after an initial spurt of activity. Have Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and build metrics to monitor how well your strategy caters to each area. 

Use tools such as CRMs to get first-hand information on your customers’ satisfaction levels. You can leverage agile tenets to integrate user feedback into the development process. Re-align your strategy accordingly.

To Wrap Up

Product strategy is the link between a hazy product vision and a well-defined development roadmap. It bridges the gaps between these two. Products based on an intuitive product strategy are able to make good ROI, capture markets effectively, and get a strategic advantage over competitor products.

Product strategy proves to be a game-changer in the long run. All successful products have a clear cut product strategy as their foundation. Invest in crafting a product strategy so that you don’t have to reinvest in overhauling your entire development later.

If you are looking to build a web, mobile or a cloud product, you can avail of a round of discussion with iView Labs’ tech team. Our developers and project team are always here to help and suggest what is required and necessary for your products.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on  and .

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

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Team iView Labs

Ten Secrets to Make Your Product Development a Success

Success doesn’t come from guesswork, innovation, or diligence. It is a combination of all this, plus more. As we unraveled from Neilson’s Consumer 360 Study that is collated by industry trailblazers and innovators. Their disruptive ideas about consumer behavior and product development will be an eye opener for most of us.

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Continue reading Ten Secrets to Make Your Product Development a Success

Is Your Product Really Solving a Problem?

Have you ever sat and wondered why Uber and Urban Clap are such a roaring success? Why a simplistic app like Freshmenu took the world by storm? What all these products have in common is that they aim to solve real problems and pain points of consumers. Because at the end of the day, customers don’t care about your product, they are just concerned with how your product can solve THEIR problems. This is the secret that smart marketers and product designers realize early on, rather than after failing with many “innovative” products that look very “cool” but are of little interest to their target audience!

Now, let’s dive deep into the real question at hand today – Is your product really solving a problem?

Is Your Product Really Solving a Problem

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Top 6 Metrics used to measure app success

Most customers from all segments of society and the financial status world over have one thing in common today. They all own a mobile phone and not just any mobile phone but a smartphone. It is no surprise that mobile phone users are using applications for an increasing number of tasks whether it is booking an airline, planning an itinerary, paying an outstanding bill or taking an academic course online. Businesses today, therefore, find it important to have their presence and reach out to customers and users through an application.

Continue reading Top 6 Metrics used to measure app success

Top IT strategies to apply to modernize your existing applications

With each passing year, technology and developments in the field are moving at a faster pace. This has led to a never-ending increase in the demands of the customers and a race amongst the clients trying to fulfil such needs. Users today want a rich experience that helps them leverage the advanced possibilities that new technologies can offer. Despite being aware of this, several organisations today use out-dated applications that do not meet the current demands of time. Some examples are a financial system running on an Apple IIGS machine, MS- DOS, Sales terminals running on out-dated Intel computers.

Continue reading Top IT strategies to apply to modernize your existing applications