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Reminder: It's Your Job to Keep Customer Data Safe

20. May 2015 08:04

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According to entrepreneurial news outlet The American Genius, a small survey found that small- and medium-sized businesses are uniquely positioned to be absolutely blindsided if they ever experience a data breach. Why?

Do these numbers reiterate that you're ahead of the curve or remind you that it's time to figure out once and for all what your business is responsible for when it comes to customer security? If you're in the latter camp, this guide is for you.

Data Breach State Laws: Fines and Notification Regulations

Perhaps the first step toward shoring up your data security plan is to figure out what information you are responsible for protecting. Though credit card numbers and Social Security numbers may immediately spring to mind, that's not the only valuable information to potential hackers.

Some states have broadened the definition of personally identifiable information to account for this fact, and those laws may consider names, email addresses, physical addresses, and pin numbers as protected information that if exposed qualifies as a breach.

At this point in time, 47 states have some form of data breach legislation on the books (Alabama, South Dakota, and New Mexico continue to be holdouts, though New Mexico may join the fold soon enough). A federal data breach law that would supersede state laws is in the works, but for now, you must follow your state's regulations.

Here's what a few states' laws entail:

For all these laws, an exposure of a name or identifier coupled with a data element (e.g., SSN, driver's license number, account number, or credit card number) can constitute as a breach. The subtext for most of these laws? You're responsible for protecting data you collect from customers.

An Ounce of Data Security > A Pound of Data Recovery

You don't want to be caught off guard when you face a data breach, lest you face fines on top of other data breach costs. Moreover, you should do what you can to prevent a breach in the first place because it's your responsibility to do so. Here are some pointers that might help:

For more data security tips, stay current on our data breach blog series.


Cyber Risk Insurance | Data Breach | General | Risk Management | Small Business Risk Management | Tips for All Small Businesses

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