Secure Data Sharing and Compliance Frameworks

secure data sharing featured

Several prominent security frameworks and regulations have been established to guide organizations through this intricate landscape. These range from international standards like ISO/IEC 27001 to more sector-specific regulations such as HIPAA for healthcare and PCI DSS for payment data.

 This article delves into these pivotal frameworks and how they speak to secure data sharing between parties and organizations, exploring their key components related to secure data sharing and offering insights into their application in diverse operational contexts. 


What is Secure Data Sharing?

Secure data sharing refers to transmitting or providing access to data in a way that maintains the data’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability. It is essential for protecting sensitive information against unauthorized access, breaches, theft, or accidental disclosure. In modern organizations, secure data sharing is significant for compliance with data protection regulations, maintaining trust with stakeholders, and ensuring that business-critical data is not compromised.

Key aspects of secure data sharing include:

  • Encryption: Scrambling the data to be unreadable without the correct decryption key. This can be applied both in transit (while the data is being sent) and at rest (when the data is stored). This also includes using secure protocols like HTTPS (for web-based data transfers) or SFTP (for file transfers) to protect data in transit.
  • Access Control: Only specific people or systems can access the data, typically based on roles or permissions. This can be enforced through password protection, multi-factor authentication, and biometric verification.
  • Logging and Monitoring: Keeping logs of who accesses data, when, and what they do. This helps in identifying and responding to any unauthorized or suspicious activities.
  • Data Lifecycle Management: Ensuring that data is securely deleted or archived when no longer needed and that older copies of shared data are also securely handled.
  • Secure Storage Solutions: Using trusted storage solutions that offer built-in security features. This includes both physical devices and cloud storage solutions.

Given the proliferation of cyber threats, there’s a growing demand for tools, protocols, and best practices that enable secure data sharing. Whether businesses share customer data, researchers share findings, or individuals share personal details, ensuring data is transmitted and accessed securely is paramount.

How Do Cybersecurity Frameworks Handle Secure Data Sharing?

secure data sharing

Numerous security frameworks and standards touch upon secure data sharing, either directly or indirectly. Here are some of the most prominent ones:


IEC 27000 (Series) 

ISO/IEC 27001 is an international standard that systematically manages and protects sensitive company information using a risk management process. It is part of the broader ISO/IEC 27000 standards for information security management systems (ISMS). ISO/IEC 27001 emphasizes the importance of regular reviews, continual improvement, and stakeholder involvement. While the standard as a whole provides a comprehensive framework for information security, several components directly pertain to secure data sharing:

  • Access Control: This component ensures that access to data is limited to authorized individuals. This is critical for secure data sharing because it defines who can share data, with whom, and under what conditions. The standard requires entities to implement user access management, user responsibilities, and system and application access control to prevent unauthorized data access and sharing.
  • Cryptography: Cryptography is vital for secure data sharing, as it ensures the confidentiality and integrity of data during transfer. ISO/IEC 27001 requires entities to develop and use policies on the use of encryption, especially when transmitting sensitive data across networks or storing it in ways accessible to external parties.
  • Information Transfer: This standard section addresses secure data transfer. It mandates organizations to implement policies and procedures that protect data during electronic and physical transfers. This ensures that data shared internally or externally remains confidential and is not tampered with during the transfer process.


NIST Special Publication 800 (Series)

The NIST 800 series provides comprehensive guidelines and best practices for various facets of information security tailored mainly for U.S. federal agencies but often adopted by private sector entities. Some of the more important documents in this series include Special Publication 800-53 (controls for federal agencies), Special Publication 800-171 (controls for defense agencies handling CUI), and Special Publication 800-30 (guide for conducting risk assessments per the Risk Management Framework). 

Within this broad collection, several publications touch upon secure data sharing:

  • Access Control: Defines who can access information and under what conditions. Access restrictions help ensure that internal and external data is shared securely and only among authorized entities.
  • System and Communications Protection: Emphasizes safeguards to protect information transmitted or received. This is fundamental for secure data sharing across networks to prevent eavesdropping, tampering, or unauthorized interception.
  • Information Exchange: Some publications, like SP 800-47, provide guidance specifically on secure information exchange between information systems.



HIPAA provides guidelines and requirements for the U.S. healthcare sector to protect patient health information. Aspects related to secure data sharing include:

  • Privacy Rule: Protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information, defining who can view or receive this information, which is critical for data-sharing scenarios.
  • Security Rule: Specifies administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information (ePHI). This encompasses controls for secure transmission and storage of ePHI during sharing.
  • Breach Notification Rule: Mandates covered entities and their business associates to notify affected parties of breaches. This implicitly emphasizes the importance of secure data sharing to prevent such breaches.

HIPAA’s emphasis on patient data protection means that entities under its jurisdiction must exercise utmost care when sharing data, ensuring it’s compliant, securely transmitted, and accessed.


Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

Designed for entities dealing with cardholder data, PCI DSS provides strict guidelines for data transmission and storage, which are directly applicable to secure data sharing:

  • Build and Maintain a Secure Network: This includes using firewalls to protect sensitive cardholder data, ensuring that data shared between systems or entities remains secure.
  • Protect Cardholder Data: Requires encryption for transmitting cardholder data across open, public networks, emphasizing secure data-sharing methods.
  • Regularly Monitor and Test Networks: Monitoring and testing ensure that data-sharing mechanisms remain secure and quickly identify and address vulnerabilities.

By adhering to PCI DSS, organizations ensure that payment-related data remains confidential and secure during sharing, protecting consumers and businesses from financial risks.


General Data Protection Regulation

An EU regulation, GDPR reshaped data protection and privacy landscapes, emphasizing individual rights over personal data. Its provisions related to secure data sharing are:

  • Data Transfer Outside the EU: GDPR sets strict rules for transferring personal data outside the European Economic Area, ensuring that such sharing is done securely and with proper legal mechanisms.
  • Right to Data Portability: Allows individuals to request and receive their data in a format that facilitates easy transfer, indirectly emphasizing secure data sharing practices when transmitting data back to individuals or other entities.
  • Data Processor Accountability: Organizations sharing data with third-party processors must ensure that these processors also comply with GDPR and maintain the same level of data protection, including secure data sharing standards.

GDPR’s stringent data protection requirements mean that organizations operating within its jurisdiction must adopt high standards for data sharing, ensuring that personal data is handled with respect and care.


Make Sure You’re Implementing Proper Data Sharing Technology with Lazarus Alliance

Depending on your industry and compliance requirements, you’ll most likely see several different expectations on securing data during sharing and transfer operations. These requirements are often complex and layered, and it’s important to have a complete picture of how to follow through.

Contact Lazarus Alliance to take that big picture and make it a reality for your organization. 

Lazarus Alliance