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This blog introduces a new topic that many may be unaware of: Data Protection laws. These are laws that define fully, or in part, what type of data is covered by government regulations, proscribe general standards for the securing of covered data, and may also require notification of victims and governmental authorities in the event of a breach. Small businesses, no matter what product or service they provide, are likely subject to some manner of regulations regarding the storage and use of digital data. For instance, any medical office or organization that handles medical records is subject to HIPAA, the federal law regarding health data privacy. Meeting IT regulations can be expensive and time consuming and they also require timely upgrades. Failure to stay up to date can lead to fines, penalties, and a damaged reputation.
Chances are, you are subject to some data protection or data security laws. You are also very likely to be subject to breach notification laws. As a small business you should consider having an audit conducted to determine if you possess data that may be regulated by these laws. Failure to be aware that you are covered by them does not protect you in the event of a data breach.
In our next blog, we will discuss one category of information that is the focus of many data protection laws. This category is referred to as Personally Identifiable Information. When you discover what that includes, it will be pretty apparent why protecting this data is important for the integrity and success of your business.
Data Regulation and your Business: Data Protection Laws
Small firms are probably aware that there are laws regulating the handling of data, but they probably assume that these apply only to larger firms and that they are too small to have any data that is worthwhile or protected under state/provincial or federal laws. Think again. Data protection laws generally worry about the content of your data, not the volume of it. That is, you don’t need to have “tons” (not the technical term) of data to be to regulated by data privacy laws. If you maintain personally identifiable information (PII) you may be regulated by these laws which may include penalties and fines for non-conformance. PII means you store a person’s first name/initial, last name and then link it to another piece of personal information, such as, but not including:
- Social Security Number
- Driver’s license, or state ID
- Some financial account number, e.g. credit/debit card, checking account, etc.
- Health insurance ID
You are very likely required to observe regulations regarding protection of that data, and reporting of data breaches.
This isn’t an issue for the faint of heart. Contact Net DirXions your managed service provider with expertise in your specific industry or field of business to make sure you are in compliance. Failure to maintain compliance can lead to some very expensive fines and penalties.