Features, Insight, Opinion

Commentary on the UAE’s new Data Privacy Law by Help AG

By Nicolai Solling, Chief Technology Officer, Help AG & Aleksandar Valjarevic, Vice President, Business Development, Help AG.

Nicolai Solling, CTO, Help AG.
Aleksandar Valjarevic, VP, Business Development, Help AG.

What the world is experiencing today is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new economy defined by digital transformation, and driven by advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, cybersecurity, and more. The fuel of this new global economy is data.

As the value of data is becoming widely recognised, the way we think about how we collect, store, analyse and use data is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. Consumers are becoming growingly sensitive about how data is treated, and any legislation which defines this is a step out of the grey zone of how data is being dealt with.

Earlier this month, the UAE government announced a comprehensive new Data Law, a welcome step in the right direction for the government, organisations, consumers, and the economy as a whole.

Set to be implemented in the coming weeks, the law was announced as part of the UAE government’s ‘Principles of 50’, a set of 10 principles issued to mark the UAE’s golden jubilee. The principles will serve as a strategic roadmap for the UAE and guide the nation as it navigates the next 50 years of its progress.

According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, the digital economy contributes 4.3% to the economy of the UAE as a whole, a figure which will only increase with the government’s strong investments in the field, and the popularity of the country as a global business hub and regional leader in STEM fields, big tech and smart technologies.

As the UAE government implements its digital and smart economy strategies, the amount of data collected will increase dramatically, which makes data regulation all the more important.

So, how will this new law benefit the government, businesses and the general public?

Firstly, unifying all of these different regulations into one Federal Law will streamline compliance for companies across all sectors of the economy, making it easier for them to do business anywhere in the UAE. It will also bring the UAE’s data regulations in line with global best practices, making it easier for multinational corporations to conduct business within the UAE.

Secondly, the new law will also protect the privacy of individuals, and reassure the public that the data they share with businesses, such as personal details, transaction records and employment profiles, will not be misused by third parties for fraudulent purposes.

For cybersecurity service providers such as Help AG, the key issues related to the data law revolve around security and compliance. Are businesses doing enough to protect the data they have accumulated from malicious behaviour, and are their data management and protection practices compliant with the new laws and regulations? For example, is access to the data restricted to the appropriate employees through a secure Privileged Access Management solution?

This is where cybersecurity service providers would come in to address and manage data security and compliance for their clients, taking the headache away from them. We would ensure that the data management and protection protocols in place are not only compliant with the UAE data laws, but also in line with global best practices.

As a cybersecurity service provider that is already aligned with the data privacy frameworks implemented in major markets across the world, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Help AG is well-suited to help organisations comply with local and global regulations for data management and security.

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