July 9 2019

Hosting for prize competitions compliant with the ministerial regulations of the MISE.

How to organize an online sweepstakes? Which hosting to choose?

Hosting Online Sweepstakes Banner

In case you are faced with the need to set up an online sweepstakes, you may think you can handle the whole process easily. Perhaps the idea could come to mind of creating a website specifically dedicated to this purpose and of conveying it through a series of advertising strategies on various social channels, or of distributing a newsletter to your contacts or customers. This would allow you to reach a large audience and involve many people in your initiative.

However, it is important to be very careful. Organizing an online sweepstakes is not a task that can be undertaken lightly. It is not a simple and linear operation, but an activity that requires knowledge and the application of various regulatory and bureaucratic aspects. There are many rules to follow and many details to consider.

If you decide to proceed with a "do-it-yourself" approach, improvising and believing you can handle all aspects of the matter without the help of a professional, you run a very high risk. This choice could lead to rather serious consequences from an administrative point of view, and could expose the possibility of having to face particularly burdensome pecuniary sanctions.

Therefore, before embarking on such an enterprise, it is essential that you inform yourself adequately and that you consider the opportunity to contact an expert in the sector. Remember that even an involuntary mistake can cost you dearly. In an area as delicate and complex as that of online prize competitions, it is always better to act with prudence and awareness.

In this article we will see what are the precautions to pay attention to in order to organize an online prize competition in accordance with the law.

Online prize competition according to the MISE.

As stated and reported in the reference legislation on the website of the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE):

For all competitions that began on or after August 25, 2010, the obligation to notify the Ministry at least 15 days before the start date of the prize event comes into force. Therefore, if a contest started on August 25, 2010, the communication had to be sent by August 10, 2010. If it starts, for example, on August 25, 2011, it must be sent by August 10, 2011.
The Prize Events Division (X °) of the General Directorate for the market, competition, consumer, supervision and technical regulations deals with the matter.

The Division carries out the following activities:

  • Support for regulatory, interpretative and guidance activities on the matter
  • Control functions on the correct course of events
  • In case of violations, adoption of administrative sanctions (disqualification and pecuniary)

Those who intend to organize a prize event (competitions - operations) will find in this section a virtual support to orient themselves in the procedures: all the info on the procedures.

https://www.mise.gov.it/index.php/it/component/content/article?id=2016511

Referring to appropriate sources such as this article well written, inherently all the legal obligations in the case of a competition with prizes not exempt from obligations, there are purely technical aspects inherent to hosting and hosting provider services that must be taken into consideration in order to have a system that complies with the requirements of the ministry.

Hosting for prize competition

Choosing the right hosting for an online sweepstakes is a crucial decision. A superior quality hosting is a fundamental element to ensure the success of an online competition and to avoid inconveniences of any kind. It must meet a series of "simple" but essential technological requirements, in order to guarantee compliance with the law and to prevent possible disputes with the contest participants.

When it comes to an online sweepstakes, one can be faced with several problematic situations. There may be an investigation by the competent authority or difficulties may be encountered with the participants in the game. The latter, in fact, for various reasons – even the most trivial, senseless or unfounded – could decide to start a dispute. This would involve the need to verify compliance with all the bureaucratic and technological obligations related to the competition.

Therefore, it is extremely important to choose hosting that meets certain standards. Not only must it be able to support the traffic and interactions generated by your contest, but it must also provide security and comply with applicable privacy and data protection regulations.

So here are the ideal requirements that a hosting should meet if you want to organize an online sweepstakes in a compliant manner.

Qualified Cloud PA / CSP hosting provider.

Organizing an online sweepstakes is not an undertaking to be taken lightly, and the hosting you choose can have a significant impact on this activity, both from a bureaucratic and technological point of view. Although it may seem like a matter subject to different interpretations, it is practically obvious that choosing a certified and qualified hosting provider for the Public Administration is the most shrewd choice right from the start.

This is because hosting of this type is able to ensure regulatory compliance and guarantee a high level of security and reliability. You will therefore not have to worry about possible bureaucratic quibbles or doubts regarding the legality of your non-certified hosting provider.

A concrete example of this practice is offered by us at Managed Server. In the management of sweepstakes, we operate exclusively with type C Cloud Service Providers (CSP), who have been qualified by the Agency for Digital Italy (AgID) to provide Cloud IaaS services to Public Administrations.

This qualification guarantees that the development and provision of these services take place according to specific reliability and safety criteria established by AgID. These criteria are considered necessary and suitable for public administration digital services, thus ensuring that online activities, such as sweepstakes, are managed in the most efficient and secure way possible.

Opting for a certified and qualified hosting provider is therefore a fundamental step for those who want to organize an online prize competition, avoiding bureaucratic problems and guaranteeing maximum security and reliability.

Hosting CISPE Service Declared - Services adhering to the CISPE Code of Conduct for data protection

The subject of data protection has become crucial in this increasingly digitized world. When it comes to hosting for online sweepstakes, it is essential that the Cloud services used guarantee high levels of security and transparency for their users. In this regard, the Cloud services with which we collaborate for sweepstakes initiatives fully meet these needs.

These services are in fact compliant with the CISPE (Cloud Infrastructure Services Provider Europe) Code of Conduct, a set of voluntary rules adopted by cloud service providers at European level. The CISPE Code of Conduct was created to ensure that member companies are committed to high standards of data protection and security.

The services that adhere to the CISPE Code of Conduct are identified by a specific guarantee mark. This label offers customers and citizens the reassurance that they can store and process their data within the European Economic Area, where data is protected by robust privacy and data protection legislation.

A particularly important element of the CISPE Code of Conduct is the guarantee that the cloud service provider does not access or use customer data for personal purposes. This means that the provider cannot carry out 'data mining' or 'data profiling' operations, and cannot use customer data for direct marketing purposes. In practice, customer data always and only remains the property of the customer.

These provisions provide a very high level of protection and transparency for users. When you use Cloud services compliant with the CISPE Code of Conduct, you can be sure that your data will be managed in a secure and respectful manner, in full compliance with European data protection legislation. This is a fundamental aspect, especially when it comes to organizing online sweepstakes, where user data management is an essential component.

Datacenter ISO 27001 certification

Choosing an ISO 27001 certified data center is essential to guarantee a high standard of security in the processing of information. As we have already pointed out in a previous article, in which we discuss the reasons why we choose to work exclusively with ISO 27001 certified datacenters, this choice represents a guarantee of reliability and data protection.

The ISO 27001 standard, in fact, is an international standard that establishes the requirements for the creation, implementation, management and continuous improvement of an Information Security Management System (ISMS). This system provides a structured framework for ensuring that an organization's sensitive information is adequately protected.

Complying with the ISO 27001 standard therefore means adhering to a series of globally recognized "best practices". These practices provide detailed guidance on how to effectively manage information and data, protecting it from various risks and threats, both physical and digital.

ISO 27001:2005 certification is obtained through an analysis conducted by an independent body, which verifies the organization's compliance with the standard. This process ensures that the organization has a robust and well-managed ISMS that adequately protects information assets.

On the other hand, the ISO 27002:2007 standard is a complementary document to ISO 27001. This standard provides a set of detailed recommendations and guidelines for information security management. Although ISO 27002 is not a certifiable standard, it provides fundamental support for implementing the best practices suggested by ISO 27001.

Working with an ISO 27001 certified Datacenter allows you to be sure that information is managed according to the highest security standards, reducing the risk of data loss or violations. This aspect is essential for organizations that manage sensitive data, such as those who organize online sweepstakes.

Territoriality of the Datacenter on Italian soil

The physical location of a Datacenter, known as territoriality, can have a significant impact on data management, although recent European regulations have made the need for a specific territoriality largely obsolete. In fact, the laws of the European Union guarantee that data can be treated in the same way in any member country, providing a substantially equivalent level of data protection.

However, the territoriality of the Datacenter on Italian soil can offer some specific advantages, especially in the context of a type C Cloud Service Provider (CSP), qualified by AgID to provide Cloud IaaS services to Public Administrations.

First of all, having a Datacenter based in Italy can simplify the interaction with the AgID and with other Italian public authorities. Compliance with Italian standards and physical presence on the territory can in fact facilitate communication and the resolution of any problems that may arise.

Secondly, a datacenter located in Italy can help prevent any objections or questions from officials of the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE). Even if European regulations permit the use of data centers located in any EU member country, choosing an Italian data center can eliminate any potential doubts about the legitimacy of this choice.

Finally, even if Italian territoriality is not a mandatory requirement by law (de jure), it turns out to be a highly recommended choice in practice (de facto). This is because it allows you to prevent misunderstandings and simplify the bureaucratic process, avoiding potential delays and complications.

System level security implementation

System level security is a crucial element when running online sweepstakes. In fact, it is not enough to count on an Italian Datacenter equipped with the highest certification standards; it is equally essential to ensure that the work environment in the Cloud instance is configured to offer the highest possible degree of security.

At the system level, there are several measures that can be implemented to increase system security. These include the use of strict access controls to ensure that only authorized people can access the system. Passwords should be alphanumeric and strong, difficult to guess or intercept via brute force attacks.

Furthermore, it is essential to minimize the exposure of services through proper configuration. This means limiting the number of externally exposed services and ensuring that these are protected by appropriate security measures.

Another key element of system-level security is the use of intrusion prevention tools, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS). These tools continuously monitor the system for suspicious activity, block attacks and notify administrators of intrusion attempts.

At the filesystem level, additional security measures can be implemented, such as certifying file signatures. This process involves the use of hashing techniques, such as MD5 and SHA1, to generate a unique "signature" for each file. This signature can then be used to verify the integrity of the file and to detect any unauthorized changes.

Finally, to further protect the organizer of the prize draw, all these security measures should be documented and certified in a report. This document should then be sent to the competition organizer via Certified Electronic Mail (PEC), thus guaranteeing tangible proof of the security measures implemented.

Logging and data retention.

Both during the competition and after the competition has ended, we have the duty to log system data, connections and IP of visitors and to keep them with persistent duration. To protect everyone, even at the end of the competition, we carry out a dump of the logs, data and database, and we keep a copy of them for 5 years on secure and redundant data storage systems.

In this way, if there is a request from the judicial authority or a verification by the Guarantor, we will be able to show and demonstrate the conservation of the original data in full compliance with what is requested.

If you need to host your projects for online prize competitions, please contact us, we have relevant case studies and we are able to take care of all the inherent technological aspects in a professional and legally compliant way.

Conclusions

From the previous discussion, it is clear how crucial it is to rely on qualified partners when it comes to organizing an online competition. The modern digital landscape is full of challenges and potential pitfalls, both in terms of regulatory compliance and data security. In this context, the importance of a certified hosting service provider, a data center on Italian territory and robust system security cannot be underestimated.

Using a qualified and certified partner can mean the difference between a smoothly running online sweepstakes and a regrettable situation full of bureaucratic complications and potential data security threats. The expertise of these partners can help you navigate the regulatory complexities with confidence, ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and protect participant data from potential threats.

Furthermore, a qualified partner will be able to provide assistance and support throughout the entire process, from the planning phase to the management of the competition, up to the fulfillment of the post-competition bureaucratic requirements. This allows the organizer to focus on other crucial aspects of the contest, such as marketing and interaction with entrants.

So, if you are planning to organize an online sweepstakes, we strongly recommend that you consider engaging the services of a qualified partner. Not only will this ensure that your contest is compliant with the law and safe, but it will also allow you to focus on what matters most – creating an engaging and rewarding experience for your entrants.

Do not hesitate! Contact us today to find out how we can help you organize your next online contest. We are here to make your trip less stressful and more effective.

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