Data Privacy: Know the Laws & Reputation Risks to Your Business

April 26, 2018

Every business has data. Some is critical. Some is sensitive. Some is not. What falls into each category changes from business to business. The legal and reputational risks that data brings do not change. 

Many business owners are surprised by how many laws apply to their business. After all, they say, data is not even the focus of my business, how can almost a dozen laws apply, just to my data? That is only half the question. The other half is how to keep up with the changing laws. 

  • Just this year, several states have passed new laws or expanded old ones. 
  • New laws are being proposed and passed at the federal level. 
  • For those who have international customers, Australia and Europe have laws that have or are about to go into effect that will significantly change what businesses can and must do. 
  • Canada is also debating major changes. 

Before dismissing laws from other states and countries, keep in mind that many privacy laws apply if your customers reside in that state or country, regardless of where your business is located. 

Aside from the legal risks, reputational damage can be severe. Failing to follow privacy laws, or simply failing to do what you say you will, or not being open about what you are doing, can swiftly destroy a reputation. 

Taking the time to properly assess your data, determine what you are and are not going to do with it, will help you build an identifiable brand, customer loyalty and a more efficient business. 

In a recent report, a majority of businesses said they experienced a delay in signing agreements or obtaining customers due to privacy concerns. Knowing your data will help you shift the risks it creates to rewards you can reap. 

Contributed by Charles M. Russman of Clark Hill PLC. 

Learn More! View the Chamber's on-demand webinar "Keeping Your Data Safe" with Charles Russman.