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Keep calm, it’s only GDPR! Seven questions to ask your technology provider

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Keep calm, it’s only GDPR! Seven questions to ask your technology provider

According to Thomas Rodseth, VP of Product & Marketing at Puzzel, organisations that take data security seriously are halfway to being GDPR ready. They just need to take a closer look at their technology provider and ask the right questions.

The fast approaching deadline for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25th May 2018 continues to cause concern for many organisations. Although the legislation plans to override national data protection laws and impose additional requirements for companies that collect or store personal data of European Union residents, GDPR should be welcomed as a positive step. It will encourage companies to review their data policies and practices as part of ongoing business continuity planning to ensure that they comply with GDPR.

Data security as second nature

The good news is that many of our customers are unknowingly well prepared for GDPR from day one. They are contact centres that everyday focus on the security of customer data to ensure it is stored, transmitted and processed securely.

There is little to fear on the basis that your contact centre has a robust set of automated processes backed up with cloud-based solutions, along with trustworthy staff that don’t write down customer details or click on rogue emails. The successful road to GDPR preparedness is taking the time to assess the reliability of those who provide the technology framework on which your contact centre depends.

Asking the right questions

Now is the right time to have a face-to-face meeting with your technology provider and delve a little deeper into their own ways of working. Here are the top 7 questions to ask and why:

1. How do you store data? – the infrastructure in which data is stored should be built on secure best of breed components. In addition, if your technology provider uses a data centre from another supplier, they should work only with well-recognized co-location partners and both fully manage and operate all the services produced and delivered from that data centre. There should be evidence of regular back-up activity as well as testing and planning for various restore scenarios.

2. Where does the processing of data take place? – transparency is key and data processing needs to take place in Europe (EU/EEA) and follow European regulations and requirements regarding protection of data privacy.

3. What levels of security are available? – this is where the cloud comes into its own. Make sure your technology supplier offers data services over the cloud supported by well-defined and consistent processes. For example, data centres should be locked and alarmed with 24/7 surveillance and accessible only by controlled personnel. All measures should be taken to control the physical environment such as redundant climate control with environmental monitoring of gas, moisture, heat and water; fire alarms with automatic firefighting equipment and an uninterruptible power supply that is regularly tested against power outages.

4. Is there an Information Security Policy? – don’t just take their word for it, ask to see your provider’s Information Security Policy, often in the shape of a formal written handbook that includes a range of underlying procedures detailing security related activities and controls. The policy is the starting point for the top-down risk assessments and should be revised and improved yearly.

5. Can I trust your staff? – one of the important characteristics of efficient security processes is that they are executed by capable and competent employees. Check out your provider’s enrolment process for new employees as well as external parties such as consultants, sub-suppliers and others with access to your data. This should include mandatory signing of confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements and adhering to corporate business and ethics guidelines. All security staff must be properly vetted and regularly trained.

6. What happens if things go wrong? – all organisations you work with should plan for the unplanned with a strong Business Continuity programme based on ISO/IEC 27031 and a dedicated Security Response Team.

7. What certificates do you have to back up your security claims? – ask for proof that they follow industry best practices and undergo regular audits by approved external organisations to minimise risk. In particular, look out for ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation. These certificates demonstrate your provider’s commitment to the protection of information and the assurance that assets are suitably protected – whether held on paper, electronically or as employee knowledge.

Ask the right questions of your technology provider and be sure to get the right answers in return. Choosing the correct partner is critical to GDPR preparedness. The right one will ensure their solutions offer complete transparency and security and have the knowledge and expertise to guide you every step of the way. Make sure they share the same exacting standards as your own organisation. If they do, you can be confident that come 25th May, you will be far ahead of the competition when it comes to compliance with new GDPR legislation.

NB: Puzzel does not offer legal advice or GDPR consultancy.

Thomas Rodseth, VP of Product & Marketing at Puzzel

Business

Chipmakers in drought-hit Taiwan order water trucks to prepare for ‘the worst’

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Chipmakers in drought-hit Taiwan order water trucks to prepare for 'the worst' 1

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan chipmakers are buying water by the truckload for some of their foundries as the island widens restrictions on water supply amid a drought that could exacerbate a chip supply crunch for the global auto industry.

Some auto makers have already been forced to trim production, and Taiwan had received requests for help to bridge the shortage of auto chips from countries including the United States and Germany.

Taiwan, a key hub in the global technology supply chain for giants such as Apple Inc, will begin on Thursday to further reduce water supply for factories in central and southern cities where major science parks are located.

Water levels in several reservoirs in the island’s central and southern region stand at below 20%, following months of scant rainfall and a rare typhoon-free summer.

“We have planned for the worst,” Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua told reporters on Tuesday. “We hope companies can reduce water usage by 7% to 11%.”

With limited rainfall forecast for the months ahead, Taiwan Water Corporation this week said the island has entered the “toughest moment”.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, this week started ordering small amounts of water by the truckload to supply some of its facilities across the island.

“We are making preparations for our future water demand,” TSMC told Reuters, describing the move as a “pressure test”. The chip giant said it has seen no impact on production. Both Vanguard International Semiconductor Corporation and United Microelectronics Corp signed contracts with water trucks and said there was no impact on production.

Vanguard said it has started a drill to truck water to its facilities in the northern city of Hsinchu.

Taiwanese technology companies have long complained about a chronic water shortage, which became more acute after factories expanded production following a Sino-U.S. trade war.

(Reporting By Yimou Lee; additional reporting by Jeanny Kao; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Oil slips after U.S. crude stocks rise amid deep freeze hit to refiners

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Oil slips after U.S. crude stocks rise amid deep freeze hit to refiners 2

By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell in early trade on Wednesday after industry data showed U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly rose last week as a deep freeze in the southern states curbed demand from refineries that were forced to shut.

Crude stockpiles rose by 1 million barrels in the week to Feb. 19, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday, against estimates for a draw of 5.2 million barrels in a Reuters poll.

API data showed refinery crude runs fell by 2.2 million bpd.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 55 cents or 0.9% at $61.12 a barrel at 0136 GMT, after slipping 3 cents on Tuesday.

Brent crude futures fell 38 cents, or 0.6%, to $64.99 a barrel, erasing Tuesday’s 13 cents gain.

Investors will be awaiting confirmation from the U.S. Energy Information Administration later on Wednesday that crude inventories rose last week, despite the hit to shale oil production amid the unprecedented icy spell in the U.S. south.

“The key question is how quickly does U.S. oil supply recover. It looks like supply will recover faster than refineries, and supply is going to outpace demand in the next few weeks. That will give negative weight to the market,” Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar said.

The price retreat is being seen as a pause following a rally of more than 26% to 13-month highs in both Brent and WTI since the start of the year.

Prices have jumped due to the U.S. supply disruption and supply discipline by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, together called OPEC+, led by an extra 1 million bpd cut by Saudi Arabia.

At the same time stimulus spending to boost growth, investors rotating into commodities, and hopes that the rollout of vaccinations could lead to an easing of pandemic restrictions are all buoying oil prices.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Oil settles mixed amid post-storm uncertainty

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Oil settles mixed amid post-storm uncertainty 3

By Laura Sanicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices settled near year-long highs on Tuesday on signs that global coronavirus restrictions were being eased, although concerns about the pace of a U.S. economic recovery and the return of Texas oil production kept gains in check.

U.S. crude settled down 3 cents to $61.67 a barrel, still close to its highest levels since January 2020. Brent crude <LCOc1> settled up 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $65.37 a barrel.

Both contracts rose more than $1 earlier before retreating.

Shale oil producers and refiners in the southern United States are slowly resuming production after 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output and nearly 20% of U.S. refining capacity shut down because of last week’s winter storm.

Traffic at the Houston ship channel was slowly returning to normal. Production, however, was not expected to fully restart soon and some shale producers forecast lower oil output in the first quarter.

Some oil production may never come back, commodities merchant Trafigura said on Tuesday.

After the cold snap, U.S. crude oil stockpiles were also seen falling for a fifth straight week, while the inventories of refined products also declined last week, an extended Reuters poll showed.

“It appears that last week’s severe cold spell and related Texas power outage could be affecting the weekly EIA data into the middle of next month,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois.

There were also concerns over the U.S. economic recovery, which the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, said remained “uneven and far from complete.”

He said it would be “some time” before the central bank considered changing policies it had adopted to help the country back to full employment.

Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said the recent oil price rise was buoyed by upbeat price forecasts from U.S. brokers.

Goldman Sachs expects Brent prices to reach $70 per barrel in the second quarter from the $60 it predicted previously, and $75 in the third quarter from $65 forecast earlier.

Morgan Stanley, which expects Brent to reach $70 in the third quarter, said new COVID-19 cases were falling while “mobility statistics are bottoming out and are starting to improve”.

Bank of America said Brent prices could temporarily spike to $70 in the second quarter.

(Reporting by Laura Sanicola in New York; Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London and Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Mark Heinrich)

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