By Suzette Corley, Global Privacy Paralegal
If you’re a business owner, then you know how easy it is to become focused on building your brand and delivering excellent customer care, so much so that it’s also easy to let some of the most important matters suffer. It is especially the case when it comes to data security. When is the last time you considered how secure your data privacy program is? Can you say beyond a shadow of a doubt that your clients’ information is entirely safe?
Well, businesses often fail to take the appropriate amount of action when it concerns data privacy. That’s why their security procedures often stop just short of client confidentiality agreements. Sure, you may have a lot of airtight policies in place, but the truth is, these types of documented/paper procedures just aren’t cutting anymore. As computer systems continue to advance, hackers are one step ahead in skills. Computer systems turn into a breeding ground for malicious intent.
That’s why it’s crucial that you have a thorough understanding of where sensitive client data lives, how it’s being used and collected, where it’s going and how to control this information across all devices and in the cloud. Let’s take a moment to discuss why having a data protection program is so important as well as how it is single-handedly changing the way clients do business.
Why It’s So Important
Why is it so important that you build a data privacy program into your company strategy? Why should even the most secure companies work to create extra security? Well, system breaches can happen to anyone, but this is especially the case for businesses that handle sensitive information. These types of activities are often explicitly targeted because hackers realize that corporate computers tend to house some of the most high-value client data — and individual computers are easier to access and control. In fact, in 2011 alone, over 80 United States-based law firms reported breaches in their system. And many resulted in a loss of sensitive client data.
The results of these types of data breaches are often catastrophic and far-reaching. In addition to public relations and financial losses, cyber breaches also lead to disruption of operations. They can also expose the organization to a few regulatory actions, claims of negligence, inability to meet contractual obligations and loss of trust among suppliers and customers.
Gaining Your Competitive Edge
Businesses aren’t the only ones noticing these breaches in privacy; corporate clients are as well. They are starting to realize just how vulnerable they could be if their information ends up in the wrongs hands. And for this reason, they’re actively seeking to work with companies and firms that have the proper protection. In fact, many are now demanding that businesses show proof of their security and monitoring.
One of the great benefits of this type of comparison shopping is that it distinguishes you from your competition. If your competitors have not yet safeguarded themselves against cyber security breaches, clients are more inclined to want to work with you. Companies know that you’re in a better position to respond to their requests and can provide them with the assurance that both policies and technologies protect their sensitive information.
Cyber security is one of the largest issues of the day. Despite best government agency efforts, cybercrime is likely to continue to increase. The increase is amounting to more and more cyber protection services that are available online. The sophistication of cyber criminals who often engage in cat-and-mouse games with top security experts helps companies understand the severity of these crimes. So if you’re interested in maintaining the success of your business and good public relations, then it’s critical that you build data privacy protection into your company strategy.
Not only does this help you to avoid liability, but it also contributes to building trust with your new and current clients. Now, more than ever, business owners need strategies and programs in place. As cyber security continues to be a threat, more and more companies will need to put some data privacy program in place. Computer networks have always been targeted, but there is no reason to suffer these devastating blows when you have sensible precautions at your disposal.
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Disclaimer: This article provides general information and materials related to contract management. This article does not provide legal advice. Agile Contract Management is not a law firm nor does it provide legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal issues or questions.