AWS Security Blog

AWS and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

by Stephen Schmidt | on | in Announcements, Compliance | | Comments

European Union image

Just over a year ago, the European Commission approved and adopted the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR is the biggest change in data protection laws in Europe since the 1995 introduction of the European Union (EU) Data Protection Directive, also known as Directive 95/46/EC. The GDPR aims to strengthen the security and protection of personal data in the EU and will replace the Directive and all local laws relating to it.

AWS welcomes the arrival of the GDPR. The new, robust requirements raise the bar for data protection, security, and compliance, and will push the industry to follow the most stringent controls, helping to make everyone more secure. I am happy to announce today that all AWS services will comply with the GDPR when it becomes enforceable on May 25, 2018.

In this blog post, I explain the work AWS is doing to help customers with the GDPR as part of our continued commitment to help ensure they can comply with EU Data Protection requirements.

What has AWS been doing?

AWS continually maintains a high bar for security and compliance across all of our regions around the world. This has always been our highest priority—truly “job zero.” The AWS Cloud infrastructure has been architected to offer customers the most powerful, flexible, and secure cloud-computing environment available today. AWS also gives you a number of services and tools to enable you to build GDPR-compliant infrastructure on top of AWS.

One tool we give you is a Data Processing Agreement (DPA). I’m happy to announce today that we have a DPA that will meet the requirements of the GDPR. This GDPR DPA is available now to all AWS customers to help you prepare for May 25, 2018, when the GDPR becomes enforceable. For additional information about the new GDPR DPA or to obtain a copy, contact your AWS account manager.

In addition to account managers, we have teams of compliance experts, data protection specialists, and security experts working with customers across Europe to answer their questions and help them prepare for running workloads in the AWS Cloud after the GDPR comes into force. To further answer customers’ questions, we have updated our EU Data Protection website. This website includes information about what the GDPR is, the changes it brings to organizations operating in the EU, the services AWS offers to help you comply with the GDPR, and advice about how you can prepare.

Another topic we cover on the EU Data Protection website is AWS’s compliance with the CISPE Code of Conduct. The CISPE Code of Conduct helps cloud customers ensure that their cloud infrastructure provider is using appropriate data protection standards to protect their data in a manner consistent with the GDPR. AWS has declared that Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon RDS, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), AWS CloudTrail, and Amazon Elastic Block Storage (Amazon EBS) are fully compliant with the CISPE Code of Conduct. This declaration provides customers with assurances that they fully control their data in a safe, secure, and compliant environment when they use AWS. For more information about AWS’s compliance with the CISPE Code of Conduct, go to the CISPE website.

As well as giving customers a number of tools and services to build GDPR-compliant environments, AWS has achieved a number of internationally recognized certifications and accreditations. In the process, AWS has demonstrated compliance with third-party assurance frameworks such as ISO 27017 for cloud security, ISO 27018 for cloud privacy, PCI DSS Level 1, and SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3. AWS also helps customers meet local security standards such as BSI’s Common Cloud Computing Controls Catalogue (C5) that is important in Germany. We will continue to pursue certifications and accreditations that are important to AWS customers.

What can you do?

Although the GDPR will not be enforceable until May 25, 2018, we are encouraging our customers and partners to start preparing now. If you have already implemented a high bar for compliance, security, and data privacy, the move to GDPR should be simple. However, if you have yet to start your journey to GDPR compliance, we urge you to start reviewing your security, compliance, and data protection processes now to ensure a smooth transition in May 2018.

You should consider the following key points in preparation for GDPR compliance:

  • Territorial reach – Determining whether the GDPR applies to your organization’s activities is essential to ensuring your organization’s ability to satisfy its compliance obligations.
  • Data subject rights – The GDPR enhances the rights of data subjects in a number of ways. You will need to make sure you can accommodate the rights of data subjects if you are processing their personal data.
  • Data breach notifications – If you are a data controller, you must report data breaches to the data protection authorities without undue delay and in any event within 72 hours of you becoming aware of a data breach.
  • Data protection officer (DPO) – You may need to appoint a DPO who will manage data security and other issues related to the processing of personal data.
  • Data protection impact assessment (DPIA) – You may need to conduct and, in some circumstances, you might be required to file with the supervisory authority a DPIA for your processing activities.
  • Data processing agreement (DPA) – You may need a DPA that will meet the requirements of the GDPR, particularly if personal data is transferred outside the European Economic Area.

AWS offers a wide range of services and features to help customers meet requirements of the GDPR, including services for access controls, monitoring, logging, and encryption. For more information about these services and features, see EU Data Protection.

At AWS, security, data protection, and compliance are our top priorities, and we will continue to work vigilantly to ensure that our customers are able to enjoy the benefits of AWS securely, compliantly, and without disruption in Europe and around the world. As we head toward May 2018, we will share more news and resources with you to help you comply with the GDPR.

– Steve